I don’t know how things are where you live, but around here bikers deal with drivers who aren’t entirely partial to cyclist. In fact, there are some drivers of cars who adamantly despise bikes and feel they have no place on the road at all! I have a friend like that who tells me, “Aside from being a bike rider and the fact you went to WSU, I like you!”
My first introduction to people like this came in high school. I was cruising down a road near where i lived. I looked behind me to see a pick up, with a baseball bat stuck out the passenger, window coming up on me fast! I put it the bike in the ditch fast, only to have to listen to the driver and passenger laugh as they drove by.
Since then, i have had fast food soft drinks thrown at me, people flipping me off and cussing at me, and drivers passing me telling me to “GET THE F OFF THE ROAD!”
Now, as a cyclist, it would be easy for my to blame the jerks in the cars! I mean come on, we can’t be in the wrong! Here we are being healthy, saving gas, reducing the obesity in America and generally halo wearing, spandex clad. 2 wheeled angels!
Ah, but then, I watch those I call (and forgive the language) “Biker Pricks” or BPs for short. BPs give the rest of us a bad name. In my first organized ride. I saw a pack come up to a stop sign, where 5 cars were in line. The front car had waited its turn, and started to turn right as this pack of BPs flew up on his right. There is no way he could’ve seen them! He must’ve seen motion at the last-minute, and stopped in time. But I am telling you, had there been an accident, I would’ve been a witness for the car.
Even the Chilly Hilly yesterday had its share of BPs. In my experience, the drivers of Bainbridge Island are very tolerant about 5000 bikers taking over their roads. They pass carefully, and do their best to make everyone safe.
Well we were climbing a hill in a pack. A call of “CAR BACK” came up. Telling us there was a car coming up and passing us. One of the faster riders caught the pack, saw the car coming, but said “I am NOT going to go this slow, I have to get around this!” He pulled out in front of the car and made him wait while he inched past the group.
My own personal theory is that there are bad drivers and bad cyclists, and in many cases they are the same people! I will admit I do not stop on the bike at every stop sign. I also, while driving a car, regularly get mad at people in the fast lane that won’t move to the right. Overall, though, I think I am a pretty courteous driver/cyclist.
Bikes have every right to be on the road, but with a little common sense and teamwork, we can make it easier on vehicles. I have one route where the shoulder narrows a lot. If I see a semi coming behind me, i will pull into a driveway till he passes. It adds minutes to my ride, but its safer for everyone.
What it comes down to is there are some good reasons why drivers get mad at us, but we have good reasons to get mad at drivers as well. The cars do have the advantage of size and speed though. I always remember my dad telling me that “Cemeteries are full of tombstones with the inscription ‘He had the right-away!'”
I’m just lucky that, so far, the people who throw softdrinks have terrible aim! Can’t we all just get along?
- Driver charged with assaulting cyclist (radionz.co.nz)