Bike-friendly driving

Seeing a bike on the road in Nashville is still a relatively rare occurrence. One of the most frequent comments I get from people when they find out I cycle for transportation is that they just don’t know what to do when they encounter a bike on the road. Generally I’ll mention a few of the most frequent car offenses (veering ahead of me just to turn right; dooring), and say that an easy rule of thumb is that they should behave as they would if the bike were another car—or a tractor or other slow-moving vehicle.

But. If you or someone you know is a driver who’d like further instructions on how to behave when you encounter a cyclist, this article from the blog of the UK site Car Buzz is an excellent resource (just be sure to swap “left” for “right” since they drive on the other side of the road). It urges drivers to put themselves in the cyclist’s place as the more vulnerable road user and informs them of instances where accidents between cyclists and drivers are most likely to occur (which makes it a good read for new cyclists, too).

Posted just yesterday, the article has been making the rounds on bike blogs. It’s refreshing to see a site that focuses on helping people find cars treat cyclists as legitimate traffic and not a nuisance. My favorite tip:

Get on a bike!
Not until you experience what it’s like to be a cyclist on a busy road will you truly be able to empathise with them and realise how careless drivers can be at times. Cyclists can too be careless, but it usually ends in them getting hurt, not you!

Not to get too touchy-feely on a Friday, but the world could use more instances of people being willing to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.



4 thoughts on “Bike-friendly driving

  1. Erica Satifka says:

    I love that tip! I actually agree with the proposal I’ve seen put forth that people studying for a driver’s license should have to spend some time with an instructor riding around on a bike first, to see the road from a cyclist’s perspective. Part of what’s wrong on the roads is that people don’t spend enough time as non-drivers in a wide variety of urban and suburban settings first, so they don’t see first-hand how cars affect pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, etc. I think even a few days on a bike would give a lot of people a different perspective and force them to realize that they really are behind the wheel of a two-ton death machine.

  2. Stacy Short says:

    I definitely agree that becoming a cyclist greatly improves one’s perspective as a driver. One thing the article says that is a little weird: Cyclists endanger themselves by cycling in straight lines! Strange. I think cyclists should always do this as much as possible (it makes you more predictable to cars). A better way to put it would be that drivers shouldn’t assume that we won’t need to deviate from a straight path to avoid road debris, potholes, etc.

  3. Lauren Taylor says:

    good article! i wish more drivers would see cyclists as “one less car on the road” than “stupid cyclist riding too slow and now i have to go slow ARGJHJF WORST DAY OF MY LIFE.”

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