When traveling down the road, whether by car, bicycle, or any other mode of transportation, you are sharing the road. The problem is that drivers and cyclists don’t always get along. In fact, the two have been at odds over road sharing for a long time. As bike accident lawyers, we see both sides of the coin. Learn more about what is happening, why it’s happening, and how the issue can be resolved once and for all.
First, let’s take a look at why drivers are frustrated with cyclists.
- Cyclists Not Using the Bike Lane
A major frustration of drivers is when they come across a cyclist riding their bike on the road when there is a bike lane dedicated for cyclists. Why would they slow traffic, when they have a bike lane available?
- Cyclists Riding in the Middle of the Road and Slowing Traffic
When no bike lane is available, it is understandable that cyclists use the road. However, being that they do ride at a slower pace, it makes sense to ride off to the side of the lane to allow cars to pass more easily. When a cyclist rides in the middle of the road, causing a backup of traffic, it is cause for drivers to get very frustrated.
- Cyclists Talking While Riding
A cyclist that is talking while riding is no different than a driver talking while operating a vehicle. These bikers can get distracted and can cause issues to the flow of traffic. A driver can become easily irritated by someone who is chatting up with their friend and getting in the way.
- Cyclists Obey Laws Selectively
Drivers see cyclists gaining the benefits of space and speed on the road, but when it comes time to obey rules like right-of-way and red lights, cyclists sometimes behave as though those rules don’t apply to them. This frustrates some drivers.
- Cyclists Block the Path at Traffic Lights
Bikes cannot speed up as quickly as vehicles. When a bike stops in the front of a line of cars at a traffic light, it can slow down cars that are trying to get through before the green light goes back to red. Anything that slows down the flow of traffic is aggravating to drivers who are trying to get to their destination on time.
Now, let’s take a look from the other side, the cyclist frustrations with drivers.
- Cars Using the Bike Lane
Bike lanes were made to keep drivers and cyclists separate and safe. When a cyclist is forced out of their lane because a car is driving in it, it can be frustrating and scary.
- Being Honked or Yelled at to Move Over When there’s No Room
Car drivers cannot always judge how much room a cyclist has. When a driver thinks a bike is not moving over just because they are being impolite, some will honk or yell out the window. This is not only rude to the cyclist; it can also cause them extreme anxiety or even cause them to be startled into having an accident.
- Getting Cut off by Right Turning Motorists at Intersections
Too often cars will make a right turn in front a cyclist, when a cyclist is also turning. This ignores the presence of the cyclist and puts them at risk for a collision.
- Drivers Trying to Over Take Cyclists in a Bend
Driving around a bend can be dangerous for two different reasons. One reason is because they tend to be a little bit narrower than the rest of the road, and another reason is that cars driving too fast can be pulled to the outer edge of their lane, closer to cyclists. When drivers speed and pass a cyclist on a bend, they often come close very close to knocking the cyclist off their bike.
- Driving too Close
Car drivers sometimes drive way too close for comfort when traveling next to a cyclist. New California law took effect in 2014 that states drivers must give cyclists three feet as they pass on the road. Cars may feel as though they have enough room because the driver is sitting comfortably inside a well-protected vehicle. However, cyclists are angry, frustrated, and nervous when a vehicle passes by them too closely.
- Not Paying Attention (texting while driving)
Another infuriating and scary sight to see when cycling is a driver who is texting while driving. This distracted driver could easily miss something on the road causing an accident. Even traveling at slow speeds, cyclists could be severely harmed if caught in the middle of this kind of accident.
Finding a Middle Ground
Both sides of the driver-cyclist relationship have their own understandable and reasonable frustrations. One way that a middle ground can be successfully reached is by every driver and cyclist being more cautious, patient, and understanding of whom they meet on the road; no matter what type of transportation mode they are using.
Additionally, it is essential for all drivers of any vehicle to follow the rules and laws that are in place. These are laws to keep everyone safe.
In the end, it is going to take cooperation from all people on the road to solve the problem of driver versus cyclist. Our Orange County Bike Lawyers have seen the worst, and encourage all drivers out there to respect others on the road and put yourself in the other person’s shoes before heading out on a bike or in a motorized vehicle.
If you have any questions about a bike accident incident, contact Sariol Legal Cycling at 1-866-800-9399 or visit sariolcycling.com for a free evaluation.