The unlimited ways drivers force cyclists off the roads

I am a driver, a transit user and a cycle-commuter. I drive out of necessity (i.e. when I must travel across town to pick up my children). I use transit when I am not required to drive and choose not to cycle. I cycle when I can and feel safe enough to do so. My safety is effected by a large number of factors, including weather, but almost entirely involving drivers. I would have cycle-commuted WITH my children in tow in our bike trailer (and nearly eliminated my need to commute by car), however after limited attempts to do so determined it was far too risky in almost all parts of Halifax.

There are particular parts of the city where it is simply not safe for cyclists because drivers are ignorant to how they effect a cyclist’s safety (and some appear ignorant to the fact that cyclists even exist). For this reason, I “choose” to illegally ride on the sidewalk in short stretches where I feel my life would otherwise be significantly placed at risk. Occasionally, I simply have no choice but to hop onto the sidewalk, rather than be plowed down by a car. Roads are built for transportation, not just for cars, drivers would be a lot less likely to take the lives of other users of transportation if they would remain aware of this fact.

After reading a local journalist’s comment about how cyclists must to choose if they are traffic or pedestrians, I was inspired to come up with a list of some of the (most common) of the unlimited ways drivers force cyclists off the road:

  • hugging the curb (NOT “Sharing the road”)
  • passing stopped/slowed vehicles on the right (including pulling into marked bike lanes) – and I will note MOST drivers do not shoulder check for cyclists prior to doing so
  • driving in bike lanes as if it is an additional lane
  • pulling out of streets/driveways in front of cyclists – drivers often under-estimate (or simply do not care?) how quickly cyclists are approaching
  • turning right alongside of cyclists – again, was there a shoulder check? Did the driver not note the cyclists they passed upon their approach to the turn?
  • making left turns across traffic in front of cyclists – drivers often under-estimate (or simply do not care?) how quickly cyclists are approaching
  • drivers opening doors of parked cars into approaching cyclists

(I welcome additions from other cyclists to this list.)

About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two

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Jamie
13 years ago

Love your list. One thing I put would add is bike seekers for cars who drive like a heat seeking missile. These driver start off at the center yellow then as they approach a bike they heading for the bike. Passing inches from the biker then head back to the yellow line.