If you’re a car driver, the chances are at some point in your life you will have encountered a problematic cyclist kitted out in lycra, polarised glasses strapped on, calves bulging, cycling in the centre of the road. It is impossible for you to safely pass hindering your journey and making your frustration levels rise. It would be easy for the cyclist to shift to the left and let you pass but for some reason, they won’t relent. What’s going on? Are all cyclists inherently awkward? Of course, the answer is no. Just like certain car drivers, all manner of people utilise the roads to get from A to B, and some are more considerate than others. How can we begin to patch up the relationship between cyclist and car driver or is it too late?
A Little Understanding Goes A Long Way
As with any relationship, its success is built upon a foundation of compromise. Drivers always assume that cyclists believe that the laws of the road don’t apply to them, that they will always run a red light and filter through traffic in the most dangerous and ill informed way. This is not always the case. In fact, most cyclists are fine law abiding users of our road systems. Often it is the assumption that car drivers have that is the most dangerous thing.
Cyclists are allowed to use the roads, and it is up to car drivers to accommodate them. By squeezing them too tightly and not giving them space, it will be the car driver’s fault should a collision occur and they end up requiring auto accident chiropractic care to treat their self-inflicted neck soreness and whiplash. It will also be up to the driver to provide for the cyclist’s care who will inevitably come off worse.
Drivers believe cyclists want the roads for themselves and cyclists believe that car drivers want them to be banned from the roads. This stalemate of opinions is preventing any meaningful healing in an already fraught relationship. Cyclists will often be car owners themselves and choose to cycle as a pastime or a way of commuting and keeping healthy. You never know how many drivers you pass every day that spend their weekend road cycling.
If cyclists and drivers learned to share the road and have mutual respect for one another, this would go a long way to saving the relationship. Perhaps we need to consider education in schools and start road safety early to educate children on the importance of courtesy and respect to all road users whether they are cyclists, pedestrians, car or lorry drivers. The road network is a glorious feat of human ingenuity, and everyone has a right to use it. Over time, this renewed effort to educate the youth of today on the importance of sharing the road will filter through, so we have a newfound respectful relationship between driver and cyclist.
Both driving and cycling have an equal right to the roads. There will be drivers who lack the skills to drive sensibly, don’t ever check their blind spots and will cause collisions. At the same time, there will be cyclists who refuse to give way to cars when they should and who’ll go out of their way to irritate other road users. When we banish the stereotypes, we will be able to make progress.