Archive for category Motorist Tips
It was dry in Sacramento for the morning commute today but the rain should get here by the time most of us head home, so, from the CHP:
- Drive with headlights on.
- Apply brakes more slowly; they may pull.
- Leave extra distance between your car and the next motorist/CYCLIST!.
I’ve made a little addition, did you notice?
While driving, do as few other things as possible.
Put the phone down and leave whatever it is you’re reaching for on the floor of the passenger side. Put away the make-up, save the paper for when you get home.
Look at the road. Please.
When stopped in the middle of the road to chat with your friend, check your mirrors. If, suddenly, there’s a traffic jam behind you, you might be in the way of other cars and cyclists. Nobody likes that.
Roll down your windows.
Ok, this doesn’t really have anything to do with making the road safer for cyclists, but it’s a good idea. I found myself in the car alone the other day. It was a little brisk outside but sunny and dry. So, I rolled the windows down. It really made the entire experience much more enjoyable.
Give it a go.
Drive on the right side of the road.
This seems to be a problem in residential neighborhoods. The roads are narrow (and without bike lanes) and cars are often parked on both sides of the street. Forced to ride toward the middle of the street or risk a dooring we cyclists don’t have much time to maneuver when a car comes wide around a left turn and effectively occupies the entire road.
So, don’t do that.
That cyclist is wet enough already.
Trust me. Without a roof, windows or a windshield the rain gets me wet. There is no need for you to speed through that puddle and splash me with your wake. Really. So, please, just slow down.
Read this car blog.
A car blog giving sane and sensible advice about how to share the road with cyclists, it seems like fiction, but it’s not.
I particularly liked this bit:
90% of cyclist casualties in recent years were caused by careless inattention, firstly by drivers, secondly by cyclists. It’s your responsibility to avoid hitting the cyclist, not the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid getting hit by you.
That’s advice written for people who drive cars by people who drive cars…yay!
Be visible and predictable.
Most often this is one of those tips given to cyclists as means of protecting themselves from motorists. And, though I define “visible” a little differently than others, I’m on board with both of those things as they apply to cyclists.
Motorists need to meet the same standards. Visibility is easy. I’m not suggesting you run out and paint your civic Hi-Vis yellow (so please don’t suggest I wear one of those vests) just turn your headlights on when it’s difficult to see (and make sure they both work). A lot of newer cars take care of this for you, so it shouldn’t be difficult.
Predictability is also pretty easy. Drive in your lane (use two hands if you’re having trouble with this). Signal when you’re going to turn. Start braking for a stop earlier rather than later (bikes can rear-end you too). Stop at stop signs. Etc. It really helps cyclists out because, believe it or not, we watch what you guys are doing in those cars and we try to avoid getting run over.
Update: I just noticed this was our 500th post. Surely that deserves a celebration of some kind…
The bike lane is not a phone booth.
Ok, yeah, thanks for taking a moment to pull over before chatting on the phone. It’s great that you’re obeying that law. But, and I hate to nitpick, but you see that sign, the one that says “No Parking Anytime”? It’s not a suggestion.
Let’s talk about what happens when you completely block the bike lane like that.
I, and I’m a nice guy (most of the time), ride up and see your car stopped, blocking the entire lane. I also see your brake lights on and so I’m not really sure if you’re about to pull away from curb or if you’ve just started recapping an entire season of Dancing with the Stars. Trying to watch you and look over my shoulder to see if it’s safe for me to move into the lane of traffic, I approach your car. When it’s safe, I pull into traffic to pass and a guy in a F250 3 miles bikes curses cyclists because he thinks there’s a chance he might have to slow down. I watch you closely as I pass, fighting the urge to spit on your windshield, making sure you don’t decide to start moving. I pull back into the bike lane. The F250 realizes he doesn’t have to brake but yells obscenities at me as he passes, just because.
When there are two (2) left turn lanes1 do not line up behind the cyclist and get mad because the cyclist let the BMW in the other lane beat him off the line.
Cyclists are fit and many are fast but most have nothing on precision German2 engineering. It is, however, ok to line up behind the cyclist and wait patiently for them to get through the intersection in front of you.
1This applies to anytime there are two lanes to choose from but seems to be a problem mostly when turning left.
2Not just applicable German cars. In fact, this applies to just about all motor vehicles.