Archive for category Motorist Tips
In general and especially when there’s a cyclicst on the road.
That bike is probably moving faster than you think it’s moving.
It seems to me that most motorists think bikes don’t, under any circumstance, move any faster than a speed walking pedestrian. It’s not true. Sometimes it’s best to wait behind the cyclist for a bit – he may be going 3 mph slower than you but, and trust me on this, it’s not that big of deal to wait a few minutes for an opportunity to pass safely. You guys will probably end up at the same red light anyway.
I’ll spare you the long explanation. Instead I’ll let you think about as you watch me pedal past you at the intersection and try to move your foot from the brake to the gas.
The first one to the red light has to wait longest.
The bike lane, anywhere on the road, really, is not a garbage can.
It seems that there’s a trend out there to discard trash in the bike lane. This is annoying and gross and makes your neighborhood look, well, trashy. My real problem though, isn’t the litter – that’s just annoying and thoughtless – it’s with the glass. It is true a beer bottle will break when tossed from a moving vehicle onto the road and very few things are as joyful as the experience of hurling a glass bottle and watching it explode, I know. But all that green and brown glass eventually ends up in my tire and, while my Gatorskins are durable, inevitably one shard will make it through to the sensitive inner tube and I’ll end up on the side of the road trying to look like I know what I’m doing as I change tubes.
You’ll probably get a good view of my Lycra clad butt, which, for all I know, is what you were after when you threw the bottle there in the first place.
Riding home from work on Wednesday, coming down International Blvd, a woman in a white Lexus was coming out of the driveway of her office complex. Now, any cyclist knows that driveways, especially office driveways at quitting time, are some of the most dangerous bits of road. Knowing this, I make it a point to lock eyes with a motorist as I approach, looking deep into his or her soul to determine if it is safe for me to proceed. When I saw this woman, I hesitated for a half second because she was looking away from me, to her right, and I wasn’t sure she’d seen me in her brief glance my way. But, when she turned her head back and our eyes met, she smiled. It was a warm and welcoming smile that said, “take your time, I’ll wait,” and perhaps, “I wish I was out riding my bike,” or, less likely, “you sure look good in that Lycra.”
The point is, the smile went a long way to making me feel safe even after I crossed the driveway in front of her and she turned right and passed me. I knew she understood what often goes unsaid, that, while we had chosen different vehicles, our goal was the same; we both wanted to get home and that stretch of road was no more hers than it was mine.
The bike lane is called a “bike” lane because it is for bikes. It is not called the “right side of your car” lane, so keep the right side of your car out of it. If you don’t know where the right side of your car is, perhaps it’s time to consider buying a new, smaller car.
The bike lane is also not a super secret passing lane, unless, of course, you’re on a bike passing all the suckers in traffic.
If I had to guess I’d say that I see at least one article a week that attempts to answer the question, “what rules or laws should cyclists follow or obey?” The sub-text send two messages: 1) cyclists are annoying and would be less annoying if only they followed the laws; and, 2) cyclists are responsible for themselves and everybody else on the road.
So, in the spirit of shared responsibility I offer you my motorist tip of the week:
Always look carefully for bicyclists before opening doors next to moving traffic or before turning. (Page 36, CA Driver Handbook)
Not try to pass a bicyclist just before making a turn. Merge safely where it is allowed, then turn. (Page 36, CA Driver Handbook)
Yeah, so there’s this car, a white something or other, that regularly accelerates to pass me before it turns right, wheels squealing, in front of me. It’s not nice. It’s not safe. Please don’t do that anymore.