On two wheels or four, we can look out for each other

Today I drove. I know, I know, but lets face it – most of us of who choose to commute by bicycle also drive from time to time. Whether to the grocery store, or during a particularly stormy morning, driving is a fact of life for many of us and presents a unique opportunity as well.

Earlier this week we posted an article from the BBC titled The psychology of why cyclists enrage car drivers which argued that cyclists enrage motorists because they offend the moral order of the road.

From the article:

I’ve got a theory, of course. It’s not because cyclists are annoying. It isn’t even because we have a selective memory for that one stand-out annoying cyclist over the hundreds of boring, non-annoying ones (although that probably is a factor). No, my theory is that motorists hate cyclists because they think they offend the moral order.

Tom Stafford goes on to cite the various formal and informal rules of the road that bicyclists challenge – such as overtaking motorists on the right and driving below the speed limit. What I see, however, is an opportunity to change these expectations. When you and I leave our two wheeled friends at home and choose to drive instead, we have the opportunity to drive with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind.

We have the opportunity to drive with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind.

We can yield the right of way to bicyclists and pedestrians at intersections. We can allow three feet when passing bicyclists, or better yet, yield right of way and share the road as we commute to the grocery store, or our dentist appointment. As motorists, we can slowly change the informal rules of the road to include sharing the road with all road users. Its these cultural shifts that are the most challenging, but also very important in our movement.

One thought on “On two wheels or four, we can look out for each other

  1. Great point, thank you. I bike 3,000 miles a year and drive 8,000 miles a year. No question that my cycling (and my involvement in the Bike Fed more generally) has made me a better driver. We are wise not to push bikes-vs.-cars rhetoric, but to remember that most of us who bike also drive (primarily drive in most cases), and that’s an education opportunity.

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