Donations to Discovery

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How Riding a Bicycle can make you a Better Driver

This used to be a Bicycling blog.... Discovering America on 2 Wheels.

A while back  - probably a  year and a half ago - I transitioned it into more of a Lifestyle blog - cause it broadened the range of topics I could talk about.

Doesn't mean I'm not still cycling because I am.... In fact, my main mode of transportation in Santa Fe is my Trek 3700, even though I have my car up here now.

Having both modes of transportation available and using both forms of transportation got me to thinking....

Is there any  transferable knowledge between riding a bicycle and driving a car?

And the answer IMHO is a resounding YES!

When you ride a bicycle as a commuter, you become a moving vehicle in the eyes of the law and hopefully in the eyes of your fellow motorists.

At least in most states, you do, except for my old stomping grounds on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

There they think you are just a menace to be sideswiped or just plain run over!  Seriously, the worst place to ride a bicycle is in the Deep South.... The percentage of Asshole Rednecks in Big Trucks that literally try to kill you is way too high for my blood.

That's one of the reasons I'm in Santa Fe NM.

Designated Bicycle lanes, Bicycle Paths which traverse the City, Bicycle Signs mixed in with the normal motorist signs and a pretty high per capita bicycling public makes this a much more Bicycle Friendly place.

One of the things I am pretty careful about is making sure I exemplify the status of being a Moving Vehicle when I am on the roads with other vehicular traffic.  That means obeying all the traffic laws.  Stopping, signaling, yielding, etc.

And people in cars appreciate that.... probably one of the reasons I've been riding a bicycle up here for nearly 6 months and have yet to have a negative interaction with a motorist.

But here's one for you getting back to the topic of this post.....

How can riding a Bicycle make  you a Better Driver?

I'll just throw a few observations out to you and see what you think.

For one thing, when I'm on a bicycle, I am continuously rubbernecking.... and I'm especially keeping an eye on where the cars are behind me and where I am in the lane and I'm a lot better on a bike at staying in the correct lane or being in the correct lane for turning or approaching an intersection.

The other thing I've noticed is that I am much more attuned to the road surfaces when I'm riding a bike.... cracks, potholes, obstructions in the road.... because it doesn't take much to put man on pavement when riding a bike....and this carries over to driving.  I look further forward in distance (same in time) to anticipate getting around or straddling problems in the road so they don't affect the steering of the car.

I signal better and further in advance in my car after riding my bicycle.

I make it a point to turn my head and look in the direction and look into the eyes of drivers at intersections or in accompanying lanes when I'm riding a bicycle.... that's also a good thing while driving.

I thank people with facial or hand gestures when riding my bicycle - like when they let me go first at an intersection or allow me room when making a turn.  Same thing in a car.... Common Courtesy is not so Common while driving and I try to wave and smile or give them the "OK" sign in my car.

I don't know.... it's like anything else.... you come across as an aggressive asshole.... and people will treat you like one.... no matter what mode of transportation you're using.

But you keep your head up, put a smile on your face and act responsibly and Presto....

You're treated like any other moving vehicle.

Which is all you can expect when riding a bicycle.

No comments:

Post a Comment