Friday, August 29, 2008

Claim the lane?

I like to ride my bicycle. As much as possible, I ride on greenways. But, on occasion, I am forced to ride on the road.

Let me preface this by saying - when I do ride on the road, I am a very cautious cyclist. I do not ride on roads with heavy traffic or high speeds. I obey all the traffic laws - stopping at lights, etc. I ride with the flow of traffic and do my best to go as fast as possible. If I can ride on the shoulder, I will. If I am holding up traffic, I will pull off just as soon as I can.

Some roads don't have shoulders. Sometimes the shoulder is covered in sand or loose gravel or broken glass. A road bike has very thin tires and they don't ride well through sand and gravel. Broken glass can lead to tire repair!

I have found that many drivers do not like the fact that I am on the road at all. And, yes, I know there are a lot of irresponsible cyclists out there. They piss me off too. Probably even more than most because I ride and they make all cyclists look bad. But back to the question...

If I ride hugging the edge of the road, cars will pass - coming within inches of clipping me with their mirror. They will even pass with oncoming traffic.

If I 'claim the lane' (by riding where the right-side tire would be), many motorists will honk, rev their engines, shout, and sometimes even throw things to try to get me out of their way.

So, how should I ride?? I don't want this to happen.

PS - Thanks to all those considerate drivers out there! You know who you are. You wait to make your left turn while I go through the intersection. You stop to wait for traffic behind the sidewalk, leaving me room to navigate by. Thanks!


Big Hair Envy said...

Be careful out there Lori! I watch people "gang up" on cyclists on a regular basis. I hope your post will make people more aware of cyclist's rights. When I was 16, I had to go before the judge to get the second part of my driver's license. He told all of us that we were to SHARE THE ROAD and be careful around people on bikes. I guess some people just don't remember that part :(

Desert Survivor said...

You are right on--Share the road! And wouldn't it be nice if they engineered more roads with cyclists in mind, especially considering our crowded roads and higher gas prices!

Holy Crappers said...

Come move here. Philly has bike lanes


Pleasing Procrasinator said...

I will admit there are a few cyclist I would like to do that to. These are usually the kids on their BMX bikes that swerve all over the road, scaring the poo out of me.
I try to be very aware of the cyclist on the road. I always worry they will hit a rock or something that will turn them in front of me so I keep my distance and slow down.

Monkey Toe Momma said...

Cyclist scare me - I always give them room or try to go around when it's safe. I can't believe that people are so inconsiderate.
Be careful!