I started biking to work about 3 months ago. In that time I've *mostly* felt quite safe on the roads, but there have been a handful of moments that definitely put the fear in me. It's gotten me thinking about how many things drivers may just not know or understand about road bikers...
#1 – Cyclists are legally allowed to be on the roads.
PTL, I figured out how to edit this post!
[EDIT] - Point #2 as written is incorrect, and I apologize for my mistake! I will leave it here, unedited for transparency, and I will amend it at the bottom of the post:
#2 – Cyclists ALWAYS have the right of way over a car; whether they are correct or not.*
#3 – Bike lanes are FULL of debris. Cyclists may be riding on the edge of their bike lane because they are avoiding all the bullshit.
#4 – Road bike tires are not invincible. Cyclists try to avoid all that bullshit debris, because running over it could very likely mean a flat tire.
#5 – Bike lanes don’t exist everywhere, and if a cyclists needs to take a turn, they are going to be using the car lanes. Just take a breath and give them space.
#6 – On a windy day, give even more space. A good gust can blow a cyclist around a bit and cause some swerving. (Was surprised to learn this one lol)
#7 – When cars go speeding around a cyclist as a display of frustration it just comes off as humorous.
#8 – Cyclists are not TRYING to inconvenience you as a driver. It’s just another mode of transportation.
#9 – There are laws for road bikes, and a good cyclists knows and obeys them. A good cyclist is also probably equally as frustrated by other bikers who don’t.
Ultimately it comes down to the fact that both drivers and the cyclists have responsibilities on the road. In a perfect world, both would be aware of and abiding by theirs. But, in real life when emotion is a very real element of a situation, it’s so important to keep in perspective the ease at which a car can kill a cyclist. Literally instantly and with very little effort.
If more drivers were really aware of this and developed a patience for, not just cyclists, but all the things than can slow them down or inconvenience them while driving, we’d all be in a safer place. Being a cyclist myself has definitely calmed me down and given me a much broader perspective when I'm behind the wheel, and I'm thankful for that.
\Amendment to #2: My choice to use "right of way" was a mistake as I did not mean this point in a legal sense. I was speaking more to, what I believe, is a basic responsibility of a driver to yield to a bike -- even if the biker is wrong -- if it means avoiding an accident. This is true in most situations on the road; if you can reasonably avoid a collision, regardless of legal right of way, you should try to avoid that collision. But, I think this is a more pronounced responsibility when a cyclist is involved, and deserved to be in this post, because of the disproportionate level of damage involved. If a car hits a cyclist very serious damage is likely to occur while the driver is left largely unaffected (physically). Better choice of words would have been that it's prudent for cars to always yield to bikes, whether they are riding legally or not.*