Let’s Have a Civil Discussion

I was out riding with my family this weekend, on a road riding towards the EBBP.  At one point, we needed to pull out into the lane because cars were parked in the break down lane.  I ride tail when the family is on the road and dutifully took the lane, to ensure motorists passed my kids with a reasonable amount of space.  I got “that feeling”.  As we pulled back in. were were yelled at, by some kind motorist in a pickup truck, to ride on the sidewalk or the bike path.  We probably slowed him down for a total of 10 – 15 seconds, but his reaction to our inconveniencing him was enough to have my son ask whether or not we had done something wrong.

So, to all you motorists out there who are annoyed by cyclists on the road, I’d encourage you to come to one of our meetings.  We are more than happy to talk about how we can better share the limited road resources, but yelling at people out your window as you pass by is not the way to go about having this discussion.  We are also more than welcome to share with you the laws governing cyclist’s rights to ride on the roads and have a discussion of what rules cyclists need to be following.  Whenever possible, RIBike is trying to do our part to educate cyclists about the rules, I’d like to ask whether motoring advocates are doing the same when it comes to their interaction with cyclists and pedestrians.

It’s one thing for me to blow off the overreaction of a slightly inconvenienced motorist, but something entirely different when it affects a child who is just learning his responsibilities when sharing a roadway.  Before you decide to shout at other road users, please do your homework and make sure you have your facts right and actually understand the laws governing the operation of your vehicle!

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5 comments on “Let’s Have a Civil Discussion

  1. Labann says:

    Well said. Isn't this why they invented hand grenades? You know, the very FIRST traffic accident in America occurred in New York City at the first installed red light between a bicyclist and a motorist. It's been downhill since. Your incident explains why some motorists don't belong on roads. Revenue rules, so everyone gets a driver's license whether they deserve one or not. Driving is too complex for yahoos to master. Screaming at cyclists for their presence should be considered a hate crime.

  2. Mattyciii says:

    I rarely drive anymore but when I do, I drive below the speed limit. I stop for all crossing pedestrians and I slow or stop for yellow lights.

    People need to learn to slow down, and those unlucky enough to get behind me get a ferr lesson.

    I notice that a lot of people simply do not want to pass. On straight sections of four lane road (Warwick Ave, Allen's ave) people follow me for miles when the left lane is open. And I'm going really slow.

    On my bicycle I even once pulled into the left lane to let some honking motorist pass me on the right. Guess what? He did.

  3. I notice that a lot of people simply do not want to pass. On straight sections of four lane road (Warwick Ave, Allen’s ave) people follow me for miles when the left lane is open.

    I've experienced the same. What really boggles my mind is some people who obviously want to pass, but frequently won't when it's safe. Then they obviously get tired of waiting and make a move when it's no longer safe to pass, say going around a blind corner. I've seen it many times and I just can't figure out why such people would do this.

  4. Labann says:

    There is an interestingly civil discussion about such stuff at this link to the "New York Times"…
    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/afte
    I suggest you carefully consider Joe's comment (scroll to the bottom) of May 11th, 2010, which delineates why routinely stopping for traffic controls is inimical to cycling. You can't even cross some intersections in the time alloted. Don't imagine any motorists have yet to accept your invitation, nor will they.

  5. Labann says:

    So much for misconceptions. For a few years China was racing into automobiles while bike sales plummeted. No more. Chinese have quadrupled purchases since rediscovering the efficacy of cycling for health and transportation versus motoring expense, gridlock and smog.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/10/04/14

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