Since I often ride the same routes on my bicycle each time, the motorists I encounter seem to be expecting me. So, I try to ride in a predicable manner and use proper signals and manners.
It occurred to me that part of the problem cyclists have with motorists is that motorists may not be expecting them. Then when a motorist sees them, the motorist is not sure how the cyclist will behave. This is problem magnified by the antics of many cyclists who reason, "Well, I can perform this maneuver safely, without injuring myself, so what's the problem?" So motorists often get a picture of cyclists as erratic and unpredictable, an expectation that works against our best interest.
In the final analysis, teaching motorists how to drive along with cyclists on the road depends a great deal upon the prevalence of predicatable behaving cyclists who are all following a the same (or similar) script. Teaching motorists may be more effective on the road than in the classroom.
I believe that once a motorist finds how simple and easy it is to pass a cyclist, that motorist
is well on the way to losing his/her antagonism towards us.
Last edited by LittleBigMan; 05-14-02 at 12:19 PM.
I have to add to your comments. It sure helps if they are used to seeing cyclists. But thats only the beginning.
What cyclists forget is that other vehicles on the road provide constant feedback--thru brake lights, turn signals, etc-- what the intention of the rider ahead is. A bicycle does not do that. It is therefore an intimidating vehicle to a driver because they must guess what your intentions are. That is the reason why I feel a (helmet mounted) rear view mirror is essential. When I see a car coming up behind me on a narror road, I often stick my left hand out and wave them by me. From the honks and thumbs up I get from motorists-especially trucks and wider vehicles--the gesture is widely appreciated. Often the motorist is suprised (and pleased) to realize that I KNEW they were there.
I always make sure that I avoid the worst situation: the case when two cars on opposite sides of the road, and my bike are all at the same place at the same time. Again, I can see difficult road situations coming up a long time in advance. I can either speed up, slow down, or if necessary move far to the right (or even dismount) to avoid these situations.