Simon Wood

HUMP DAY: Road Rules (For Two and Four Wheels)

I love to drive and I love to cycle. I understand how hairy it is out there to be a cyclist when drivers are careless. I have the concussions, broken bones and a brain injury to prove it. I’m also driven to distraction by idiotic cyclists that think the rules don’t apply to them and cars have to bow down to them. So this is a list of suggestions for both camps to help everyone get along.

1. You don’t own the road. Cyclists aren’t on your road. We all share it and we only need a few feet of consideration.
2. Bike lanes are for bikes only. Stay out of our lane and we’ll stay out of yours.
3. Just because you’re turning right at an intersection, doesn’t mean I am. I’ve been hit three times by cars plowing into me because they thought I had to be going your way.
4. Have an appreciation for the speed of a bike. I average 20mph on a flat road and can reach speed of 40mph going downhill. If I were a car traveling at those speeds, how much consideration would you give me then?
5. Bikes can’t stop on a dime. They have tiny little brake blocks, no abs, no power servos, so a bike stopping at 20mph will need as much distance as a car.
6. Parents, school zones aren’t to be treated like the pit lane at the Indy 500. School zones are the most dangerous strip of road the planet. I’d rather ride blindfold on a freeway than ride through a school zone during pick up or drop off. For some reason, it’s excuse for parents to triple park, lunge across traffic, drive the wrong way on the road and generally forget that any rule of the road applies to them. Parents, get a grip.
7. Drivers, don’t honk your horn to let me know you’re coming up behind me. Trust me, I can hear you well before you catch up with me.
8. Drivers, don’t treat me any differently than any other vehicle. If you arrive at a stop sign first, go. Don’t suddenly give me special treatment and expect me to go. You’re very kind, but it confuses me and everyone around you. Changing your behavior causes accidents.
9. Use your mirrors. I’m quicker and closer than you think.
10. 500,000 cyclists end up in ERs every year. Two die every day. Back off and keep someone else safe.

1. Cyclists, you don’t own the road. You share it with vehicles that are bigger and heavier than you are. Lose the arrogance. You aren’t better than them.
2. The rules of the road apply to you too. Run red lights, cut across traffic, not wear a helmet or not put lights on your bike at your peril. Don’t cry about it if you get a ticket or end up in a wheelchair.
3. Pack riders, safety in numbers. I like it, but pack riders, don’t ride five abreast–you’re a mobile obstruction. You piss off drivers, generate bad feeling and drivers take it out on the lone rider like me.
4. Riders who ride with their iPod playing, are you kidding me? How dumb are you? At least you won’t hear the eighteen wheeler that wipes you out.
5. Hesitant riders, your hesitation is just as bad as someone’s carelessness. It confuses everyone around you because your unpredictability causes everyone react just as unpredictability. Ride like you would drive a car. Everyone understands that.
6. If you’re afraid to make a left turn, get off the bike and use a crosswalk or learn to cross the lanes to get in the left turn pocket. Don’t slow to crawl then try to cross all the lanes at once.
7. Look over your shoulder before crossing in front of traffic. It’s not their job to get out of your way.
8. Use the cycle lanes. A lot of money and effort has gone into having them installed.
9. Being a confident rider doesn’t mean being an aggressive rider. Like it or not, ride defensive. In the rock, paper, scissors game of travel, automobile always beats bicycle.
10. 500,000 cyclists end up in ERs every year. Two die every day. Don’t be a statistic.

I hope that helps… 🙂

One Response to “HUMP DAY: Road Rules (For Two and Four Wheels)”

  1. Kevin Burton Smith

    Pretty much agree with you all the way down. 
    It’s the arrogance and sense of entitlement of some cyclists and motorists that really grates. I almost killed a cyclist the other day, some spandexed doofus with a generous goatee and white boy dreads sticking out from under his helmet, when he shot out of a residential side street. I slammed on the brakes, but the jackass kept going, pausing only to flip me the finger. 
    The next day, I’m the one on the bike. I’m at a red light, intending to go straight, waiting for the light. It’s not a right turn only lane, and I’m in the middle of the lane, a pretty clear indication I’m going straight (although I’ve also indicated it by a hand signal, just in case). A big, jacked-up pickup rolls up behind me, until he’s about an inch or two from my rear wheel, and starts honking his horn and revving his engine. Next thing I hear is “Get the fuck off the road, you loser.”  I glance back, can’t see through the windshield’s glare.
    The light changes, we both go straight, the guy tearing past me, and… yes, flipping me off.
    Weird thing is, he looks an awful lot like the cyclist from the day before. And he’s got an expensive bike rack  mounted on the back of his truck.


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