Cycling on the road – some thoughts

Last week I had three interactions with bicycles that made me think. In fact I have been thinking about this for many months but these observations were the impetus I needed to write this. 
1) On my way to work I see a bike almost being side swiped by a motorist who passed him and then decided to turn left almost immediately. I certainly don’t think this was intentional as the dude in the car was in conversation with his passenger and just did not judge the speed of the cyclist correctly. See no3 below. 

2) two young guys on fairly smart racing bikes were slip streaming a truck going down the M5. They were cm’s from the back and there was no way that the truck driver could see them. They were traveling at over 90 km/h!
3) it was getting dark by the time I drove home and a commuter on a road bike was travelling in the same direction as me. He was well lit with rear light and front which were both flashing. He was wearing normal cycling gear which was mostly black. I was surprised that he travelled the same pace as me from Claremont to Woodstock (a distance of about 7km) which included several red traffic lights. I could easily have turned blindly left if I was not trying to stay conscious of his presence for the entire time.

This lead me to think about the following:

Rather than each road user group insisting on their rights we all need to take responsibility for our selves and more importantly each other. I as a bike rider have the responsibility to make myself seen as best I can. This includes the brightest lights for front and back (not just the crappy half LED cheapy) and bright clothing as the minimum. 
I have responsibility to not piss motorists off by ignoring common rules of the road. A red light is a red light for all!
I have the responsibility to ride in a manner that is visible and predictable. If I can’t see a car’s mirrors then they can’t see me. I need to be predictable and make eye contact with drivers and use hand signals to show them my intentions.

I believe that we all react well to being acknowledged. As such I greet and thank drivers where I can. I believe this helps. 

Now as a car driver I am in the much stronger (not superior) position that if there should be an accident I will hardly be affected whereas the cyclist is lucky to walk away. Like a guardian I have the responsibility to look after those that are weaker than me. I have the responsibility to look in blind spots EVERY TIME. I need to give cyclists enough space to safely use the road.

Basically we all need to share the same piece of road. We all need to get along and I think that changing our way of thinking from “this is my right etc” to “this is my responsibility” may very well change the way we get along.

One thought on “Cycling on the road – some thoughts

  1. Wow this is great, I on the otherside just started cycling I'm so pleased of the respect I get from the drivers in my area.

    I try to stay safe and visible, but your message is cleaar and well understood. Very informative

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