Friday, 03 August, 2001

Bicyclists live in fear of cars

Bicyclists live in fear of cars.  Whenever we're on the road, we're paying very close attention to the cars around us, and we listen very carefully for car sounds behind us.  Even riding on a wide shoulder, we're vulnerable.  People in cars don't see bicyclists (although I don't understand how that's possible), they ignore us, or they try to bully us off the road.  A car is much larger and much faster than a bicycle, and drivers have little patience--they won't wait five seconds for us to clear an intersection or cross an exit lane.  Often when one driver decides to wait for a cyclist to cross a lane, some other idiot will zoom past and cut the cyclist off.  Why are drivers in such a hurry?

The other thing drivers do is honk their horns.  I don't know if they're honking in greeting or purposely trying to scare me, but every time I hear a horn honk behind me I have an almost irresistible urge to dive off the road.  Nothing scares a cyclist like hearing a horn honked behind him, so don't do it.  If you want to get a cyclist's attention, honk and wave after you've passed him.