I am a cyclist and a driver. When I’m driving and see cyclists riding side-by-side, or three abreast, when there’s no appreciable shoulder, I marvel at their stupidity and think they’re quite likely part of the reason for the road rage that I have experienced many times as a cyclist.
When I’m on my bicycle, I follow the rules of the road and try my absolute best to stay out the way of vehicular traffic. Sometimes, however, the road narrows enough that I need to ride on the side of the lane.
When this happens, I’d genuinely appreciate it if drivers didn’t increase their speed, get on their horns, and drive within a foot of two when I’m doing my best to get out of your way.
In recent incidents, both times while riding down the hill on Marine Drive towards West Beach, I experienced some driver road rage. The sign at the top posts the speed at 30 km/h and immediately under it is a sign that pictures a car and bicycle in single file (there’s a second, identical sign half way down the hill).
I should also note that in these two incidents, I was exceeding the speed limit. The first was a driver that pulled within a foot or two of my back wheel at 50 km/h. I didn’t realize that he was that close to me and had I hit the brakes before I did see him, he would most certainly have squashed me like a bug.
In the second, a woman pulled up beside me and tried to force me off the road. I had the opportunity to “chat” with both when they stopped to park at the bottom of the hill and in the case of the former, it was pretty clear that he thought I should be assimilated with the pavement, and the latter, with the guard rail.
Many drivers seem to have the attitude that cyclists are a pestilence that should be removed from the planet. Here’s the thing, though, cyclists have as much of a right to be on the roads as you do.
So, to drivers, before that red mist descends over your vision and you lose your mind, ask yourself if the extra few seconds it takes out of your day to slow down and let a cyclist get out of the way is really going to inconvenience you?
You might also consider the moral and ethical issues involved in killing a cyclist or putting them in a wheel chair, but if that’s not a concern, at least consider the legal hassles you’ll have.
And to the cyclists who ride with complete disregard for the vehicular traffic, consider that you’re a moron for not respecting several thousand pounds of steel and what that can do for your day if you get mixed up with it.
If you’re out there to ride, respect the vehicles and the rules of the road. If you’re out there to socialize, do it somewhere else.
Bruce McIntosh, White Rock