Originally Posted by SmallFront
...It's called respecting your fellow road users and behaving accordingly.
I know I already commented on this subject but let's revisit the "respect" issue ( this time more seriously ) . If respect is the main issue you want to harp on let's go there for a moment;
I think everyone knows that "respect" is not a one way street. To get respect you have to "GIVE" respect. When you give respect you get respect. That's how it works. That said, consider the Motorist
and what respect they are given by the powers that be. The motorist is given the privilege to operate a 2 ton motor vehicle on the public roads. They are given roads and highways specifically designed for those motor vehicles. The people who design those motor vehicles respect the people who use them so much that they have mandated certain safety standards that are meant to protect and prevent them from injury or death in the event they get into a high speed accident ( whither it is their fault or someone else's )
Basic preventive measures for motor vehicles are as follows: Government mandated frame construction designed to absorb a certain level of impact in the event of an accident. Bright lights on the front, rear and sides. High beam low beam, emergency flashers, loud horn. Seat belt restraints and air bags. I should also mention here that even the roads themselves are designed to protect the motorist by using railing and other devices to keep vehicles from accidentally going off the road or highway.
Now let's look at the cyclist and what respect has been given them to use public roads. A "bicycle" is recognized by most governmental jurisdictions. They make laws to protect the cyclist and give them the right to use the road. They must follow general rules of the road ( like motorists ) Those rules give them right of way in certain situations but for the most part they must operate the bike in a reasonable manner.
Okay lets look at the safety measures being given to cyclist by the general public; Well, not a long list here. Bikes come with reflectors front and rear along with some spoke reflectors. As far as equipment goes if a cyclist wants more he has to buy it himself.
Now lets look at what is done for the cyclist when he is riding on the road. Depending on where you live this may vary but where I live some roads have nice shoulders and some have none. When there are no shoulders the cyclist must ride more into the road. This of course puts them in more danger. Some places have paved bike trail and/or bike lanes on major roads. While this is nice it is by no means the general rule. Bike lanes are usually nothing more than painted lines on the road surface. More often than not most motorist just ignore them if no cyclist is present. ( and sometimes even when a cyclist is present )
All things considered, the cyclist is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to getting "road respect ". Well we can't weld metal to their bikes and attach an air bag system cause it just wouldn't work ( need I say ). That said what are you gonna do to give parity to the cyclist? When it comes to "publicly provided/mandated" safety precautions the cyclist is obviously coming out on the short end. A crash impact that would barely scratch a motorist ( in his car ) could easily kill or maim a cyclist. The ONLY reasonable option that the cyclist has at his disposal is to increase his visual presence while on the road.
Special bright clothing, lights and so forth can do wonders to help. The problem is , even with good lights ( front and back ) and bright clothing a cyclists' presence can sometimes get lost in the mix of traffic and off road distractions. To give the cyclist his "Just Due Respect", you need to give him/her something that will bring them over the top and get them seen. A bright flashing light will do that.
It really ain't all that big a thing but properly used magnifies his road presence ten fold.
I encounter flashing lights everyday while driving down the road. That said I'm sure I'm not the only one. Last time I checked I still haven't seen anyone running off the road or having eye surgery because they saw a bright flashing light while driving down the road.