Perspectives on Sharing the Road: Take 1
It’s difficult sharing the road! Many drivers don’t know what the rules are and many cyclists don’t either. Even when rules are known, they are often not followed. Most of us know more than a few drivers upset by how cyclists ride and cyclists upset by how drivers drive. And some of you have perhaps felt frustration sitting in both seats!
Welcome to our first post in our series on sharing the road. We hope it will help drivers AND cyclists appreciate each other’s vantage points when we use transportation infrastructure together. Our posts will alternate between cyclist and motorist points of view. Sharing the road, after all, goes both ways.
Let’s start the series off looking at a common issue faced by motorists…
“Grrrr… that cyclist just swerved into my lane! What the HECK! Get off the road if you can’t ride a bike!”
Why do cyclists swerve? Why do they move into the roadway where the cars are? Typically, it is because there is a hazard. These pictures taken on Falls Road show a grate next to a manhole cover both in the lane that a driver might expect a cyclist to stay within. The pictures are very good, but the indentations are even greater than they look. A cyclist sees a hazard and has to quickly maneuver around it. But a driver might not see the hazard at all!
Drivers: be aware, especially around cyclists, of the shoulder conditions.
Cyclists: use a rearview mirror and be aware of traffic.
Other things that cause a cyclist to move left:
- Thick sand/gravel built up at the end of a driveway
- A branch protruding into the road
- Washed out road edges
- Passing a slower cyclist
And just as importantly:
- Walkers/runners/horseback riders in the shoulder or bike lane – cyclists are expected to move left toward the yellow/white line in the middle of the road to give the on-comer (who will be traveling against traffic) complete control over the side of the road.
- Cyclist turning left at an intersection – in this situation, cyclists need to command the road. They should position themselves just like a car, and act just like a car. They should be in the middle of the lane, they should signal, wait their turn and then, when it is their turn, proceed through the intersection. When clear of the intersection, they should move back over as far to the right as conditions allow.
We’re sure, if you’re a cyclist, you can think of more situations. We’re sure, if you’re a motorist, you’re thinking…”what about when cyclists ride two abreast, or just take up the middle….” Don’t worry, we’ll get to those concerns in a later post.
This series is the work of the Friends of Shelburne Paths. Please share your comments, experiences or sharing the road questions. Thanks!