How Not to Kill A Cyclist



How Not to Kill A Cyclist

Barb, over on the Bike to Brown list, pointed everyone at a short, but to the point, article geared towards motorists on How Not to Kill a Cyclist.  There is nothing Earth shattering here for those of us who bicycle, but I’d encourage each and every one of you to help spread the word.  Pass a link to this article to your motoring friends… who knows, you might just get them thinking about how they drive.

Of particular interest was a great pdf they linked to, apparently published by bicycling magazine back in 2010 titled How to Drive Around Cyclists.  It’s a great one page discussion of common situations motorists will encounter when interacting with cyclists and how to deal with them.  Again, pass this around to your motoring friends.


  • jack
    May 23, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Initially I was put off by the title of the article (more hyperbole on the cyclist v. driver battlefront) and the photos of the guy with the messed up face (who apparently crashed his bike). The article as it turns out is very insightful and the photos of the guy are never described and seem unrelated. Just modern internet journalism tactics to stir it up and get clicks. So in case you are a driver trying to figure out cyclists in the road, or a skeptical cyclist who hasn’t yet found your flow its a good article.

  • Labann
    May 28, 2012 at 9:53 am

    In the Providence Pamphlet a week ago today (May 21, 2012), Leon Urban's letter to the editor lashes out against Bari George, Ride of Silence, and right to ride in streets. "'Wear of helmet, protect your brain'?" "What brain?" Urban gets all the horrible statistics correct, but totally blows conclusion. Choosing bikes over cars increases transportation survivability by a factor of 20. And bikes aren't competing with cars on limited access highways, so speeds become comparable (and both in same direction) in 25 mph zones.

    Actually, mixed driving only averages 25 mph anyway. I can do a 50 mile roundtrip commute in 180 minutes flat by bike; to drive takes 80 minutes at least to 160 minutes depending upon gridlock, much of which would disappear if more chose to bike instead. So back off, Urban. Cyclists aren't a problem or in your way.

    Broken collarbones, bumps, and scrapes, all you're likely to get cycling, heal. Teens behind wheel surely do face a huge obstacle to becoming adults, as do adults surviving past middle age without routine exercise that cycling for transportation represents.

    • Matt Moritz
      May 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks for pointing out this Letter to the Editor. I don’t regularly read ProJo. I am cheered to see that the article has drawn several pro-bicycle comments, in contrast to most such articles.

      For those that wish to read it, you can get it here.

  • Labann
    Jun 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Thursday's ProJo prominently featured another Pamela Reinsel Cotter article "Motorists and Bicyclists: Live and Let live". What a drama queen. Quotes Bari George saying, "'Dooring' may be the most common car-bike accident. It's terrible and avoidable."

    I don't know who certified George as a cycling expert, but that's a lot of malarkey. All statistics I've read over decades say it's parking lot fly-out (T intersections) and overtaking. Hooking is pretty bad, too; it's when a motorist turns right, usually without signaling, forcing cyclist into curb or worse. I've never heard of a serious case of dooring in Rhode Island; wary cyclists take lane well clear and watch heads of drivers while passing parked cars. Cyclists are fully entitled under law to use all or part of the travel lane at their discretion as long as they don't overly impede trailing motor traffic at prevailing speed limit. Cyclists don't average much over 15 mph anyway, so can avoid if under control.

    And this whole campaign seems more designed to frighten would be cyclists than help them. Pressure ought to be put upon city and state officials for ignoring cycling in infrastructure, and law enforcers for not revoking and suspending licenses of cycle buzzers, 'doorers', illegal parkers, and those ignorant illiterates who think bike lanes are for passing stopped traffic ahead and shouldn't be allowed to pilot a deadly weapon. Half of those driving with RI licenses wouldn't pass a license test in neighboring states. They're way too eager to issue them for revenue sake.

    I do a 45 mile commute by bike without any such difficulties. Roads between cities are practically empty most of the time. Cyclist and motorist encounter one another infrequently and almost always react gracefully in these 2 second greetings. If anything, it's tradesmen in trucks who are most likely to buzz you in a hostile rush to next appointment; there's plenty of space in a lane for both a cyclist and subcompact except in cities, like Newport, Providence, and sections of Warwick.

    • MattMoritz
      Jun 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Perhaps dated, but for the 17% of all bicycle crashes involving a motor vehicle, 48% are considered the fault of the cyclist. For the 52% where the motorized vehicle operator is at fault:
      13% are Left Hook (turning across path of oncoming bicycle)
      11% are Right Hook (overtake and turn right in front of bicycle traveling same direction)
      8% Running a stop sign or signal
      7% Dooring
      6% Failure to yield when entering from driveway.

      I can't find the article online at the ProJo's site to submit a comment correcting the stats. Do you have a link?
      3% "Sorry Mate, I didn't see you"
      This comes from the LAB SmartCycling instruction manual and is based on a few different studies, that may be out of date, but certainly bear out your point that Dooring is not the most common bicycle/motor vehicle crash.

  • MattMoritz
    Jun 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I would add another "general driving" comment: Quit edging into the intersection and starting to make a left turn before entering the intersection, effectively blocking other traffic from making a past them. Had a shouting match with someone who did both at the same time as I was making a left turn on a through street (e.g.: Had the right of way) with someone entering from the side street.