Average driver's feelings about cyclists

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Shelley 5 years, 9 months ago.

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    This opinion piece in today’s Seattle Times nicely expresses what I usually feel while driving:



    Yeah, when I saw the heading I figured that it was this piece.

    I think the “average” driver is much more comfortable in his abilities behind the wheel than this guy is. Also, I call BS on the 6 mile road with no place to pass. I grew up biking and driving on the roads in and out of Bellingham and I can tell you that there is no problem what so ever waiting until it is clear and pulling around a cyclist. This guy’s problem seems to be that he doesn’t think he has to wait until it’s clear.

    “The only reason I don’t hit my horn is because antelopes are so easily startled.” What an A-hole.



    I don’t mind cyclists most of the time, but some stretches of Bothell way when it’s dark sometimes concern me – doubly so the time I saw a cyclist in dark clothing with no lights, only a small reflector. I only saw him when I was just a few yards away. I’ve seen “bike lanes” that are like 2 feet wide. That means being less than a foot from the cyclist if I don’t move over. Some car lanes are wide enough you can comfortably do that, some are not.



    Mondoman – I question your choice of topic heading, I don’t think this is an “average driver’s feelings”. I ride a lot and I think in Seattle most drivers feel more comfortable than this guy, and he is in Bellingham!

    I agree with what Ernie wrote.



    Did I read the wrong article? I don’t see where they’re from B-ham (that would be Ernie, I beleive), and my takeaway is the writer is pleading for bikes to be cautious, not dart around without warning and not needlessly hold up traffic by riding two (or more) abreast when cars can’t otherwise get past. Yes, objecting to a flock of cycles in an organized ride is over the top, but that’s the only off key note to me. The rest is reasonable and how I try to ride when I’m cycling.



    Seth Norman is a writer, editor and journalist living in Bellingham.



    The key point I took from it was that his son had recently been injured riding his bicycle so he was was assuaging his heightened anxiety by writing this opinion piece. Hardly a well-written or researched piece of writing.



    This is the part that pissed me off:

    And you are so fragile, a slow antelope pacing an elephant herd. You trust that I’m not oblivious, distracted, half-tanked or a full-blown sociopath eager for sport. Your faith bewilders me, frankly. While I don’t challenge your legal or moral rights to ride, sometimes I wonder about your sanity.

    The subtext of the whole article is that the writer doesn’t think that cyclists belong amongst the “elephant herd”, and he uses his “fear” to justify feeling that way.

    Maybe it is my own bias showing, but the whole thing sounded to me like “I’m trying not to hurt you, but if I do happen to hurt you (like occurred in 3 cases I witnessed previously) it won’t be my fault because slow antelopes don’t belong around elephants, and, anyway, you cause me to feel fear, and the only reason that you’re not scared too must be your insanity.”

    It comes across as very condescending IMHO.



    Oh I agree Ernie, that paragraph is pretty annoying. I just wish he’d acknowledge that it is his 15 year old son causing the fear and not the rest of us.



    I read it more in the GAM spirit, from the perspective that it seems that many bicyclists focus too much on their rights and not enough on the consequences of physics and car drivers’ lack of attention or driving skills.
    By “average driver” I just meant that the author was not a rapid pro- or anti-bicyclist.



    I find this kind of unsettling:

    “…hoping to open a tribe-to-tribe discussion…”

    Today, I’m cycling. Tomorrow, I’ll ride the bus. On Saturday, I’ll do some driving and maybe also some cycling. Those aren’t things I am, they’re things I do. None of those things are a “tribe” that I’m a member of.



    Clearly stated up front… OPINION Piece.

    I agree – the TRIBE thing is a bit much. Rare are the people who only cycle everywhere.

    You have got to assume invisibility whilst riding. And this doesn’t mean you need to have friggin’ strobe lights attached to all parts of your body either. Just be aware.

    Motorists too. Be aware. If you’re afraid then don’t drive.

    Okay to toot the horn every-so-often… that is something just about everybody can hear.



    The tone of the opinion article the OP linked to made me a bit angry. Heart’s probably in the right place though.

    I don’t see it from the perspective of cyclist rights so much as mentioned above. I know from the laws of physics that I am outmassed at least twenty to one by two ton machines, and that I won’t win in a collision. Might be “right”. But kind of a moot point. When I did drive an automobile, I subscribed to the theory of defensive driving and do so even more now. I think the vast majority of cyclists do (yeah, there are some a**hole cyclists out there, but please don’t treat me like one of them). The same could be said about motorists too from the cyclist perspective. If I’m cycling uphill from Golden Gardens to 85th, there’s not much choice, I’m riding as far over as I can, so when someone leans on their horn, that’s unnecessary — believe it or not, I saw the car coming up in my mirrors, and with my e-bike, I’m not going that slow. But, the vast majority of auto drivers are very respectful of my right to be in that little patch of gravelly road I use next to the cars.

    I wear screaming greenish yellow jacket, reflective vest, reflectorized helmet, and lights and reflectors on the bike. Pretty sure that if someone runs me over, they will have seen me. Of course I’m relatively new to the no car ownership thing. Remaining grains of sand in the hourglass called life are too few already for me to ride on super auto-congested throughways. That’s not to say those who do are in the wrong, just not for me. I’m out to enjoy my ride to wherever I’m going, stay alive, and enjoy the ride home as much as possible.

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