It’s not easy for cyclists or drivers to navigate sharing the road. The law states that cyclists are equal to cars but a lot of drivers don’t know this, and some who do know it don’t care. There are also cyclists who do it wrong, too, by not signaling, not wearing lights, running stop signs. There’s a lot of confusion on both sides.
But does that mean it’s OK to be a moron? NO. Unfortunately you can be a moron and drive a car or ride a bike. My 2 Team in Training teammates and I had maybe the closest call any of us has had with a car on Saturday. All 3 of us felt the heat of this van’s engine and were all pulled in momentarily toward it by the air flow around it. It just makes me wonder how many more times I can tempt fate before I am hit by someone texting and driving. Another friend was hit last year on her bike by someone who ran a red light, and she is still recovering. It’s terrifying to be on the road, and it shouldn’t be. I know there are more and more bike lanes being installed, but that still doesn’t teach drivers to drive in the presence of bikes. Bike lanes appear and disappear, and drivers pay no attention to them anyway. Can we improve driver and cyclist education? I know my teammates try to. A woman came up to us as we were stopped at a Wawa recently, and said, “I don’t want to be insulting, but WHY do you people have to go on the roads? It makes me so nervous! They make bike trails for a reason!” We tried to explain the law and how many miles and the kind of training we were doing, but in the end her question was rhetorical. She walked away before we could finish.
At least that was a little better than the “GET OFF THE ROAD!” and aggressive honking we get at least once on every ride.
I’m probably preaching to the choir to most of the people who will read this, but I’d like to ask all drivers to remember and help spread the word that cyclists are legally considered cars. If you come to a cyclist, you can pass her, but if you don’t have a clear view to pass with 4 feet between you, just hang back for a minute. Don’t zoom around a blind corner past her while leaning on the horn. Don’t yell obscenities at her. Don’t throw things at her. Cyclists are people, too.