The sound of a car door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked. ~Amy Webster
Dear Other Road Users
I am a cyclist and I am also a car driver. Being both changes how I cycle, and how I drive. If you get frustrated with me whilst I am on my bike please put yourself in my shoes. I ride my bike because I enjoy it, however I am incredibly physically very venerable. If we collide, no matter who is at fault, I will come off worse. If we do collide it is polite to stop and check that I am OK.
Our perspectives on the road are very different. You may see a “usable” cycle path but what I see on my bike is pot holes, gravel, glass, uneven road surfaces, drain covers, side roads, tree roots, pedestrians, ice, puddles. I do try and use them wherever possible but it isn’t always safe. Please look out for me on my bike, as well as other larger road users. I come off the bike as a result of a car turning right straight across my path, luckily on this occasion I was a bit dazed and some road rash.
If you posses a horn and you think that I have done something wrong I ask you not to honk me. It scares me sh*tless and accomplishes very little. If your actions cause me to break suddenly whilst I am driving I can quickly put my foot on the brake. I will come to an abrupt stop. On my bike, the road (grit, oil etc) and weather conditions affect how quickly I can safely brake. If I brake too suddenly I could end up going over my handlebars and hitting the deck.
I’ll admit to the fact that I have been through red traffic lights, whilst on the bike and whilst driving, however in both instances it is definately the exception rather than the rule. Yes, stopping at traffic lights is a frustrating experience whilst driving or cycling, but it is illegal to go through them. I will go through red lights on my bike if I feel that I can’t stop safely. Please, I may be small but give me some room, following a set of traffic lights turning green I have been hit on the shoulder by a van’s wing mirror.
I try not to be a Ninja cyclist – I have front and back lights that work. There has been the odd occasion I have got to my destination and realised that I have simply forgotten to turn my back light on or the battery has run flat. Who hasn’t forgotten to do something once in a while?
One inconsiderate cyclist can give all cyclists a bad name, just like one inconsiderate driver can give all drivers a bad name. Please just be considerate and maybe try changing your prospective by getting on a bike once in a while.