Roads: Not Just For Cars Any More

My pulse quickens when I see cars approaching bikes. Two wheels are so vulnerable – and so many drivers clearly still don’t believe bikes belong. A few inches and …

Of course there are those tedious born-again cyclists who believe that, since they don’t pollute, all laws and road etiquette don’t apply to them. They incur the wrath of drivers and unfairly make the roads less safe for their brethren. Never fear: If you believe in karma – or statistics – their number’s coming up.

But regardless of who’s at fault, you never want to hear that soft and ugly crunch when you’re behind the wheel. You simply wouldn’t sleep well ever again. So here are five driving habits you can practice immediately to keep your sleep sound and make the roads safer for those sane cyclists:

Don’t trust your mirror. Just like drivers, many cyclists are imbeciles who have a gift for living in your blind spot. Before switching lanes, turning, or opening your door, glance over your shoulder and check to be sure.

Use your indicator. Just like drivers, not all cyclists are imbeciles. Some are happy to share and take their cues from others on the road. Communicate your intentions by signaling. It’s not that hard.

Pass bikes slowly and only when there is no oncoming traffic. Be patient and wait for your opportunity. Bicycles are vehicles entitled to use as much of the lane as they want. Give them at least three feet (they wobble) when passing.

Watch your inside when turning right. While you’re scanning left for oncoming traffic, some putzes squeeze between the curb and your car which is slowly veering right. They’re supposed to wait behind but many proceed and indicate their intentions by waving their finger. However I’ve seen motorists who, suddenly surprised, accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

Try to make eye contact with the cyclist so you can each read each other’s intentions.

And cyclists? Ride slower than you think you need to – or become a statistic. When two wheels fight four, two always lose.

Image courtesy of Fulco on Flickr.

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