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I Am a Cyclist, An Open Letter to Car Drivers Everywhere

Updated on August 2, 2016

I am a cyclist. I get on my bike and go for a pedal as time allows. I do it because it is what I do for exercise and recreation. I like the freedom. I like the rythym. I love everything about it, except one thing: People driving cars.

I am under constant siege by people in cars. When I go for a bike ride I am typically alone. I try to go out when the traffic is at a minimum. I stay as far to the right on the road as I can without inflicting another kind of danger to my health. I am simply a man on his bike. Unfortunately I am not safe.


Dear Motorist

In the last 10 years, 7,000 cyclists have lost their lives in motorist accidents. Our goal is to decrease this number.

So what is it about a guy, or gal, on their bike that causes so much aggravation to people who drive cars? Is it because we look different? I wear a helmet. I don't have a couple of thousand pounds of a metal shell protecting me. I wear tight shorts with padding in the seat. Why? Because it make the activity more comfortable and it's hard enough to fight through the wind without baggy shorts flapping around. I wear gloves. Ever taken a fall at 20 miles an hour? The first thing that happens is you put your hand out to cushion the impact. Know how long it takes for road rash to heal on the palm of your hand? A long time. And it hurts. I wear sunglasses just like you. You wear them to keep the sun out of your eyes and to look cool. I wear them to keep the sun out of my eyes, to look cool and to keep debris out of my eyes. I wear a shirt with pockets in the back. It's my glove compartment.

People tell me they are mad at cyclists because they get in their way when they are driving. I'm sorry that I am going 18 mph in a 30 mph zone that you want to go 45 mph in. It's tragic. Wait for a safe place to pass. But why would you give me the one finger salute as you go by? Why do you need to throw your half empty water bottle at me? Why do you need to fling your cigarette butt at me when you pass? I don't think you'd do the same to someone in their car. Why the disrespect?

And why are you so impatient that you can't even pass me when it's safe? Do you have to be in such a hurry as we both crest a hill that you endanger yourself, a driver in the other lane and me as you pass to the left on a little country road, as we go over that hill? Why so impatient?

Why do you feel like you have to speed by me at 55 mph when neither of us have a shoulder to travel on? Even worse, why do you have to play chicken with me to see how close you can get to me? I think 2-feet at 55 mph is a little close dontcha think? If you slow down and give me a little room then you can simply speed back up when you get around me safely. Is it that hard to press back down on the accelearator? Why is 5-10 seconds so precious out of your life that you are willing to sacrifice mine for it?

Why the hatred? I am riding a bicycle. I don't pollute. I don't use any gasoline in my travels. When you pass me by in your dual-king cab V-8 pickup truck towing a boat, you should be thanking me that I'm not using any gasoline in my recreational activity that you are, and will be, using. You would rather throw your fast food wrapper at me instead and tell me to get off the road. The very road that my tax dollars helped pay for too.

And by the by kind driver. It is absolutely and completely legal for me to ride my bicycle on the roads. It is absolutely not legal (in most communities anyway), to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. So stop telling me to get on it! It's a sideWALK. Not a sideCYCLE. If we get on the sidewalk we get yelled at by the walkers. We get on the road and get harrassed by drivers. I like to go fast anyway so I'll stick to the roads.

Tell your governments to build shoulders, at least, on the roads they build. Governments do not want to spend the money on bike lanes because they say no one will use them. Yet, when you ask people why they don't ride their bikes they say there aren't any place safe to do so. Catch-22 if I've ever heard one.

So I brought up legal stuff. Yes, I know you have all seen the cyclist that blew through the red light. Or didn't stop at the stop sign. Or was riding four abreast with his crew keeping you from being able to pass comfortably. These cyclists are jerks. No doubt about it. And since you never speed or do a rolling stop through a stop sign, I'm sure you are justified in getting huffy with these two-wheeled miscreants, right?

I see a lot of things when I ride my bike. You might be amazed at the number of fresh beer cartons I see on the side of the road during my early morning Saturday bike ride. Lots of people in cars are pigs in other ways. Cigarette butts adorn our roadways like you wouldn't believe. Litter is still a problem. I think if more people got out of their car they wouldn't be so quick to chuck stuff out of their windows.

When I'm riding my bike I feel smug. This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to follow behind a hawk soaring 50 feet above me for like a quarter of a mile. It was beautiful. I'm glad people in cars never get that experience.

When I ride my bicycle I have to ride perfectly. Particularly on the Tennessee roads I ride on. There are no shoulders. The roads are built for 1930-40's farm traffic, not suburban dwellers driving around in their Suburban gasoline chuggers. If I make a mistake it puts me in the path of a vehicle behind me that isn't giving me much room to work with anyway. Car drivers aren't worried about being perfect. Why, they have too much stuff going on: Unwrapping a Big-Mac, getting the DVD spun up for the twin spawn in the back seat, texting their boyfriend the location of the par-tay, lighting up that cigarette or fumbling about with the iPod, all at a comfy speed of 50 MPH in a 35 MPH speed zone.

The problem is, if I'm not perfect I pay for it with my life. If you aren't perfect, I pay for it with my life. It doesn't matter if you are right or I am wrong, or I am right and you are wrong, when it comes to sharing the road, the cyclist always, always, always loses. Always.

The next time you drive by me and decide it would be a great time to throw your soda can out the window in my path, consider if you would like for me to throw the same can at you when you are walking into the Feed and Choke for your 5 o'clock feeding. I doubt you would be very amused. I am certainly not amused at your antics that you perform from your car when I am riding my bicycle. A little respect would be really cool.

And for those of you who drive by at a reasonable speed and distance, who give a little wave and maybe a little knowing smile: It does not go unappreciated or unnoticed. Thank you. Believe me, we see and notice everything.

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      Joseph In Oakland 2 years ago

      I commute to work too via bike. Quite honestly it's asshats who think they are above the law and who think cycling automatically gives them some sort of moral high ground that make it difficult for me, not drivers.

      Every time I see some scrawny hipster in over-tight skinny jeans cutting off drivers, blowing through red light, failing to yield right-of way, hitting pedestrians in crosswalks (that happens a lot), I don't see a fellow cyclist, I just see an idiot who went out of his way to make enemies of people he didn't need to.

      Newsflash: Drivers did indeed through vehicle registrations and gasoline taxes pay for the roads we riders are allowed to ride on. Their taxes pay for the maintenance of those roads. So many riders repay that with rudeness and childishness.

      I'd bet money that if you were to check your local vehicle codes, you might be surprised to learn that unless bicycles are keeping up with the flow of traffic (it won't mention speed limit but specifically discuss flow of traffic), they are required to move as far to the right as safely possible.

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      Ceasar 3 years ago

      Maybe if the bike riders would pay road taxes like everyone else that owns vehicles and uses the roadways then maybe there would not be so much agrivation. You then honestly could say "Cyclists have every reason, right, and responsibility to be on the road as the road is shared territory" Yes the tax payers make this possible! Another issue is insurance! Nobody should be on any public roadway without insurance!

      Bikers riding on public roads is the same as playing russion roulette! Bikers know the consequences of biking on roads! If you choose to do so live with the possible consequences! With all the people driving under the influence and texting while driving I think we could lable biking on public roads as insanity!

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      Brad 4 years ago

      Thanks man, you showed me some things I could improve upon when it comes to passing cyclists. And btw when I'm not changing the radio station or getting a stick of gum from the cupholder, I'm concentrating on safe and expedient driving. Have fun on your bike!

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      Driver 4 years ago

      They will blow off every red light and cut you off at every turn. They will great you with rather unstable and angry attitude. This is a clear definition of my encounters with cyclists, just about every day I drive my car to work.

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      Lexi 4 years ago

      *Sorry about my liberal use of "you" - I meant "they", as in the idiot drivers I have encountered. And I have one more end note: it isn't about who is right or wrong. It's about being as safe as you can be when using the road. Any personal experiences we've had shouldn't be used as a representation of a whole group of people.

      As far as tax paying - are motorists are paying taxes to use the roadways, or for their vehicles? This is a big difference, and I believe that it's the latter (with the exception of large trucks).

      Cyclists have every reason, right, and responsibility to be on the road As the road is shared territory, let's all be respectful of the other people using it! Cyclists, if there is a string of cars behind you, you can pull over and let them pass if it is safe to do so. Motorists, you don't need to yell at us to get off of the road. Peace!

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      Lexi 4 years ago

      So, this is my take on cycling. I am a bicycle commuter, using mostly residential roadways. When I am on the road, I follow the same rules as I would driving. Of course, everyone makes mistakes - I'm not perfect, but I am vigilant. I make sure that if I see a potentially dangerous situation, I always yield to the car. There is NOTHING worth riding aggressively to get somewhere faster!

      This being said, I have put up with a lot of abuse! Lots of shouting, horn honking, passing too close, pulling out in front of me, etc. The shouting is aggravating, but doesn't endanger anyone's life. However, all of the others do. This is why I get so mad with the motorists who pull this stuff on me - I could die from your idiocy. You could be having a bad day, late to work, whatever - I don't want to die because of it. Also, my current job is dependent on being physically able to hike long distances and carry heavy things - even a minor accident could completely change everything.

      On a whole, I have no problems with cars on the road. When everyone gets along, it's nice. I don't have an opinion that all drivers are bad, just as I don't think that all cyclists are angels. When I let cars making right turns at lights move up on my right, many people thank me and - as you say - this is appreciated.

      As for taking the lane - I live in Florida, and there is a rule that cyclists must be passed as a car - with 3 feet to spare. If we believe that the lane is too narrow for this to happen without the car switching lanes, we are entitled to take the lane to cut down on dangerous overtakings. While I usually don't do this, I have done it and will continue to do it so that I can ensure my safety (at least as well as I can - the rest is out of my control).

      Thank you, and good debate!

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      blur 5 years ago

      Cyclists raise my blood pressure, therefore, they are unhealthy!

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      jasontoheal 5 years ago

      i'll be more mindful of cyclists in the future. thanks.

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      Aaron 5 years ago

      This article reeks of the same holier-than-thou arrogance that many vegans tend to have. If you're going to stereotype me as some fat, lazy bastard who'd like nothing more than to speed on over in my SUV to the local McDonald's, grab a couple burgers, and then toss the wrappers out the window, and proceed to treat me as such, remind me again why i should show you any respect as a cyclist? You made some good points, but fighting irrational anti-cyclist hatred by taking cheap shots at motorists and making yourself out to be a smug, superior asshole doesn't help your cause.

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      richard 5 years ago

      pay for the road use and stop whinging. pissant

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      blur 5 years ago

      Cycling is legal. However cycling should not be. Its your right to drive these roads because you have pushed your rights to share these roads with cars. Being green is NO reason your bike should override people driving cars. You do impede traffic. You dont have to pay ad valorem taxes and tag fees. Dont have to carry insurance when you cause a wreck. Cyclist bitch about themselves having the same rights well give it to them and make them pay. The 10-15 second wait to pass is crap. I have been behind cyclists for miles not to mention if theres multiple cyclists. Cant u get the same exercise riding in a circle!

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      @Alex - calm down. No need for name calling. You seem rather intolerant. I do pay for the road. I own three vehicles all with properly paid for registrations. All purchasing gasoline and paying the tax to maintain the road.

      I have every right to ride on the roads in whatever legal mode of transportation I want. The bike happens to be legal in all 50 states.

      Many cyclists are arrogant. Many car drivers are arrogant. Roads are for use by any and all legal vehicles. That happens to apply to bicycles. You know, the vehicles that cause no pollution. That does no damage to your road. That doesn't create traffic jams. That free up a few extra gallons of gasoline that you can use in your vehicle.

      Instead of being a hater, how about simply trying to get along. Cyclists are hardly your problem.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      @Anne - you just have to pick your locales in the U.S. Some places are better than other. You would certainly want to choose any place that @Alex above does not live.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      @krt - the country roads are far safer compared to other roads. Plus, again, I ride when no one else is on the road. This morning I got up at 6:30 and road for 45 miles without being passed by one car on roads that otherwise during the work week would have been busy. Church going people are typically very tolerant and most people recognize that I am participating in my activity on the weekend which makes a difference.

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      Alex 5 years ago

      YOU are riding on OUR road. WE have the right to use it. Find somewhere else to ride your hippie-mobile. GTF off the road and let us drivers have it, like we should. Bikers are so arrogant and entitled. Yeah, I'm a bit entitled as well, but hey. Roads are for CARS, idiot.

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      Anne 5 years ago

      I'm glad i live in a bike friendly country - Denmark! :D

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      krt 5 years ago

      Why do you ride your bike on a country road with many blind spots and no shoulders? Not to smart if you ask me.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      @Chris - some around where I live suck as well. They give the rest of us a bad name. They are the reason I ride on roads that are sparsely traveled. They are the reason I get up at daylight on the weekend to ride before the soccer SUVs and softball vans deliver their special brand of death metal down the road. They are the reason that many car drivers paint every cyclist with a broad brush of intolerance.

      The problem is that no one knows the rules of the road as governed by the states. No one. Car drivers or cyclists. For instance, it is perfectly legal to ride two abreast in most if not all states. Unfortunately that pisses off cars. Cyclists are supposed to stay as far to the right as safe. Most do not.

      If you tag and tax a bicycle then you can damn be sure that I will conduct myself EXACTLY like a car. You might not want that if you think it through.

      Cyclists can and do get tickets for disobeying traffic laws.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      @Motorcyclist - I don't ride a bike to be green. I ride it for fun and fitness. I thoroughly enjoy driving my car. I couldn't care less about so-called carbon footprints.

      I have never seen an instant where a bike would hold up a car for a single minute, much less 5. I don't, and will never, live in a city so that is a problem I haven't come across. Personally if I thought I was causing someone in a vehicle to wait behind for more than a handful of seconds I'd try to find a place to let the traffic pass. Besides if there was that much traffic on that road, I wouldn't be putting my bike and my life in the way of it anyway. I don't ride my bike to work for that reason because it is not safe to ride my bike on the road I have to travel on workdays. Weekends at 7AM is whole different story.

      If I am at a stop light with other vehicles I will not run that light out of respect for other drivers and the fact that I'll be through the light in a minute or so. If there are no cars around I will stop and then proceed through as per the law in my state. I always stop at stop signs when cars are around. I try to be respectful to the rules of the road when others are around. I will absolutely not stop at a stop sign if there is no one else around.

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      MOTORcyclist 5 years ago

      As regards laws, splork, I'm sure you can appreciate the chaos if everyone decided they could just run red lights. I admit if there is no traffic for miles, I'm likely to STOP and then run a red. But a cyclist passing a car stopped at a red doesn't need to worry about tripping the light. People think laws are a burden, but they're there for order and protection. Again, no pity for the fool who gets hurt breaking the law. Those "conditioned" to follow laws strangely seem to live longer on the average.

      I live in Calgary, Alberta, and in one instance they've cut a two lane street to one to make way for a rather low volume bike lane. Especially during the winter, the benefits are far outweighed by the cons. If a cyclist holds up 5 cars for 5 minutes, that's 25 minutes of fuel. You might as well drive a car and let traffic flow freely. The effects of a small blockage can be felt MILES back... I have the same beef with pedestrians that saunter across crosswalks holding up left turning lanes for an entire block. Ever stop to think about the carbon footprint of someone like that? 20 cars idling away, perhaps missing the light, then stacking up lights for blocks behind?

      If you want to be green, there's more you can do than ride a bike. Consider the effects of your effect on the flow of traffic. Not everyone can ride a bike.

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      Chris 5 years ago

      I'm sorry, but most of the bikers around here act like they own the road. I will always wait to pass and give plenty of room when i do when its safe. but these guys that run stop signs like they have automatic right of way piss me off. and the ones that gather at intersections to rest............really?

      I wish they would make bikers get tags and pay taxes to ride the road and get tickets for disobeying the law...

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Cyclistsuck - and you are a bigot with little tolerance for other people. Sad, really sad.

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      Cyclistsuck 5 years ago

      You cyclist are nothing more than socially irresponsible scum, period

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Anonymous - yep, the cyclist was wrong.

    • splork profile image
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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      As far as cyclists blasting through red lights and stop signs, I'm more of an anarchist in this regard. We are all so conditioned to follow the rules. Drivers who are complaining about cyclists running I'm sure have never run through a stop sign before? Always come to a complete stop? Please. As far as red lights, cyclists can't trip the red light sensor. In most communities they can stop then proceed when clear.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Cyclists can be jerks. Real assholes indeed. In one of the counties I ride into, Williamson, in TN, they have created this really nice wide lane multi-use lane for cyclists, walker, runners, etc. It is paved nicer than the road that runs next to it. Smooth. Not over-crowded by any stretch. For those that know the area in Brentwood it is near Ravenwood, HS. It goes down Split Log Road.

      When I make that route part of my training ride on the weekends I always hop on the path as soon as I hit Split Log. It goes for a few miles then ends dumping you back on the main road.

      I see numerous kitted up d-bag riders on the main road dragging cars behind them. Why? Too good to spend some time on the bike path? Jeez you can fly up or down that path. I have actually passed guys riding the road while I'm on the path.

      That kind of crap drives me insane.

      And it makes cyclists look like idiots.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I just don't get the need to be so insanely BENT because a cyclist is in front of the driver and it takes them an extra 5-10 seconds out of their drive to get around them. To safely wait to pass. They can just mash their foot a little harder on the accelerator to catch up on their precious time.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Adrian - I ride my bike on the least traveled roads as possible. I get up at 6:30 on the weekends and go for my long rides in the hopes I can return home before people get out. People in TN are mostly respectful of folks bike riding. I understand their frustration when they can't pass immediately. I understand their jealousy when cyclists blow past red lights and stop signs.

      I just think that people in cars these days are rushed. They live in their little aluminum bubble world when they drive. They are distracted.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think this goes bith ways i saw a bicyclist today cut in front of a card and when honked at he stopped slammed his fist on the hood o the car and verbally assualted them. The bicyclist was in the wrong.

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      MOTORcyclist 5 years ago

      If my car only went 20km/h the police would pull it from the road for obstructing traffic. That's for those who like to own the entire lane instead of traveling as clise to the curb as is reasonably possible, to allow traffic to pass.

      As for those who feel drivers hate cyclists, we don't hate you. We hate how you conduct yourself in traffic. On a daily basis I see lane splitting, red lights being run, failure to signal, failure to dismount at crosswalks, stopping traffic as a pedestrian, only to veer onto the far lane and continue as a vehicle, failure to stop for actual pedestrians (one fool was struck by a car at a backed up intersection because he passed a car stopped at an intersection, after which he was flung into the side of my car)

      The erratic illegal riding of cyclists where I live fails to inspire any sort of sympathy when a cyclist gets hit, because I see it everywhere and constantly, and of cyclists would only OBEY TRAFFIC LAWS then they would be a lot safer. If I rode my motorcycle in the same manner as you do, I would very soon be in an accident, and I would not expect sympathy.

      So why is it ok for you?

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      Adrian 5 years ago

      Utopian: That was...interesting.

      Splork, did you ever fix your 'Tennessee' problem? :) I've been a cyclist in 'enthousiast recreation' mode for about 3 years now. Joined a club last year here in Vancouver, Canada. I guess I average about 4-5k a year. So far I've avoided any major issues or confrontations. I'm a very careful cyclist, and always mind my road manners, which has served me well. Mostly, I am very selective of the roads I ride. I generally ride on roads with clearly marked bike lanes, or in areas that are very common 'cyclist' roads. Cars are used to us in these areas. It's no guarantee of safety or avoiding card-carrying bike-haters. But knock on wood I've escaped their wrath to this point.

      I think we can all get along, but it takes committement from your local or regional government to build proper roads and bike lanes to support both modes of transportation. Rather then a catch-22, you turn it on it's head: Build more bike lanes, get more riders out there, get cars more used to riders, etc. Europe has made this committement for the most part and has seen it's benefits. It would just take a real change in focus away from our obsessive addiction to cars on this continent.

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      Utopian 5 years ago

      I favour an all encompassing ban on privately owned and operated transport in dense urban areas. If it is too far to walk (for example from one's club to a den of iniquity) then the enterprising "chap-about-town" may clamber aboard some form of municipal transport such as the mono-rail.

      The barbaric act of using a velocipede to commute to one's hateful workplace is a notion that should not be allowed to cloud the otherwise rational mind of an adult. After all, the pungent stench of bodily secretions cannot be easily masked except by a malodorous "eau de toilette" and is certainly not a welcome accompaniment at the 11am "Single-Malt O'Clock" break.

      Whilst a Gentleman (or, indeed, a Gentlewoman) may feel free to indulge in whatever debased and degrading perversions their hearts desire within the privacy of their walled estates, the knavery of bi-cycling must assuredly be considered a private vice.

      A civilised form of transport should allow a fellow the time to read or to contemplate the inevitable triumph of humanity over the filth and disorder of the "natural world", not be lowered to the level of a mindless meat automaton!

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      @bjc70 - You don't know me so you can stuff your insult. I pay taxes on my vehicles every year. I pay gasoline taxes to drive them. So don't tell me I don't pay taxes. I do no damage to the roads on my bikes. I do no damage to the environment. I don't cause massive backups in traffic when I bump another driver. I stay to the far right as I can and offer no apologies for holding up traffic when I cannot help it. I have a LEGAL right to be on the road whether you like it or not. I bet you've never been held up by a cyclist more than a few seconds. Stop being a jerk.

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      splork 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      So you broad brush everyone on a bike thinking they have an attitude that you don't approve of? How can a bicycle "hurt" you? Last I checked you were encased in two tons of metal while I have a layer of clothing, gloves and a helmet to protect me.

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      Mike Jett 5 years ago

      when I was 15 years old I lived in sebastion Fla and use to ride my ten speed 35 miles to vero Beach on the sholder of the road , when a car tried to scare me and hit me doing about 60. It knoced me unconsious for two months, when I woke up I lost sight in my left eye and had numerious bad cuts and stiches with a memeory loss for about a year. I'am 54 years old nowand I still think about what it did to my life every day. people also drive like that towards motorcycles and if they hit one they lie and say oh I didn't see it, i'am blind in my left eye and I always see bikes or motorcycles and try to be careful with driving cause I live every day with what can happen if you are a stuped inconcerded driver. Thanks for reading Mike

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      bjc70 5 years ago

      Until I see a license plate, tabs, and applicable taxes being paid, you are not equal on our roads. Nor will you ever be. Stop transforming from pedestrian to vehicle on a whim when it suits you. Obey the traffic laws. Get out of the way when you KNOW your holding up traffic you self-centered d-bag.

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      Nicole 5 years ago

      You ask why we hate you, its the attitude. You insult car drivers because we don't kiss the ground you walk on. You guys break traffic laws and nearly get us hurt and then make excuses by saying that car drivers do it all the time. So yeah, no sympathy from me.

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      Mat - Perth Australia 5 years ago

      We get idiots like that over here too. Yesterday I was cycling minding my own business and some tradies in a work ute thought it would be fun to get close to me and yell out the window. It scared the crap out of me. I have been considering buying some of the whipped cream in a can and when someone does that to me I'll catch up to them, spike it and throw it in their car - that would be fun for me I think :)

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      Ian 5 years ago

      Best thing to do in cities if disallow any cars from entering the city center, apart from public transport, trams, taxis and build bike lanes all over. Have bike stands throughout the city where you can pick one up for free and drop it off anywhere.

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      driver 6 years ago

      you cyclists keep acting like you are so fucking innocent. You want drivers to respect you yet you show no respect. The road isn't just for you, yet you act that way. Obey the laws! Don't ride in the middle of the lane, don't ride side-by-side, and stop at stop signs! Also to the obvious ignorant people who think that it only takes a few seconds to pass a cyclist- have you ever driven in rush hour and had to wait for blocks to pass a cyclist because traffic is too congested on the adjacent lanes? Probably not because you assume it only takes seconds to pass you.

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      VeloRapide 6 years ago

      Very good article. Its a shame that some drivers behave this way.

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      dave 6 years ago

      I should point out, as a driver, that sharing the road with bicyclists shouldn't be the stress, anger inducing experience the drivers make it out to be. it certainly doesn't phase me as doing traveling by both methods gives a certain perspective. Drivers need to calm down, and take a good look at the situation. As a person: a driver is no better then a cyclist, were all equal. The main differences are that a cyclist has to expend great deals of energy to move long distances, has absolutely no protection from vehicles, is subjected to weather and in most cases MUST use the road by law. Drivers need to realize that driving isn't a rite, its a privilege for those who can demonstrate responsible, safe use on the road ways. a car driver can sit in a comfortable chair, listen to their music and enjoy the luxuries and distractions that be brought in the vehicle. drivers are encased in steel and wont feel a thing if they clip a bicyclist.

      Drivers: please, just remember you can sit comfortably in your climate controlled car, just becuase you have to slow down AND / OR coast for 30 seconds doesn't mean your going to be late to the place your rushing to get to, just apply a bit more acceleration when your pass the bicyclist and voila, your back on time.

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      dave 6 years ago

      Newly enforced, old laws in Canada, (primarily Ontario) dictate that no bicycle is allowed to use the side walk for ANY reason. It is the cyclists responsibility to know how to navigate and properly signal on the roads. it is illegal tyo ride your bike on the side walk (a 64 year old woman recently died after being clipped by a bike on a sidewalk)and the police are especially enforcing this law, already 6 people i know of have been fined $90(each) for sidewalk riding. My big problem, is that i live in a tourist city, receiving 28 + million tourists a year. many of whom do not know how to drive safely, or enjoy rubber necking and as a result drifting to and fro and the road. several bicyclists have been struck and killed while riding along on the roads and i do not feel safe riding on the roads despite doing everything correctly on my end. As a result i have barely desired to use my brand new mountain bike. we do not have bike lanes or shoulders in my city (except for the newest developed areas which are far from the city core.) as mentioned by another commenter, it seems like a catch - 22. You are expected to ride on the roads which are not designed to accommodate bike traffic safely, or face a stiff fine. i don't like playing Russian roulette in order to get around town.

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      kims3003 6 years ago

      Awesome hub! Very nice writing style !! I enjoyed this and look forward to reading your future writings.

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      soul 6 years ago

      I never had an issue with cyclist at all when they make an effort to try to ride on the far right so I could pass them in safety. However, I got cussed out today by an bicyclist and got my picture taken and he kept on yelling at me saying "I am going to sue your fuckin ass @#@#%@$!#!!#!@#." and I just sat in my car with loss of words. I was driving on the far right lane and this cyclist(no helmet, no protection) was driving almost near the middle so I slowed down and I just honked at him to ask him if he could move towards the right( because I felt that I couldn't pass him wihout hurting him) and he straight up just starts cussing me out...

      WEll, i understand that cyclist have same rights on the road as cars. But, lets face it. Cars = hundreds of tons that can be LETHAL WEAPON. on the other hand, bicyclist wihout helmet, no protection...............I don't know. I just don't see how we could benefit it from driving on the same road. And, if one gets hurt on the road. Honestly, it is often times a bicyclist who is going to be on the deathbed. Also, i just don't think its fair for drivers to wait for the cyclist to ride until we can pass them. It's really ridiculous. Yes, it is true it only takes few seconds but it slows everyone's valuable time too. I understand not every bicyclist is rude like the one I had to face today but please understand how "unsafe and dangerous" we feel passing you guys. Sometimes, it really makes me nervous to pass cyclist at such a close distance(but it is sometimes hard to wait on them holding cars behind me too, you know?)I just feel that we need to find an alternative. It's uncomfortable for drivers and the cyclist to be driving on a roads(that is often too narrow to fit car+bicycle).

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      Eric 6 years ago

      You stereotype people in cars as 'fat' and distracted and eating fast food all the time. You believe your choice of transportation makes you better than people in cars. You are happy when people in cars miss out on an enjoyable experience. You're not a very good person. Why should I care about your welfare again?

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      Tessa Tiley 6 years ago

      Had to add my comment to this - I'm a UK cyclist - haven't experienced the actual 'road-rage' type stuff or had things thrown at me, that sounds awful! But drivers here do all the other stuff, go so close to me my bike gets pulled into their airstream, make turns suddenly in front of me, etc. - to the point where I no longer ride on the road, and go on the pavement - where I encounter the wrath of pedestrians, despite riding slowly, getting off to pass people etc. It seems we are not wanted anywhere. I shall continue to ride on the pavement until our councils build more cycle lanes - and I point that out to any pedestrians who harangue me, and suggest that they campaign for cycle paths too if they find me a problem.

      I would point out to anyone who dislikes cyclists that we all have a right to use the transport we choose, and the roads, and we should all be doing so responsibly. If you dislike cyclists, that's your personal problem, it isn't a reason for behaving like an **hole.

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      Fred Herring 6 years ago

      I am an avid bicyclist so it dismays me when I see the "Lance Armstrong wannabes" blowing through stop signs, ignoring rules of the road and generally setting a poor example for the rest of us. I grew up through the years when bikers REALLY had to fight for their right to use the roads, starting in 1964 on a Schwinn Varsity. When bicyclists have the attitude that because they're so "green" that they have the "vehicle prioritee card" our cause is just set back. Too many bikers seem to think that riding against the traffic is sensible, that weaving in and around cars and trucks at stopped intersections is okay because they're saving the planet. Wise up. To share the road means we need to ride responsibly. Only then will bikers gain the respect of motorists.

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      FirstStepsFitness 6 years ago

      Great Hub ! Welcome to Hubpages :) I am in So-Cal , used to ride with bike clubs as well as in pairs . Auto drivers simply do not pay attention to cyclists , pedestrians etc ... people park in bike lanes all the time . Riding with a bike club had it's advantages :

      Your in a group in mostly bright shirts riding single file with maybe 10 others .

      One individual leads the group signaling road conditions,cautions,traffic issues and/or obstacles

      One member tales the group to watch over ....slow riders,bike issues,strength issues or anyone just plain needing to pull over for any reason .

      Last by hardly least a group tends to be more noticed .

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      KoalaCyclist 6 years ago

      Thank you Splork for saying what all cyclists are feeling! I live and ride in Australia and it seems that conditions are a bit better here than in the US. I can't say I've ever had things thrown at me... apart from insults and incoherent jeers. It's very tempting to retaliate and comment on the drivers' microscopic penis size (in general they are male and early 20s, though by no means always)... but I have to keep reminding myself that they're just poor ignorant idiots who use the weight, noise and power of their car to compensate for their own lack of everything else.

      Unfortunately, there's enough of them to be a real problem, and I think what it is is pure lack of education, and this is what should be used to counter it. Education. Definitely in Australia (and the US as well I gather) there's a car-superiority complex rife in the population. It's about time the government actually came up with real initiatives to change driver attitudes. But it's that positive feedback loop again: the government reckons no one wants to ride so they don't build real bike lanes, or try and educate anyone; then, because there's no safe facilities and ignorant arseholes on the road, people don't ride. Ridiculous.

      I reckon countries all over the world should be taking tips from Europe, specially Germany and Holland. Bikes practically outnumber cars there. And so they should. As people have already pointed out, cycling is free, healthy, environmental, and in the right conditions, enjoyable. I rest my case.

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      Keith Shannon 7 years ago

      I'll have to disagree with the statement that it's people in their 20's who are the main offenders. I've noticed that it's usually fat, lazy, old people that are the main culprits. Like it was mentioned, people have so little control over their own lives that they need to feel powerful behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle - save a few seconds at the risk of the biker. I've had drivers wait until the very last second to cut me off in an intersection - and sometimes they are even so focussed on cutting ME off that they almost have a head on collision with another car heading in my direction, often resulting in a blast of the horn from that driver.

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      splork 7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Interesting to see this rant after two years since I wrote it. I see it is still a somewhat controversial topic. Sadly there are still the morons who think bikes should stay on the sidewalks or off the roads competely. It's against the law in many places and dangerous in all places to ride a bike on the sidewalk with pedestrians. Bikeways would be grand if there were enough of them and if cars would stay the hell out of them. And of course there is that pesky little thing called the law that grants a cyclist access to the road. Moreover most state laws, TN included, say riding two a breast is legal. And many states, TN included, has issues a 3-foot passing distance law.

      I get that cyclists can be jerks and not follow the laws and peeve drivers who are RUSHING to get wherever it is they are going. But seriously, can you not slow down for 10 seconds and make a safe pass? Really? Pathetic.

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      Claire 7 years ago

      I Agree Totally, As it is, it wasonly today that i was out on my bike and a woman driver almost took my front wheel out just because she was more busy looking around instead of looking in her mirrors and not looking for any cyclist, i mean have they not got enough road as it is, i am so glad that i am not the only cyclist which this is happening to.... i believe that some protest should be done all over the world to make car drivers aware of us..... im even learning to drive because i dont feel safe on a bike anymore.... lets do somethink about it......

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      RoseGardenAdvice 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow ... you've really put yr heart and soul into this. Reminds me of my bicycling days and the problems with car drivers. Yes. There is no respect for people on bicycles. The turtle tale was tragic and the hawk tale was beautiful. Reminded me of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig where he says that viewing the world thru a car window is like watching it framed while on a bike you are part of the whole picture. Of course he was writing about riding a motorbike..but me I prefer bicycles any day. The quip about the sideWALK and not sideCYCLE really got me laughing. Very very nice hub. Thanks.

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      Guest 7 years ago

      I commute 40km per day (round trip) on a busy road with wide shoulder average 3 days p.w and another 80km on weekends on mostly quiet streets and cycleways/shared paths. I obey all road rules and have never experienced road rage from motorists. Equally, when riding on cycleways, I find that cyclists and pedestrians manage to get along nicely. All it takes is patience, respect and mutual understanding.......

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      Panda 7 years ago

      I'm sick of ignorant drivers. I have a confrontation everytime i cycle into Manchester, Uk. They block my path. park in the cycle lanes and swear at me when i change lanes. I like your article! i ride a petro zillia which is slighty wider than the average bike because of the handle bars. Never does a driver give me consideration i can bearly squeeze most of the time.

      Another thing which annoys me, is pedestrians that walk in the designated cycle lanes and refuse to move and give u dirty looks :S i also have problems when im pushing my bike on the pavement. One time an old man pushed me onto the road i tried to explain i wasn't cycling and i cant cycle down a one way road the wrong way. Another women thought i was taking about her and said "get on the road" when i was explaining how a women walked in front of me on the road earlier in the day.

      I think everyone has a problem with cyclists (apart from those who actually cycle) they all seem to think they shouldn't be allowed anywhere, its so annoying !

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      cynicroute 7 years ago

      Average adult weight: 150 lbs

      Average adult weight, plus bike: 180 lbs

      Average automobile weight: 2800 lbs

      Politics and policy aside, cyclists are foot-powered and therefore pedestrian; as such, they belong on sidewalks and pathways with walkers and runners - not on streets and roadways. The collision between a walker and a cyclist is far less injurious than the collision between a cyclist and an automobile. The cyclist in me avoids streets as much as possbile out of personal safety and common sense. The driver in me is frustrated by the cyclists that think they're motorbikes and monopolise roadways. I know it was once fun to put a baseball card in your spokes and pretend, but let's grow up here. Then there is the group that follows pedestrian rules when convenient, and road rules the rest of the time.

      The bottom line is that automobiles are not going anywhere anytime soon. Being self-righteous about cycling does not entitle one to disrupting traffic. Traffic congestion in major centres is bad enough without being speed-limited by the one cyclist pretending to be Streethawk. Vrrrm Vrrrrm.

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      Common sense 7 years ago

      I find it funny that the cyclists use terms like gas guzzling and overweight jealous drivers to demonize people in their cars who just want to get to where they are going and not have some selfish person on a bike plugging up traffic. When the bicyclist is going 20 and the speed limit is 55 are we supposed to slow down to 25 to pass you? If we drive by at 15 or 20 mph faster than you are going it is going to seem like we are speeding when we are not. No we are not jealous of you so get over yourselves! I am sure there are many riders who are very considerate and follow some sort of protocol when using the road. My personal experience has been mixed. I live in an area where lot of bicyclists ride. I give them the space they need to be safe. But there is always some guy or group of guys who clog up the road and refuse to give vehicles any room to pass. It is very frustrating when all you want to do is get to where you are going. Unfortunately there is always some guy who wants to prove some point so he wont give vehicles room to pass. I cant for the life of me figure out why someone would want to take on a vehicle while riding a bike. The car is going to win that battle every time. If you give me some respect on the road I WILL return the favor. But tell your hardcore "I own the road" buddies that they are giving you a bad name!

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      Jason 7 years ago

      I ride BMX and never had a problem with any of that - Maybe you should take up freestyle BMX riding instead. The funny part is you have issues with people on a bike that suits your height and age when I get only respect on a bike that looks like it was made for a kid.

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      guest 7 years ago

      Very Very well said.............

      Many of these passengers and drivers are nothing more then mere assholes if they believe it is funny to toss objects, give the finger or scream out obscenities to cyclist, or the while hiding behind a fast moving vehicle "cowards"

      Cyclists have EVERY right to be on the road, and not just near the gutter either. They are entitled to take up an entire lane in most cycling countries. However, most decent cyclist, move all the way over to the closest part of the sidewalk, just to give gas gurgling vehicles most of the lane.

      Cyclist were around long!! before any type of motorized vehicle came into being. Just remember that, cowards.

      And i have to agree with you splork, these asses the vehicles are just jealous, i dunno about having anything to do with being overweight, but they certainly are very jealous people.

      Cyclist rule, road jerks don't.

      Cyclist forever.

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      passed dangerously everyday 7 years ago

      Where I live a bicycle gets to where it's going faster than any other vehicle. This is true even when cyclists stop at red lights and only proceed through them with caution when the road is 100% clear. For this reason the fastest and highest-cost messenger services in the city all deliver packages by bicycle.

      Many drivers believe that they will get to the destination faster by passing cyclists. But they never do unless the cyclists are moving very slow. It is physically impossible for the car to get ahead of an average, experienced city cyclist for longer than the distance to the next stopped line of cars at a red light. And and it is tremendously dangerous, as during the passage of a speeding car within feet or inches (!) of the cyclist, they are 100% pinned in speed and direction, thus opening the possibility that they will be forced into an opening door or a pothole.

      The pass-at-all-costs behavior is pervasive, counterproductive, tremendously dangerous, and (at least here) completely illegal. In my state, it must be safe and *necessary* in order to pass vehicles when there is not a free lane or ample space to do so. Getting to your destination faster than other vehicular traffic is not a necessity nor a right.

      It is the perceived right of cars to pass cyclists in any and all circumstances which seems to start the majority of the cyclist-driver fights I've ever seen, participated in, or read about. This right does not exist under the law. The "right" to pass is an illusion created by the disproportionate ratio between the size and power of automobiles and the environments in which they are commonly used.

      When arguments over this issue start, drivers are quick to defend themselves by accusing cyclists of breaking laws at other times (mostly red light and stop sign violations). These illegal and purportedly "dangerous" actions which cyclists commit are taken by some drivers as justification for a loss of respect cyclists in general. The drivers do not understand that cyclists break these laws because cautiously running reds and stop signs is a low-risk behavior that decreases their exposure to dangerous situations on the road. Where upset drivers perceive pompous attitude there is merely practical and logical behavior. Not one person I know has ever been in an accident because they ran a red light, although not looking to see if there is oncoming traffic will certainly get you in trouble. Almost all accidents involve collisions or near-collisions with cars during normal "legal" riding in which the car violated the cyclist's right of way. Running red lights gets bicycles away from a polluted, terrifying place where such accidents are commonplace--- the line of rapidly accelerating cars produced by a green light. It seems that the police understand the cyclists, and do not ticket them unless they are on a "bike safety campaign."

      Unfortunately the cyclists pose no physical (or legal, in the case of a poorly witnessed hit-and-run) risk to the drivers, who can comfortably disrespect them by threatening them with their vehicular weaponry at little risk to their own person or property.

      As a cyclist, I daily anger drivers because I ride in front of them. But I don't have much choice when the road is narrow and lacks a bike lane and the drivers are so often aggressive. It is a defensive stance I take.

      If I always back down they will pin me against and behind parked cars.

      If I ride far to the right (I'm in the US) then I risk running into car doors as passengers and drivers exit vehicles without looking behind them.

      If I ride just outside the door zone, cars will dangerously accelerate over the speed limit to pass me, providing only a few feet on either side for myself and oncoming traffic.

      If anyone passes me, I will pass them back on the right at the next red light. State law allows me to do so. Rarely do cars beat me by more than a few seconds between lights. I am not impeding their way. They will only reach the next red a little slower if they stay behind me. They will even save fuel and pollute my community less.

      Given these facts, I ride in in the lane. This prevents cars from pinning me or passing me dangerously. It doesn't impede traffic, as traffic is always slower on average than I am. It's my legal right to do so unless there is a bike lane. This prevents people from acting dangerously, but it makes them angry! I can't tell what's worse!

      In all situations in which it is completely safe to do so, I allow cars to pass. But sometimes I don't let people pass if I think they are being aggressive, because I am afraid that they will pass dangerously. My fear of this is highest when someone starts honking or is speeding very fast when they come up behind me. Driving fast and honking (when not intended to signal danger) are both signals of aggression. It scares me to back down in this situation. I'm sure this makes me look like an asshole, but I'm doing it to protect myself from the average driver, whose proximity to me when passing decreases in step with their anger.

      There is no speed minimum on any road that allows cyclists. Furthermore, it is no one's right to drive at or slightly above the speed limit whenever it is possible. Drivers behave this way and accuse cyclists of ignoring traffic law. Traffic law says that you can't pass vehicles in no-passing zones. Traffic law says that you have to yield to other vehicles in front of you, no indications are made with regards to speed. The right of way is something that can be given, but never taken.

      This problem will never completely end until cars and bikes are given separate ways, or the speed limit on city streets is dropped to a speed within the upper range of a capable cyclist. I am saddened by the fact that neither of these events will happen in my locality in the foreseeable future. We are at least constructing many bike lanes, and moving parking off of busy streets. Barring these miracles, the best that could happen is that drivers learn of the danger they cause in unsafe passage.

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      Jeff 7 years ago

      This started out interesting, but then degraded into a predictable rant about entitlement via reframing yourself into an oppressed category.

      Some percentage of people are assholes. I find these assholes on the left, right, and center of politics. I find them in cars. On motorcycles. On bicycles. On sidewalks. In restaurants.

      Everywhere you look, you'll find assholes.

      Looking at one asshole, latching onto one characteristic of them (e.g. "fat"), then spewing vitriol about all those who match that arbitrary characteristic is simply bigoted.

      Incidentally, I'm a cyclist, motorcyclist, and car driver.

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      Luis 7 years ago

      Thanks Splork for this revelation! I have to say this, I am 18 years old, just got a license, and I am a mountain biker.. who occasionally rides these streets in Ventura County, Southern California. When I drive and I see roadies (I see MANY on the road on my way to the mountains along the Pacific Coast Highway where I mountain bike) I respect them because they are fellow cyclists, I even nod to them if they see me, and I always keep as far as possible from them so as not to endanger them. The only malevolent actions I noticed from drivers when I ride the streets is: they almost NEVER look right when they are making a right turn (endangering us cyclists and other pedestrians), they oftentimes pull up into the crosswalk or bike lane so we the cyclists have to risk our lives to get past them, sometimes they dont stop and wait for us to pass when they are at a red light and they turn right (once I had the pedestrian white go light so I was ready to cross the street, but could not because of the string of about 15 inconsiderate drivers that were turning right... had to wait for the next pedestrian go white light. not cool). I have had one driver honk at me, there was no shoulder on that very brief section of road, he needs to understand. About 5 times I NEARLY got swiped in the rear wheel because of those stupid distracted drivers that refuse to pay attention when turning right, the cars have gotten about 2 feet from me.

      And I thought that was the worse..... until what happened to me today on the bike lane. I was about midpoint of my 40 mile ride to and from Santa Paula, CA. I was riding on a very wide part of the bike lane, I was looking at a teenage mother and her daughter on the sidewalk when I feel a sharp pain on my left shoulder. The big haired inbred young white male passenger of the tan toyota had thrown a big plastic bottle half filled with yellorange liquid directly at me!! I was INSTANTLY infuriated! I was wishing those As&*~(#s death, and I yelled obscenities to them as they slowly sped up from the safety of their tinted window car. This is when I wish I had a paintball gun in my camelbak... Im not a violent person at all but that was over my limit. That was completely uncalled for. I'm a mexican, it could have been racism but I doubt they could tell that when I am in my cycling gear.

      Who throws bottles at cyclist, especially when women and children are around???

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      JakeAuto 7 years ago from Calif.

      There's a terrific video shot from the cyclist's POV ranking the hazards of riding on the roads, he mentions that being hit from behind is one of the less common events but is fatal 25% of the time.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEMFj-frViY&fea...

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      Jay Heiser 8 years ago

      Somebody suggested that bicycles are perceived as 'unamerican,' and I think there might be something to that. Americans are in love with their car, and tend to assume that there is something wrong with someone who isn't dependent on them. People who walk, bike, or are happy to ride mass transit and not worry about parking or rush hour traffic, are suspicious non-conformists.

      I live in England right now, and find both the standard of driving, and the cycling experience, to be higher than in the US. English bikers complain about cars, but even on the narrow UK roads, I find that cars give me much more space than they do on the relatively spacious highways of America.

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      jhoess 8 years ago

      valuable lesson - when dealing with road rage drivers in urban streets, don't respond. It only leads to one thing, escalation. They are looking for engagement and response to carry on the fight. I have tried both ways. It is more fun to fight back and yell, but to keep on biking with no reaction always makes them calm down, get bored and drive off. I had a scary run in yesterday. Not the usual get close and honk as the gas pedal is all the way down, but the slow down to my speed and hug near my bicycle while he spouted his wisdom. I did nothing wrong, but I knew by the intensity of the driver's yelling that he was waiting for the signal to pound me his fist and the help of his guests fists, hit me with his car, or shoot me. This was a part of town where there are not many recreational cyclist or commuters for that matter. I wanted so bad to respond and educate him, but thought about my health and well being. The silent treatment works. I got home safe and awake with a little extra adrenaline in my blood.

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      comp3820 8 years ago from Michigan

      Good hub! I know exactly what you feel like, although I also know what it feels like to be in a car going 15mph behind a cyclist on a long, hilly 55mph road...

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      Fred Tred 8 years ago

      I don't know if you've seen this - it was recently written in MSU's "State News" by a particularly uninformed person....

      http://www.statenews.com/index.php/article/2009/04...

      He has actually inspired a lot of solidarity among bikers, as well as myself, to take the roads in east lansing.

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      Norwegian 8 years ago

      Where I live in Norway, I live on top of a hill, around 200 M above sea level, the cars are the ones annoying. I don't cycle much due to a stretch I have to pass witch has dangerous sidewind, but when I do, I often pass a car or two... It may be annoying, but we all respect each other. When a driver sees a cyclist, he slows down a bit, and passes at a safe distance. It's not the same other way around though, since it's not common, and only happens on roads with little traffic, and the cyclists has enough room to pass by.An example is when I rode 20KMs to visit a friend. I had to ride on a high-traffic road for around 85 - 90% of the time, riding for around 20-25 KM/h in an 80 KM/h zone. The drivers did respect me, passing at around 60 KM/h and giving me some room, in case a met a pot-hole, or fell. I rode as far to the right as I could.I think that is more of an American problem, but I see both points. Being behind a cyclist who rides in the middle of the lane. But driver usually use the horn once to signal that they want to pass, and the cyclist goes to the side. The drivers slow down and give them room. The biggest problem is small children. They don't know the traffic well, and might have problems handling their bike, and gets in the way. But no drivers here gets mad. They just slows down. They almost stops! And the kids gets off rather quickly.

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      Aaroneus 8 years ago

      Its because obesity leads to aggression. Also motorcycles get the same treatment in most major areas only they can go faster ect.

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      Will 8 years ago

      Spork, you some up why i hate careless drivers, good post!

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      Jo 8 years ago

      Spork, I agree with everything you said in this article, except I dunno why you have to bring fatty fatty fat fat insults into it first thing.

      I've been riding for many years about 90 mins a day as a commuting cyclist and I am still the size of a house. And I see heaps of other fat cyclists on my everyday travels as well. Skinny people and those of a typically fit appearance do not have exclusive rights to enjoying outdoors exercise and/or caring about the environment. I'd be willing to bet a lot of moolah that I have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than 95% of 'normal-weight-range' people I know.

      The dangerous drivers I come across daily in my cycling travels are all types of people but would proportionally be at least 95% thin or 'regular-sized' folk. And I have to put up with the fat insults from many of them and those going out of their way to intimidate me and try and run me off the road because of that sense of aggressive, righteousness entitlement that young skinny / fit guys often have to pick on anyone who is different to them.

      Perhaps the fatties give you the finger because you remind them of a certain type of person who feels entitled to pick on fat people and associate them with moral decay. At least they are not hitting the accelerator as soon as they see you to try to run you down (as I get at least once a week with an associated fat insult).

      But otherwise, right on brother.

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      splork 8 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I have one but Nashville area mountain biking is fairly lame. There a couple of good places to ride like Chickasaw Trace and Montgomery Bell State Park, which are in fact very good. But they are fairly overused and have very little in the way of meaningful elevation changes. I used to ride in the N. Ga. Mtns. when I lived in Atlanta a few years ago. I miss those mountains tremendously. The last couple of years gasoline prices have made it pretty tough to justify driving back down. Now that the prices have dropped again I'll make an effort to get down there this spring. But nothing beats the convenience of road riding. I simply ride out of my garage and take my chances.

      You can see my new mtn bike at:

      http://roadweary.wordpress.com/

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      tim 8 years ago

      get a mountain bike.... all your problems with cars and aggressive people disappear

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      Cyclist from York UK. 9 years ago

      In York (UK) we cyclists do have miles of dedicated cycletrack, and many junctions marked out for our use. We also still have accidents and cyclists who dont help the cause. One local cycleshop has set up a campaign to get cyclists to re-affirm their compliance with the highway code (UK Road Law), so take a look - (www.stopatred.org). With the olympics this week I can also be very smug as our national cycling team kicks the worlds butt. Keep up the good work Splork, it will get better.

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      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California

      OMGoodness...what kind of a jerk would purposefully hit a turtle?

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      splork 9 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Actually some traffic laws do not apply to cyclists. I discovered an interesting rule about running red lights, that if you are on a scooter or motorcycle and I would assume a bicycle, and it will not trip the red light you are within your rights to run the light when clear. Tennessee passed this law in 2003. 6 other states has as well.

      Feel free to search on "red-light laws for motorcycles" in Google.

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      starcatchinfo 9 years ago

      HI, GREAT HUB !

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      Anonymous 9 years ago

      My problem is with the bicycle riders who think that traffic laws do not apply to them. Running red lights in front of moving traffic is stupid and if you do it, you deserve to get hit. Being a conscientious driver, I probably won't be the one to hit you, but you deserve it.

    • J.M. Davis profile image

      J.M. Davis 9 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Your hub made me laugh.  I live in Chicago, which is a bike friendly city with a lot of bike lanes, and a Mayor who wants to encourage more people to get out and bike. Still, I have definitely had the odd run-in with an idiot car driver that makes me want to shake my fist at all the cars on the road (even though I know that's not very fair.)  My least favorite thing is when a car idles behind me on a clear wide road with plenty of chances to easily pass me, then speeds past after about ten minutes (clearly very put out by my presence on their road) so close to me that we are literally only seperated by an inch or two of air.  That's always real nice.  Sure shows me who's boss (or who's an aggressive jerk with rage and patience issues who probably shouldn't be allowed to operate any kind of heavy machinery.)  I have not been pelted by any hamburgers yet though...and I must say most drivers I encounter on the road are mindful and nice to me on my bike, which I appreciate.

    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 9 years ago from Washington state

      Ah, see, you didn't make that entirely clear -- and bear in mind, I'm thinking of the actions of the cyclists in my hometown, not necessarily yours (as I don't know your riding habits). I'm afraid the cyclists in my hometown are not a very good representation of your sport.

      I have, in fact, seen cyclists run red lights when it was not safe to do so. This freaks me out for the reasons mentioned above, as well as the fact that I don't want to see a grotesque human tragedy played out in front of me.

      I do mind, a little, that you go below the speed limit. I understand the limitations, however, and I simply switch to the opposite lane and pass carefully. I don't understand road rage or the overwhelming insensitivity shown towards our fellow man anymore than you do.

      In my view, deadlines and time are not all that important. Everything but death or emergency hospital visits can be rescheduled, and I don't understand why everyone and their mother is in such a rush on the road, speeding to and from and flipping off people who hold them back. In that, I can relate to the frustation shown by cyclists.

    • twisteddman profile image

      twisteddman 9 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Raymond Bray as twisteddm

      in response to that one girl,

      I personally ride my bike assuming no car sees me. It has kept me alive and in one piece. Though i do appreciate that you are doing your best to look out for cyclists. I dont just do whatever i want willy nilly. That would be suicidal and not very responsible to other people. The fact is in my 20 years of experience riding and commuting i have found that a vast majority of drivers dont see me so i ride with the knoledge of what automobiles are going to predictably do , and i am always ready and looking out for the unpredictable. So when i say go through a light or stop sign with out stopping i mean when its completely safe and is not a danger to me or anyone. there are many times when this is true. I dont just ride out in front of cars when they can run me down. My point wasn't even to condone this and tell others to do it, nor do i think its my right to do so. My point was this action isn't effecting you wether you believe it or not, and if its what's making people pissed off enough to not share the lane or give bicyclists respect ,its very petty. It would be like running down pedestrians because you saw one jaywalking, also illigal in most places yet also very safe and way more convenient at times. If a cyclist is blocking the lane without letting you by for no apperant reason or for a unreasonable amount of time that's rude. If a cicylist rides out in front of you when you have the right of way for any reason, that is just plain stupid. If the cicylist is just on his merry way doing a few things your not allowed to do getting to where he is going and it makes you so upset that you give no bicyclist the respect they deserve than you have a problem. That was the point that you missed when you read my comment.

    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 9 years ago from Washington state

      Raymond Bray -- you say:

      "Or i could just go through it effecting no one and continueing on my way at the pace i was trying to keep.When its an option. and if i mess up doing that ,who gets hurt? ME. So why do you care."

      Actually, I care because bicyclists are not as noticeable. Same thing with motorcyclists. Sometimes, no matter if you check twice before you turn right or left, you simply do not register them. In driver's ed, we're taught to look out for CARS. That's it. In defensive driving courses (which very few people take) they cover how to drive around vehicles of the 2-wheeled variety, but most drivers only know to look out for cars.

      I personally have the best of intentions and do not ever want to hit a bicyclist or other 2-wheeled vehicle, but if you aren't obeying the laws, and I don't register you until it's too late -- I just killed somebody. I don't want to do that. You cannot expect me to be an absolutely perfect driver every single time I get on the road -- I am human, and imperfect. You've already admitted to your imperfections -- thinking you're above the law, or simply being unwilling to obey what is set out there for your own safety because it "only effects you".

      I try to do my best. I don't eat and drive, and I don't fiddle with the radio when I drive. I try not to talk to my 6 year old, even when he's crying in the backseat. I don't talk on my cellphone and drive. I know I'm not like most drivers in the precautions that I take, but I also know I'm easily distracted, and have trained myself not to engage in activities that could prove fatal to myself, my son, or someone else.

      Nonetheless, if that day comes when I'm driving home from a visit with my brother, an hour away, and I happen to be dealing with a six year old who's a little tired and worn out from the day, and I check for a turn but don't see you -- you running that red light could compound simple distraction.

      You do share the road, and that means obeying the laws of the road, even if it's inconvient for you. So it's easier to blow through a red light -- guess what, it would be easier for me, too, when I'm riding my motorcycle. Those lights don't register motorcycles, and I have to sit there until a car pulls up behind me and triggers the sensor. I don't run them, anyway -- because it's not safe.

      The laws of the road are meant to protect us -- all of us.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      Another thing to consider is the fact that our roads cannot handle the amount of traffic during certain times of day. Where I live you can drive in the emergency/break down lanes during rush hours. I have seen terrible accidents to motorists who have pulled over to change a tire. Nowadays, families own more than 1 or 2 vehicles. I don't think our roads can handle the added traffic. We all need to be patient whether a driver, cycler, walker, or jogger. What really is the big rush anyways? We need to value all life, period.

    • splork profile image
      Author

      splork 9 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Yea, I see far too many pack riders blatantly disregarding the rules of the road. They are a-holes. They make even me mad. It's one reason I ride solo. And you know, when I come up on a pack and work my in, I notice that the people riding aren't really concerned about cars. I feel cars my whole ride. Even when I sneak into a pack I'm getting over when a car is behind and yet the people around me are still riding two and even three abreast. I feel less safe within that mess than I do simply riding by myself.

      Off topic a bit: The one thing that has really got me down about the fuel costs is how much money it costs to go mtn biking to my favorite places. I drive a 4-cylinder Toyota yet it will still cost $50 every time I want to go. It's the price I pay for landlocking myself in mid TN.

      Thanks for the comments everybody.

    • AndyBaker profile image

      AndyBaker 9 years ago from UK

      Cycling is great !

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 9 years ago from The Land of Tractors

      Thoroughly enjoyed your rant. We need to respect each other more, and show a little common decency.

      My husband rides his bike to work, and one day I was at my favorite breakfast joint with a friend and one of the retired cops that frequents the place told me they've nicknamed my husband "Crash," and are taking bets on when it will happen. Not very funny.

    • sunfun1 profile image

      sunfun1 9 years ago from San Diego

      I agree with Cora Judd that SoCal is a great place for cyclists and those who have noted that the gas crisis is going to put more of them on the road are obviously correct. My trials are not with most individual cyclists here in our sunny paradise but with the club riders. They travel in packs of a dozen or more and simply dare others on the road to deal with their failure to obey the laws of the road. Bike path and bike lane are dirty words to these folks, their goal is to control the road as their space. Any preceived challenge to their pack is greeted with shouted swear words, derogatory statements or labels and unfriendly hand gestures. I don't care how smug one feels on their bike, disrespect is a two way street.

      Excellent Hub, quiet thought provoking. Take care and enjoy your ride.

    • seohowto profile image

      seohowto 9 years ago from Bay Area, CA

      great hub, I really enjoyed reading it!

    • profile image

      raymond bray 9 years ago

      I have been and avid bicyclist for 20 years in eugene, oregon . A very bicycle friendly town. Yet i still get my share of harrasment by drivers. Alot of young punks(even when i was the same age) that need to prove there manhood by yelling or throwing things at me. Then there are the small areas of town that dont have proper bike lanes, so riding in the road is the only option( this has been pointed out , but i will say it again THE SIDEWALK IS RARELY A VIABLE OPTION FOR ME TO RIDE ON!". The real issue here is that as a motorist if you think 5-10 sec of your time is worth possably maiming or killing another human being , then you are just psycopathic, and might want to take a look at your value system.

      I know that some cyclists ar jerks (i am looking at you roadie jocks who think riding four abreast is cool), but generaly that's not the case.As far as cicylists not having to obey the rules of the road. isn't that a little like Ferris Buelers sister being bent out of shape because ferris gets away with so much. Who cares its not effecting you. You can just use a minimal amount of effort to push the accelerator to get going after a stoplight or sign The bicyclist has to shift down come to a full stop, take foot out of clipless pedals .then get going again. or i could just go through it effecting no one and continueing on my way at the pace i was trying to keep.When its an option. and if i mess up doing that ,who gets hurt? ME. So why do you care.

      That's the big issue isn't it. The reason your vehicle has to follow so many rules is because its a deadly weapon. It weighs 2000-4000 lbs and goes 0-60 in 5-10 seconds.If you mess up you kill people, even in other cars. My bicycle on the otherhand wieghs 15-30 lbs ,goes max of about 20 mph , yet turns and stops on a dime. I am a danger only to myself.

      I just want to point out to all those anti-bicycle people who believe roads ar only for cars. Just wait. The oil crunch is on .the economy is in the gutter.The amount of people commuting on there bikes is already increasing at an incredible rate. Soon you too will be considering a bicycle, when you cant afford the gas for your giant truck that you use for its intended purpous maybe once a year. That's when you will relize you have been a jack@$$ for years and had no idea.

      So I will just keep assuming that every driver on the road doesn't see me and would hit me if they had a chance and you just keep beleiving that your car is the end all be all of modern convenience. With you at its helm the master of your destiny, owner of all that is good. rushing to that very important place that surely could not wait a few seconds more for you to arrive at.

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 9 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Good open letter. I'm not sure it's so much a "group" of people being anti-cyclists as being a sign of the really sad attitude of most people nowadays, the selfish "I'm the center of the universe" types who, god forbid, can't slow down for 5 seconds when driving or doing anything else.

    • chuckngayle profile image

      chuckngayle 9 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks for this Hub. Chuck and I ride for pleasure and love the fresh air and super exercise it provides. We ride to and from the gym 3 times a week and often ride up in the hills near our home here in Vegas and just enjoy the serenity. Our community is for over 55 ages , and we are able to travel on the sidewalks with our bikes. We do that more often than not. When on the road we are over cautious just because of some very inconsiderate drivers. Biking is great even for us older folks.

    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 9 years ago from Washington state

      I had a couple reactions to this hub.

      1) Very well written and states your points clearly. I can understand the obvious negative bias towards drivers, given the danger they put you in daily.

      2) Interesting how what you have to say correlates with most motorcyclists opinions of cagers and the dangers they present.

      3) When I see a biker when I'm in my car, I feel frustrated because (at least in my area) the majority -- not the minority, it's pretty much every biker I see -- are not wearing protective gear (like a helmet or protective pads). They do not use hand signals so that I'm aware of their intentions in traffic. They weave in and out of lanes (while lane splitting is illegal in my state). They run reds lights consistently. I become frustrated because, while they share the road, they rarely obey the laws.

      My frustration when I see a biker on the road has nothing to do with the way you look or what shape you're in. It has to do with the fact that you share the road, but are not bound by the same laws I am. A cop will not write you up a ticket for blowing through a red light, nor will he cite you for not wearing proper gear (unlike me, who recieves an infraction if I don't wear my seatbelt).

      I prefer bike lanes, and support them. Bikers naturally go slower than cars and motorcyclists; there's no way around this. They move faster than walkers and running; no way around this. A bike lane is a smart and economical (as more people will opt for bikes, could they ride safely) choice, and should be added to every road and byway possible. It's the perfect solution.

    • stylezink profile image

      stylezink 9 years ago from Atlanta, GA.

      I agree with the comment made by William. However, in my area of Atlanta we have very many bike lanes and all types of bike tracks. So I don't understand why you want to still ride on the main roads and risk getting hit and all that other stuff you mention. You made a lot of somewhat valid complaints so why do you continue to ride there? People are evil and don't often change especially if they feel like your in their way. I would suggest finding an alternate place to ride your bike.

    • profile image

      Wendy 9 years ago

      This was a great article. So much of this is true. Drivers should be more respectful of bikers and share the road. Unfortunately, this behavior extends also to walkers and runners. As a former runner (and current walker), I experience much of the same awful stuff. I have had cigarette butts and food and trash thrown at me. Cars speed by me really fast, way over the speed limit. The area where I live does not have sidewalks and I must walk on shoulder, facing traffic. Some drivers are considerate, others are very rude and inconsiderate. Many won't even move over a few inches, even if entire road is open. Also, I experience verbal harassment from teens - I also had this as a runner. Our country should be more supportive of people who exercise. This may be one reason why so many people don't exercise. Thanks for the article.

    • budwood profile image

      budwood 9 years ago from Southern Nevada

      As is said, "Power corupts", and people behind the wheel of 200 or 300 hp vehicles do perceive that they have a lot of power.

    • profile image

      JesseJack 9 years ago

      "I'm sorry that I am going 18 mph in a 30 mph zone that you want to go 45 mph in. It's tragic"

      Too funny and too true.

    • profile image

      rino 9 years ago

      I guess drivers will be drivers whereever they are. I have the same experiences as you did here in my country, the Philippines.

    • profile image

      jj 9 years ago

      I see that lots of people here have condemned riders who ride in the middle of the lane, preventing cars from being able to pass. However, that is a legal, and, in some cases, calculated decision. I know that in one instance I was riding with my father and my sister, who is not an experienced cyclist. My sister was ahead of me, but not far enough ahead that a car would have room to drive between us. There was a car coming in the oncoming traffic lane (it was a two-lane road, one lane in each direction) and a car behind us that wanted to pass. However, I did not think that it would have time to pass both me and my sister before the oncoming car arrived, so it would have to pull to the right to avoid the oncoming car, which would mean smashing into my sister. Because I did not want the car to crash into my sister, I took the lane and prevented its passing. The car had to wait behind us at 15 mph for about 15 seconds and then passed, but not without an angry gesture from the driver. Anyway, that's just my two cents.

    • RFox profile image

      RFox 9 years ago

      North Americans need to take lessons from Europeans when it comes to bikes. I loved seeing the thousands upon thousands of bikes lined up ouside Munich train station and all the wonderful bike lanes. I grew up in Australia where they started teaching people decades ago about proper bike safety and sharing of the road, then I moved to Canada and had the misfortune to try riding to and from work in Ontario, back East.

      I had people screaming at me because I was following the rules of the road and the law!

      They kept saying the same things about riding on the sidewalk. It is illegal to ride on a sidewalk people! Bicycles are considered motor traffic and have to abide by the rules of the road just as car drivers do.

      Thank goodness I live out West now in Vancouver, where the city provides bike lanes (with more being built every year) and drivers are more used to seeing people biking to and from work and so are more considerate.

      It's still not perfect but it's a lot better than the ignorance I've experienced in other cities in North America. One of the reasons I love living in the West! :D