The Arrive Alive website received an email from a motorist who appears to be rather agitated with the behaviour of cyclists on our roads. The subject heading of the email reads “Cyclists are riding as they please and still expect to be respected”.
I would like to share the contents of this message:
“There was an incident this morning when I drove behind two cyclists. The road did not have a yellow line or road reserve on the side. The two cyclists rode in the middle of the lane, keeping up the traffic behind, not paying attention to the vehicles behind or making an effort to give way.
The one person then proceeded to confront me stating that I am a danger on the road and the cause of accidents. He said that he knows his road rules and has the full right to ride in the road. When I told him that he runs the risk of being hit by a car and that he is keeping up the traffic behind, he said that he does not give a f@%k about the people behind him.
It is people like these who will ride where and how they want and then get into an accident with a vehicle, and then cannot understand why the vehicle did not consider them on the road. A point must be made that these cyclists cannot do what they want on the roads. We are all road users and there is a place for everyone to work together. But do not ride two or three abreast in the way of vehicle, because they are putting their own lives at risk. Drivers are not always at fault during accidents between vehicles and cyclists, and the attitude of this person today just proves that cyclists think in that way.”
This blog post is not intended to provide information to our cyclists on how to drive safely. We will do this on the Road Safety Blog. We would however like to provide a brief discussion on the need for safety near cyclists. My late father always warned me to leave a bit of extra space when passing cyclist on the road – not necessarily only for their safety –but also because the person on the bike would most likely not be able to compensate for any damage to your vehicle!
When driving in South African conditions, we need to focus on special circumstances. Our roads are seldom “cycling friendly” – and these cyclist are constantly threatened by the presence of potholes. Motorists simply cannot expect that cyclists ahead of them will continue in a straight line, and we should be prepared for emergencies.
This is however not a one sided problem where the onus is only on the motorist to be alert and vigilant. Cyclists cannot and should not expect that motorists are giving them the “right of way” and are aware of any reasons causing them to suddenly swerve across the road!
Herewith find Bicycling Magazine’s Top 10 Cycle Safe Tips
- A bicycle is classified as a vehicle, so obey all the traffic rules that motorists are expected to obey.
- Make sure motorists can see you at all times.
- Ride predictably and defensively, but not timidly.
- Anticipate by using your eyes, ears and instinct at all times.
- Use hand signals to indicate your intentions to stop or turn.
- Stay calm. Getting irate with other road users can cause you more harm.
- Ride in bunches whenever possible but consider other road users and ride in single file when the road is narrow or has only one lane.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Fit lights on the front and rear when riding in poor light conditions.
- Fit an ID band to your ankle or wrist that contains contact information of your family and your medical aid details.
View the Arrive Alive website for more information on: