Cyclists and Motorists - Can We Get Along?

Andy Y
November 17, 2011

I was driving around the neighborhood surrounding the offices at RepairPal today during lunch and came across a pretty typical scene. As it was a beautiful day, the bikers were out in full force, complete with their spandex team outfits. Road biking is very popular here in the Bay Area, so much so that on any given day, you can come across many groups riding.

Over the past few years this sport has become more mainstream with superstars such as Lance Armstrong spearheading the effort. However, with the ever-increasing price of gasoline, many have also turned to biking as primary or secondary form of transportation. As one can imagine, tensions have existed between motorists and bikers for quite some time, but with the influx of riders now, tensions seem to be reaching an all-time high.

As a motorist, there is one thing about bikers that really gets under my skin—when they act like they rule the road. Just because you are moving by manpower instead of horsepower doesn’t mean the same rules don’t apply. In fact, bicyclists are legally bound to follow the rules of the road, such as stopping at red lights or stop signs.

I’m sure you’ve all seen this happen. A bicyclist will be riding in the middle of the road, oblivious to the world. Then he will rush across the street, forcing you to slam on your brakes. Or, cyclists will form into a massive group, like a pack of wolves, unwilling to let anyone enter into their domain.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have anything against people riding their bikes, and personally have the mindset of “sharing the road.” I am actually a member of the Dope Peddlers Norcal edition and in my experience, I have witnessed the other end of the spectrum, too. I’ve had objects such as beer bottles, food, and cans thrown at me. Motorists will yell out obscenities or insults as they pass me by. One time, some guy drove by and the passenger tried to push me over.

The confrontations between both groups can be quite heated and full of spite and violence. The main problem, I feel, is that both sides don’t have the same mindset of sharing the road. People only focus on their own personal experience instead of looking at it from both perspectives. The bikers are making it impossible for a motorist to pass, while the motorists are oblivious of the bikers’ presence on the road.

As the popularity of this sport continues to increase, I only see this debate of sharing the road becoming more of an issue. Have you ever witnessed or personally experienced a bit of road rage as it relates to this subject?

Andy Y

About the Author

Andy Y is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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By , November 18, 2011
Are cars still powered by horses?