Common Driver Errors – Know Thine Enemy

‘Commute by Bike’ told it to ‘Cycling Inform’, who told it ‘Cycling-Review’, who told it to…


Be aware of these three common driver errors, because they are the cause of a high number of accidents for bike commuters…

1.Drivers not obeying stop signs (and I thought that not stopping at stop signs was a privilege limited to cyclists), resulting in stopping too far into the intersection, and into the path of the cyclist.

2.Drivers who pass the cyclist and then turn right immediately, cutting the cyclist off.

3.Drivers who turn left in front of you as you’re going straight through the intersection.

Here are some random thoughts regarding these hazards…

***I know that number 2 is a real possibility as I’ve been on the receiving end of this boneheaded maneuver. I wrote a short description of my adventure on my clipless pedals page.

***Drivers may underestimate the excessive power and speed you’re generating on your bike. In short, they may be used to bike riders (notice I didn’t say cyclists) coasting and relaxing as they make their way down the street. They may think they have time to cut in front of you. They don’t realize what a high-speed cycling marvel you are.

As you approach the intersection (the assumption is that you’re approaching a green light), keep pedaling so they know you aren’t slowing down, or playing a game of ‘You first’, ‘no, you first’, ‘no, I insist, you first!’

***Follow the advice of ‘Commute by Bike’ and be ready for a fast right turn to get yourself out of trouble. ‘Commute’ goes so far as to advocate practicing the emergency right turn. Why not? It gives you a new bike handling skill to concentrate on.

***Be predictable, don’t weave around, and even consider signaling before turns (imagine that, a cyclist being considerate).

***In my little town (3 stoplights) I wave and smile at any motorist who yields the right of way. I’m thinking ahead.

After all, in a small town you treat people respectfully because you’ll see them again next week in the grocery store, competing with them to get to the last gallon of milk in the cooler. If you’ve been pleasant to your neighbor in the past, they may hesitate to assert themselves in the dairy section, granting you an advantage.

***If you encounter a motorist who seems to be acting dangerously…like he’s mad or something…assume he is and get out of the way.

After all, it didn’t take long for the Facebook group calling itself ‘There’s a perfectly good path right next to the road you stupid cycling!’ to gain over 33,000 fans. ‘Motorist on cyclist’ road rage is a real, and very dangerous issue.

You folks have any insight into this issue?

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