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26 July 2012 @ 06:49
Dear drivers  

I always get "but cyclists are assholes too" every time I complain about bad drivers disrespecting me and putting my life in danger Duh, of course they are but that's not what I'm talking about. I am not exaggerating when I said people drive past way too close 5 times a day at least. The law says to change lanes when passing a cyclist. If you can't you're just going to have to go slowly behind them. I know it will make you 43 seconds late for your hair appointment but please stop TRYING to hit me! It's like some drivers can't even stand the thought of having to wait or slow down, even for a very short time. You can and you will and you'll bloody well live, you big babies. And so will I. I'm a commuter, I'm not out for a Sunday wander, I'm in just as much of a hurry to get to work or home. How about we ALL get there alive?

I am happy to see more bike lanes going in all over the city, but in some of the older (and badly designed) areas of town there just isn't room to put in a separate lane, so you're just going to have to share the road.

http://www.mpi.mb.ca/english/dr_tips/CyclistsAndCars.html

I don't think they explain well enough how much distance is safe distance to pass someone. If I am nearly hit by your rearview mirror, that's too close. "As close to the curb as possible" is usually almost in the middle of the lane if I don't want to hit all the garbage and potholes along the curb.
I am not going to stop riding my bike, but neither am I going to be a dick about it. I follow the rules, I probably signal more than some drivers out there (pro tip-signaling AS you're turning doesn't count, it has to be before), and I do my best when I am a driver to be patient and considerate. I would like it if you gave that a try too.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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MC OrangePubes: pic#118218819mc_orangepubes on 1st August 2012 22:35 (UTC)
As a driver I have no problem with motorcycles, scooters, or any other vehicle with less than four wheels on the road. All of these vehicles are expected to obey the same traffic laws as other motorists and have the ability as street-legal vehicles to do so. Since bicycles are human powered and slim they are not subject to the same rules of the road as motorized vehicles. In general it is up to both motorists and cyclists to know these rules unambiguously. In the vast number of interactions between traffic and bikers this is fine as there are a large number of cyclists on the roads that know how to navigate among traffic safely. Conversely there is a fraction of cyclists who are quite frankly a nuisance and a menace to the safety of everyone on the road. These cyclists do not understand the dynamics between traffic and cyclists, and often put themselves at risk unnecessarily.

One of the points you bring up illustrates this frustrating behavior perfectly: if a biker is driving on a street where they have to take up an entire lane, especially during rush hour, they should plan accordingly and choose another route which makes use of common sense or minimize the amount of time they have to spend on said route. Riding in the middle of a lane backs up traffic for blocks, and especially during the busy times of day bikers are putting themselves at risk by doing this. The other irritating move which I've noticed is the need for a biker to be treated like a vehicle at some times - taking up an entire lane, forcing cars to pass as if they were a motorized vehicle - then acting as an irresponsible pedestrian when it's convenient, such as sailing past a row of cars at a stop light, casually sneaking through a red before the light changes but traffic is clear and flying through a stop sign controlled intersection without the need to stop or even slow down if it's clear and thus repeating the 10 km/hr jam on the next block. This is when things are most dangerous for cyclists, and a fraction of the cycling community put themselves in that position consciously (just as there are an according fraction of drivers who are just bad).

(continued)
MC OrangePubes: pic#118218819mc_orangepubes on 1st August 2012 22:35 (UTC)
It isn't about my time as a motorist that bothers me about these irresponsible situations, it's about the safety of the cyclists. Some common sense and a bit of thinking might be able to solve this problem. Truthfully, bikers are neither commuters or pedestrians, but something in between. Due to this fact some special concessions have to be made by the community. Bikes can go places that motorists can't, and this is one of the most useful features of these modes of transportation. So why do bikers make some of the worst situations for motorists, gliding past lines of stopped cars or trying to weave into and out of traffic like motorized vehicles when they just aren't? These are some of the most uncreative and obnoxious uses for a bike and defy common sense. Even in the absence of bike lanes there are plenty of different routes to arrive at a destination safely and quickly. "As close to the curb as possible" sums it up perfectly in my opinion. If it turns out a cyclist will have to become an obstacle to the flow of traffic on a busy road, then I think the onus is on the cyclist to find another path which will not hamper them or the drivers that they share the road with and keep everyone safe as a result. How about using less busy side streets or back lanes especially in Wolseley (Westminster Ave is one of the worst streets for this which is why I used this area as an example). This would alleviate the danger to both the cyclists and motorists, allow traffic to flow more quickly, freeing up the streets for easier biking after rush hour and make life more simple for both motorized and human powered commuters on the road. Isn't that a better option than basically demanding traffic conform to the abilities of a single manually powered vehicle jamming up a busy road that does not have a bike lane? I have no problem sharing the road with cyclists when they act in accordance to the rules of the road and exhibit caution and common sense.

I also have issues with the lack of bike lanes in town. There are definitely too few of them and the city should relax it's laws on cyclists using sidewalks. Bikes and pedestrians easily mix and especially in the busy areas of the city making some concessions in terms of commuter law may be necessary. It's just stupid to demand bikers ride on busy streets and highways like Pembina and Henderson especially when these routes are so busy and dangerous. If this would be too nebulous I'd suggest that the city make bike riding on sidewalks legal between 3:30 and 7:00 pm to avoid the danger of having bikers dart through heavy traffic. I'm not satisfied with the way the situation has been dealt with especially where bike paths and lanes cannot be included, as you mention especially in the older areas of the city. Something more needs to be done here to promote safety for all commuters on the roads.

These arguments go both ways, from motorist to cyclist and back again. And I can understand your frustration as a biker having to deal with traffic on the road. But presenting it from a single extreme perspective, like "all drivers are going out of their way to kill me" is naive and misrepresents the real issue. Conversely, the "bikers are always wrong" point of view is similarly simple-minded. Neither of these extremes correctly state the argument nor will anything like them allow us to find a solution to these problems.

In the meantime,
Bikers, I know you're trying to get to your hair appointment 43 seconds early, but please stop throwing yourselves in front of my car indiscriminately! :)
Meanderthal: Parfummadfishmonger on 23rd August 2012 15:25 (UTC)
I hate it when I see cyclists doing that, I'm like YOU'RE RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF US. I think this citty is seriously lacking in city PLANNING.