The relationship between bicyclists and drivers has not always been as good as it could be. The two sides often do not really see eye-to-eye. Drivers think it's frustrating and annoying when slower bicyclists hold up traffic or take up part of the lane, while cyclists think that aggressive and careless drivers put everyone at risk.
That's part of the reason you see media campaigns about sharing the road. It may feel like common sense to you as a cyclist, but there really is a disconnect here. A lot of work has to be done before both groups can actually share the road safely and responsibly.
To illustrate part of the problem, let's look at a few key statistics from one survey.
The survey in question talked to around 2,000 different drivers. Here are some of the main points:
- When asked if they felt angst or discomfort when driving past bicyclists, a full 49 percent of drivers said that they did. This could mean passing the cyclists, sharing the lane, riding behind them or even just waiting for them to cross the street at an intersection. Drivers tend to feel nervous and uncomfortable. They're much more used to dealing with other cars, rather than bikes.
- When asked if they ever felt road rage around bicycles, about 18 percent admitted that they did. That could make them act more aggressively than they would have otherwise. For instance, a driver who had to slow down before overtaking a cyclist may then get frustrated and angry before flooring it to drive too close to the bike, running the cyclist off of the road.
- When asked if they had proper training to share the road with bicyclists, about 33 percent of the people in the survey admitted that they did not. They said that this was a major reason that they had the negative attitude that they did about driving near bikes, whether that means feeling uncomfortable or angry about the situation.
That last section is very telling. Drivers get a lot of education about how to drive around other cars, but they may not get nearly as much information about bicyclists. They naturally do not get as much practice around them based on sheer numbers. How many accidents or acts of aggression happen because drivers actually have no idea what rights bicycle riders have or how they're supposed to use the road?
Accidents and compensation
Have you gotten into an accident with a car while riding your bike? If you're facing high medical bills and other costs, you may be able to obtain financial compensation. Speak with an attorney to learn about your legal options.