I'm new here and am not a cyclist, but have concerns about the safety of cyclists who frequent the roads around my home and, frankly, myself (as a motorist).
First, please know that I understand the importance of advocating safety measures for people who bike on the roads. Bicycles are the clear underdog, right?
Bike vs. car: bike loses. Every time.
One only has to scroll through this thread and the tragic multitude of "cyclist killed" headlines to understand that the danger is real. As the wife of someone who occasionally bikes to work, this is particularly terrifying.
I treat bicycles as a vehicle. When possible, I wait for a dotted line to pass and I ALWAYS veer completely over into the opposite lane as I pass someone to give them ample space.
I live in a rural area on a country road with just enough hills and scenic views to attract a ton of cyclists, especially as the weather warms. The road is long with absolutely no broken lines anywhere to be seen. It has double solid lines the entire length.
So, that means someone, at some point, looked at that stretch of road and said: "You know, the visual clearance here just isn't that great. I don't think it's a safe passing zone."
After about twenty minutes of internet research I'm still not completely clear on whether or not it's legal to cross a solid line to pass a cyclist in Virginia.
As a responsible motorist, however, I understand that there are instances when I can use my best judgement and feel safe passing a cyclist, a mail truck, a tractor, etc..
My problem is that the situation changes drastically if we're talking about a group of fifteen cyclists - or more. We get huge groups of cyclists on the road I live off of all the time. I might as well be trying to pass a Mack truck on a curvy road over a solid yellow line.. No, thank you.
If I take that chance and it goes badly, it goes VERY badly. Either I get hit head on, I run another driver off the road, or I veer into someone on a bike and either severely injure or kill them. Any of those scenarios would then be MY fault.
I don't like having to take that chance, so I go with my other option: my fifteen minute ride home with four kids turns into an hour.
I understand that there's safety in numbers. But is it unreasonable to ask that they ride in car-length groups? With at least two-car-spaces in between?
In my opinion, if there are going to be groups of cyclists on the road it needs to be an organized event. Cars should have detours provided or notice.
Thank you for reading. And I appreciate any constructive feedback.