3 Feet Please

I really want this shirt (see at link). Also, this related news clip is definitely worth watching. The best local news story I’ve ever seen on bikes, except a bit spoiled at the end with the whole “dead right” angle. I need one of those camcorders on my bike. Drivers very rarely pass me so closely, though. Is this type of dangerous driving more common outside of cities, where drivers are not used to seeing cyclists?

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10 thoughts on “3 Feet Please

  1. Erich says:

    I live in Lansing, a smallish city. I can say that most drivers give plenty of room when passing, but I relegate my riding to roads that either have a wide shoulder or a bike lane, because there are always those that think it’s funny to get close to a cyclist to scare them. Seems to be common amongst adolescent boys, who also have poor judge of distance. Of course, many adults act like adolescents behind the wheel of a car as well.

  2. Trisha says:

    It’s sad that taping himself every day is the only way that guy can feel safe. And I can’t believe that policeman said he would have cited him for going under the speed limit! A recent article in our local paper showed me how few people really understand the laws with regard to bikes, though — all I had to do was read the comments:

    http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009902230332

    Of course, the picture wasn’t selected with an eye toward making people feel better about sharing the roads with bikes and seeing them as an alternate mode of transportation, but the ignorance of some of the comments is breathtaking — one person actually wonders why bikes ride on the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk made just for them!

  3. I’ve had many ‘passing’ incidents like those in the videos. I also hate it when people yell out their car windows to try to startle a cyclist because they think it’s funny. Another reason to hate what cars do to our society; people act in ways and say things that they would never, ever think of doing if they weren’t in a rolling cage.

  4. anna says:

    That’s a great shirt. I also thought about “If you can read this you’re too close” once. But unfortunately, I have a backpack most of the time, and in the winter it doesn’t work anyway.

    @ Trisha: We have similar discussions under newspaper articles here. It’s really sad. E.g. if there are cyclists run over by cars or trucks (even on bike paths!) people claim that it’s the cyclists fault cause they didn’t wear a bright jacket or a helmet. It doesn’t matter that the poor car driver “forgot” to shoulder check. And all that kind of useless insults.. Some people just don’t get that a road isn’t just build for cars but for people to get from A to B no matter what mode of transport they use. Currently we have even similar discussions about scooters. There are a lot of accidents with young people and scooters. In Austria they’re only allowed to go 40 km/h, but most people tune them and they can easily go 80 km/h. I think that’s where the accidents come from. Other people just say that it’s because they can’t ride in traffic because they’re too slow. I just sometimes wonder whether people never have been to driving schools to learn how to overtake slower scooters and cyclists safely. And even if I ride 30 in a 30 zone most car drivers will still overtake me.

  5. Joe izereck says:

    Good morning Dottie. Just want to thank you for sharing the “3 Feet Please” campaign with your readers. My goal is very simple: protect and save cyclists’ lives. The jersey is only a part of the campaign. Another part is fueling chatter, which you have done here, that leads to conversations followed by steps on ways to make cycling safer for all of us. This will be good, but even better, when cycling becomes safer more people will become cyclists and when we have more cyclists on our roads it makes cycling even safer. And that will be great news.

    Thank you Dottie,
    Joe Mizereck

  6. Thanks for posting this, Dottie. I was really into cycling when I was a kid. In eighth or ninth grade, I was trying to get in shape to ride a half-century (or something along those lines) when I was hit from behind by a car on a country lane. My friend and I were riding two abreast toward the right side of the lane — a perfectly legal situation — and the guy didn’t move fully into the left lane to pass. He had slowed down, but not to a sufficient extent, and his front bumper near the passenger-side headlight smashed into my rear wheel. The bike was jettisoned from beneath me and I came down on my tailbone, first on his car and then on the asphalt.

    The gods looked favorably on me that day, and, all things considered, I was OK (save for a bent bottom vertebrae). But things could have been much, much worse. And all because someone was in too big a hurry, and/or because he just couldn’t recognize the legitimacy of my presence on the road in that moment and appreciate what was at stake. What is so ironic is that this occurred in an area where Amish and German Baptists still travel these same roads by horse and buggy regularly. Drivers are perfectly accustomed to slowing down for them all the time. I don’t get it.

    @ Trisha: The same kind of mind-boggling ignorance and outright anger shows up in our local newspaper, too, whenever an article is published concerning bicycles in traffic. It is deeply troubling to say the least.

    @Joe: It’s great what you’re doing. I’m getting one of those t-shirts straightaway, and a jersey whenever I have enough pennies saved. I’ll also post a link on my blog. (Surely that will bring it to the attention of at least three more people — ha!)

    Sorry to take up so much comment space, Dottie and Trisha.

  7. Adam says:

    I’ve been riding to school nearly every day for the past year, and, despite it being a college town in central Pennsylvania, the drivers are pretty cautious of me. There were one or two incidents that I can recall, particularly when I had to turn left into my apartment building and took up the whole lane so no one would pass me, but out here, people are by and large fine with cyclists.

  8. Dottie~ Nice vid. That was very good reporting for Fox News. In Mpls. they(Fox) chase cyclists around to catch them running stop signs on River Rd.I think we have to stand up for rights, today, but I think we need to pushing for infrastructure changes, so we don’t have to take such risks as riding with cars.

    Trisha~ The cyclist picture on your Nashville paper’s page is very provocative. It shows 2 guys riding on the road, with cars behind them. One of the guys is riding a double decker bike. We had a woman riding across a bridge over a highway, fall of a her double decker, over the railing and into on coming traffic. I feel very sad for her and her friends and family, but those bikes are circus bikes. Plus I think they are illegal in Mpls. As long as motorist(which is the general public) see cyclists as different(ie. Freaks) from them, bike transportation is going to continue to meet heavy, angry resistance. It does sounds like you have a mayor worth supporting, though.

  9. dottie says:

    Joe – So glad you stopped by. The whole project is great. I love to see people taking action, so a huge thank you!!

    Scribe – Thank you for sharing your story. Scary stuff. People really need to take driving more seriously.

    Trisha – Reading the comments to that story was like a disaster that you can’t help gawking at. Comments in the Chicago Trib are also horrendous. The difference is that since Chicagoans can’t use the excuse that bikes don’t belong on the road (since they obviously do here), they go on and on about how cyclists are always running red lights, blowing stop signs, blah blah blah – usually commenting on articles regarding a cyclist killed or injured. Talk about insensitivity!

  10. Doohickie says:

    It looks like the 3-foot safe passing law is gonna make it on the books here in Texas. I’m thinking about buying one of those orange safety flags and attaching it horizontally on my bike so it sticks out to the left three fee beyond the rest of the bike.

    On the other hand, I rarely have a need for it here as it is; most people in Fort Worth are pretty considerate.

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