Cyclists Vs Drivers
We’ve all found ourselves stuck behind a cyclist, feeling the road rage mount. And it’s always worse in the spring and summer when the cycling season really kicks in. Even if we’re not in a hurry, having to sit behind a slow moving vehicle is really frustrating – because roads were built for cars, right? Wrong. The first road network was paid for by cyclists organisations back in the 1880s, so car drivers have a lot to thank cyclists for.
But what about those cyclists who jump red lights? And don’t pay road tax? In fact it’s only 12 % of cyclists that jump red lights but it’s the perceived injustice drivers don’t like – we can’t do that! – and it makes us angry, even though nearly 70% of drivers admit to breaking the law. As for ‘road tax’, it doesn’t exist. Roads are paid for through general taxation which everyone pays, including cyclists – many of whom also own cars.
Sharing the road
At the end of the day cyclists and drivers are both road users, but a lycra clad cyclist is far more vulnerable than a driver in a car. At the Retro School of Driving we believe the mark of a really good driver is to give consideration to everyone else on the road and that your driving skills should include cyclist awareness.
After all, if you crash your car you can claim on the insurance, but if you hit a cyclist – someone’s mum or dad, sister or brother, son or daughter – you may be on your way to prison and they’ll be going to hospital, or much worse. That’s why we’re launching our Cyclist Friendly Driver campaign, so you we can equip you with the driving skills you need to become a cyclist friendly driver.
Use Rule 163
Cyclists never ride in a straight line. Instead they make constant readjustments for balance and the road surface. You always need to give cyclists more space than you think. Check rule 163 in the Highway Code and you’ll see that, when you’re overtaking a cyclist, you need to treat them exactly as if you’re overtaking another car. And you wouldn’t overtake another driver by just inches, would you?
Expect the unexpected
Yes, cyclists can seem to appear out of nowhere – which means you’ll need to make sure your mirrors are precisely adjusted before your driving lessons. You’ll be using them to check for cyclists, whether that’s at a junction or when you’re about to open the car door. A good trick is to open the passenger door with your right hand and the driver door with your left as this disrupts your routine and reminds you to check your mirrors before opening the door.
Don’t hate, hesitate
Road rage is a powerful emotion that can cause us to make some bad decisions. If you’re not sure what that cyclist intends to do, then wait. Don’t race them to a left turn, or try to pull ahead when the road narrows just because you’re being held up for a few minutes. Ask yourself: ‘in 5 years time will this really matter?’ If it won’t, then dial down the negativity and wait until you can pass safely or the cyclist has made their manoeuvre.
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
Or in this case cycle. To really understand what cyclists face on the road, then hop on a bike and take a ride through town. You’ll experience what life’s like on the other side of the driver vs cyclist divide, and you’ll emerge as a safe driver who respects other road users.
If you’re interested in showing cyclists that you think they’re normal human beings and not an alien species, then contact us today to book a lesson and receive your free Cyclist Friendly Driver bumper sticker.