View from the cycle lane...
I have to be honest and say that most advanced motorists I know all cycle, and the ones that currently don't have cycled and remember entirely how that felt and what they wanted from other road users – so they tend to give good wide space (1.5 metres plus!) when passing. They hold back until it genuinely is safe to give that wide pass, and pretty much don't crowd or pressure the rider... And you know that's pretty much all most of us really do genuinely want when we are cycling along.
So if there's one thing I'd ask of all motorists that want to consider themselves advanced, it would be go out and ride a bike on the roads (give me a shout if that helps, as I'd be happy to go out with you!).
Bicycle riders just want space, consideration, and patience – and 80% of the drivers out there understand that and give it.
Why do we need or do some of these things we do?
Because all the things that are problems and issues for motorists are for cyclists too...
Potholes and road debris aren't just a danger to our suspension, they are a genuine and real threat to life for bicycle riders, and the camber towards the kerb is where most of these things are. So, if we are riding nearer the kerb than centre of the lane, we are in real danger territory – let alone adding in slippery road markings and dodgy drain covers – so we need to ride further out than you might really think a 'narrow' bikes does. So yes, further from the kerb and more towards the centre of the lane – we aren't doing it to annoy or hinder, but we need plenty of space to manouvere safely and away from the dangers...
‘Wobble room’ my driving instructor called it – bicycle riders are entitled to their ‘wobble room', was the actual phrase used whilst instructing me to slow down and hold back from crowding the rider from behind, and then to go much wider of the rider than I thought I needed for the same reason.
Also, if it’s wet, windy, generally wintery, or you are going over 40mph we do definitely need even more room than we normally do!
The truth is giving that time and space won't hold you up much at all according to all research but for me and those out on bikes, it will make all the difference in the world as it will ensure we make it home safely, and that you do too.
Truthfully no cycle rider (lycra clad or in ordinary clothes like me, sport recreationist, or transport commuter) is looking to hold any driver up because for the most part we are drivers too, and we are just trying to get from point A to B just like you – safely.
So, what if we aren't wearing helmets?
That shouldn't bother you as it doesn't make any difference to you as it's us that might get hurt without one. If we get hit by a car a helmet won't stop us being injured at all – despite how people seem to view it it isn't a magic suit of armour and so at the best it will only mitigate a head injury, we'll still get a concussion at the least.
Also if we aren't wearing hi-vis it shouldn't really matter to an advanced motorist because if you are driving to your best standard and visual limits, you'll spot us and any other hazard out there in time to react correctly, safely and well anyway.
Now to my mind if we don't have lights then yeah, in that case feel free to moan! I sure as heck do, after all they are a legal requirement! Maybe do it gently, as it might just be their battery has died and they didn't realise so perhaps you can nicely, politely and considerately let them know just exactly as you might another driver with broken lights.
The truth is that we all just want to get home safely, soundly, and calmly. So, let's give each other respect and space as we each share the road to get about whilst remembering some are more vulnerable than others and do need just that little more space and time than others.
Freelance Cycle Instructor.
BC & Cycling UK Ride Leader.
Cycling UK Trustee.
Cycling UK Lincs Campaigns Officer, Cycling UK Local Representative & CAN Regional Coordinator for North East, Yorks & East Mids.
British Cycling HSBC Breeze Area Coordinator (Lincolnshire).
Owner of Unicorn Tree Books
36/39 Lincoln Central Market, Sincil Street, Lincoln, LN5 7ET www.facebook.com/UnicornTreeBook