What drivers wish cyclists knew, 12 March 2023
I drive, and ride more than I drive. I know what can go wrong.
Here’s a list of what drivers wish cyclists knew, plus a few comments from pedestrians
I can’t see you
I’ve been hit by a car twice. Both times, I was simply not seen in the traffic. One vehicle (more below) stopped at an intersection, and looked, and missed seeing me. We need to be as visible as possible.
I’m not too far off 70, which means my visual acuity is declining. When you wear black, especially at night or on dull days, it takes me a whole lot longer to see you. I write that as someone who is very attuned to keeping an eye out for bikes. I’m not sure what the thing is about black. Maybe people think it makes them look tough. I get that black knicks don’t show grease, but black jerseys and jackets magnify our risk of being hit. Wear something bright... Read on >>>>
In the years I’ve been riding a bike, driver awareness has improved enormously. Most car drivers show a level of awareness and courtesy towards cyclists that was often unimaginable. That said, there are drivers, and cyclists, who are simply arseholes, and who are dangerous to all other road users. The trouble with an article called what I wish drivers knew about bikes is that it can be a long whinge about these dangerous people. That’s not what I’m about here. I’m writing to drivers who’d like to be better, and to drivers who are puzzled or even annoyed about the behaviour of cyclists. Sometimes, looking at a situation from the perspective of the rider can help those of us who drive understand things a little better. Here’s a list:
Why did that cyclist scream at/abuse me?
I hope you’ve never had this happen to you, but imagine someone going for you with a knife or pointing a gun at you.... Read on >>>>
There’s a great ride just waiting for me out near Sedan. Quite beautiful, but not what you want to take your good car over, according to my colleague Jill. And also not 200km to take on a high fire danger day with a forecast that's in the 40’s and windy. So, what to do if it’s ride day?
I decided on a day on the bike paths that criss-cross Adelaide. The fire danger is way lower, the traffic is nil, and there is a surprising amount of shade. We live about 3 minutes from the Linear Park, which is itself a 70km loop from beach to foothills along the River Torrens, so I began with the ten kilometres up to the Gorge. We are on what I will call the North Adelaide side of the Torrens, and I took that up to the top end... Read on >>>>
I took the bike paths to Nuriootpa which meant only 11km out of 80 was spent on roads.'ll just park out the front! (West Avenue bike path at Edinburgh)
Then I took the quiet route to Kapunda, guessing that after Kapunda there would be light traffic on the Thiele Highway to Eudunda, which was the case. From Eudunda I took the Julia Road out to Scenic Drive, which offers a spectacular viewing of the kind of country in which I grew up... Read on >>>>
It was windy this morning; choppy, buffeting, and cold. Both of us have bad memories of wind. I once spent a week on the remote Barkly Tablelands riding into howling wind. On one of those days I was moving for 10 hours and covered only 70 kilometres. A couple of weeks later I wrote of another day's ride, "But today, going past the big gums in the wind raised deep non-rational discomfort in me; I was afraid. This was safe ride, well within my capabilities, with a motel at the end, and lots of farm houses on the way. But in the growing cloud over the range -- at 12:30 it was darker and it is now at 5:30-- and at other times, I had to fight off moments of panic. If a week of headwinds can do that to me, no wonder months or years in a war zone, or refugee camp, or violent marriage can cause triggers that make people meltdown. It was a sobering experience. I knew exactly what was going on... and that knowledge made no difference at all!" ... Read on >>>>
I began this ride with the hope of completing a 1200 Audax in 100 hours or so. This is a little outside the standard 90 hours, but I'm getting old. And it's mid-winter. I met my first day target, but the cold clearly took its toll, and I needed to amend my plans.
Tuesday was a day of mild winds. I left at 7am and took a slow climb up Norton Summit and across to Summertown, where it was still only 2 degrees at 9am. Cold was no problem due to the constant climb, but I soon added a padded jacket for the easier ride out to Dawsley and then downhill out of the range! I topped up my water and filled a 1 litre reserve bottle at Balhanna OTR and enjoyed a second-breakfast pastie at Kanmantoo. An old bloke whose car had passed me earlier, and was also having breakfast there said I had reminded him of Aesop's Hare and Tortoise by catching him up... Read on >>>>
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