Tuesday, August 19, 2008

War on Wheels?

As more and more people take to the road on bicycles, there's been a lot of ink in the press this summer about rising tensions between cyclists and motorists all over the country. Perhaps this is a side effect of motorists being more frequently called upon to deal with cyclists, and perhaps it's also due to the increase in inexperienced riders out on the road, running red lights, weaving in and out of parked cars, and simply not knowing how to work the road.

As my father in law says, there are three sides to every story: your side, their side, and the truth - which probably lies somewhere in the middle.

I've not experienced any rising tensions myself, but then for whatever reason I never experienced tension even before the gas cartels started raising prices uncontrollably. Chalk it up to experienced riding and taking care to be visible (via clothing and riding predictably, if a bit assertively), perhaps, but I may not be the best person to judge.

Have YOU experienced any rising tensions as more cyclists have taken to the roads? Let us know in the comments!

People, not speed.

4 comments:

  1. I agree. Defensive riding and being assertive on the road has helped me avoid any major conflicts. The worst I've experienced is the usual irate driver cussing me out ("Get on the sidewalk!"), and plenty of people assuming I'm going slower than I am.

    My best advice? Get a mirror, don't wear headphones, and if you're worried about cars passing you due to a narrow street, take your lane. It's legal! (ORC 4511.55(C))

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  2. If anything it seems to have calmed down, I'm definitely doing a lot better this year than I did last year.

    I get more "get off the road, a**hole!" shouts from cycling friends on foot who see me ride past who are trying to be funny than I do from actual car drivers...

    There's still a lot of people on cellphones, it's been reduced quite a bit though as a law came into effect earlier this year in Nova Scotia making it illegal to use cellphones while driving.

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  3. I wish we had that law, Steve. People on cell phones don't realize what a big hazard they are, I think. The attitude here seems to be "Well, everyone else is dangerous when they drive and talk on the phone, but I'm good enough that I'm okay." And it normally doesn't seem to matter if they use a hands-free kit or not. They're still distracted.

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  4. Just found a great article in Bicycling magazine about this:
    http://tinyurl.com/5556zf

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