Driving Near Bikes

I don’t know what it is about cars when they’re around bikes, but drivers seem to behave irrationally.  And it’s even worse when the weather is bad.  My wife and I had that experience on yesterday morning’s ride.

It looked like it might rain, so we opted to just head over to the Veloway and do a few laps.  I was planning to meet up with a friend, John T, so Pat started her lap before me. John T and I got caught in the rain on our third lap, and we took cover under a shelter at the Veloway entrance.  I figured Pat would have finished her one lap and headed home, so should be safe and dry by that time.

When the rain eased up, I said my goodbyes to John T and headed home myself.  On the way, the road leads up to a large supermarket.  I was in the marked bike lane, following another biker.  Two cars pulled even with us.  It was obvious they were going to turn into the supermarket parking lot.  When the first one turned his wheels, the biker ahead of me pulled into the lot — doing a slick emergency right turn.

Instead of waiting for me to pass him so he could turn into the lot also, the second car turned right in front of me.  Now I had to do the emergency right turn.

On a dry day, cars always wait for cyclists to pass before turning into the lot.  They might be impatient about it, but they’re good about waiting the three or four seconds it takes us to pass them.  In the rain, you’d think they would be more careful, knowing that the wet conditions could cause trouble for bikes, and even cars, if they don’t watch out.

When I got home, I told Pat about being cut off.  “That’s funny,” she said.  “That happened to me, too.”

She was getting into a left-turn lane behind two cars at a stoplight.  She heard a third car, but instead of settling in behind Pat, the third car squeezed around her, then cut in front of her in the turn lane.

Geez Louise, wait a cotton-pickin’ second, will ya?  For it’s just a matter of a few seconds we’re talking about here — how long it would take me to pass a car before it turns into the parking lot.  How long it would take Pat to complete her left turn from the turn lane, and then allow the driver behind her to pass.  Three seconds?  Maybe five?  Not a major chunk of your day, pal.

The League of Illinois Bicyclists decided to tackle the problem head-on.  They made a video aimed at drivers — telling them what to watch for when driving near bikes.  Good stuff.

I only hope it gets some distribution so more than bicycle league members will see it.

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5 thoughts on “Driving Near Bikes

  1. Am I the only one who experienced lousy video quality on that link? I really wanted to view it.

    Also, as a driver I am amazed at what other motorists will avoid in order to even take their foot off the gas for 3 seconds.

  2. No, it’s not the best quality video. Whenever you come across embedded YouTube videos, you can click on them while they’re playing, and be taken to the YouTube page on which that video appears. There, you can make it larger, if you wish. The video has been online for two and a half years, so they didn’t have the option then to put up high-def video.

    • I’m viewing it now on a different machine and it’s much better. I had problems with large sections of the video completely green or blurred out. All better now.

      I had no idea that some places had special provisions for kids to ride on sidewalks. Interesting.

      I’ve also heard the argument that it’s safer to ride facing traffic. I never bought that one – not as a driver or cyclist. Good video.

  3. Good video, Ray. I’ll probably share it in one of my upcoming posts since it relates to my post the other day about tips for drivers. Surprising how idiotic and rude some drivers can be. Glad to hear y’all are safe.

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