I drove my car yesterday for the first time since July 4 and took it out into the country. Later I drove around Seattle after dark. I saw some bikers, and I have some thoughts from behind the windshield.
As background,I'm a good driver with no accidents or tickets in all the years I've driven (knock on wood), but I'm strongly anti automobile and usually do everything on a bike around the city and use my car as a tool to get me and my skis and climbing gear into the mountains. I've driven very little in the last five years.
On the country road I wound up behind a cyclist on a long curvy downhill, I stayed behind the cyclist on the curves, blocking, and passed when the road was straight and clear. However, as a driver, I felt unsure as to when it was safe to pass, even though I know exactly what was safe, and wonder how many people who DON'T cycle feel the same way overtaking a bicyclist.
A sense of being unsure what to do.
And then around town, at night, I was driving on this street with wide outside lanes, that had been striped for bikes and I was drawn to looking at this white line bright as day on the side of the road with the bicyclist stencil every couple of blocks, and that was very, very definitive to me as a driver. It was more obvious then the center line even.
I hadn't cleaned the windshield, and with my broken hip and my own mental deficiencies, I felt like a card carrying member of AARP (no offense, everybody! I'm there soon enough) and felt like a driver with 'visual' and 'mental' and 'physical' handicaps.
The bike lane stripe was the most obvious thing on the road.
Just some observations behind the windshield from a very occasional driver.