February 28, 2012

Interacting with Cars

In my post about the bus driver who maliciously hit a bicyclists, commenter TomatoPie left this:
"I can't believe a bus driver would do that. I'm amazed at how many bicycles are seen in the video as well, it's not like this area of the city never sees bikers.

This makes me question, what should a biker do when they encounter a motorist who is unfriendly or even threatening? Perhaps the driver doesn't know they need to give a biker more room when passing, but there is no way to communicate that to them. 

When someone honks (especially a crazy long honk) i feel helpless because I want to respond but I can't for fear that they may push me off the road too. There is also not enough time in the seconds a car passes to respond verbally. I can only think of one hand signal I want to give to that driver and it may cause them to push me off the road. How should a biker communicate with unfriendly drivers?

Of if the answer is we can't communicate with them in the moment, how can unfriendly drivers be shown their actions are unacceptable? Or shown which actions are acceptable?"
This is quite a dilemma. If you are too vocal, you may be flirting with road rage like the bus driver. If you're not vocal enough the person will never learn. I guess I err on the side of caution and never communicate with drivers. I feel that the best way forward is just to keep biking consistently and that more and more bicyclists will join me. At some point there should be enough bicyclist that better education will be taught and there's potential for better laws and enforcement.

I also should note that some people are more vocal than me, but some bicyclists decide to try to talk to motorists at stop lights. Most people are pretty reasonable and I think most people would be surprised to hear that they were too close to a bicyclist. Talking is probably the best active form of communication a bicyclist can take.

Cool kid-in-a-plastic-ball-in-a-pool link of the day:

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