On ‘Drivers Make My Life Hell’

‘Drivers Make My Life Hell’ is a refreshing article on the day-to-day woes of a top level cyclist.

It’s good to hear from a cyclist at the top of their discipline speak their mind. Most commonly, after someone has achieved something great for their support, they usually resort to thanking everyone for all of their support, la-dee-la-dee-da. I’m after an exhaustive list of thanks, Victoria Pendleton, Beijing Olympic gold medalist for the UK, got to a more important issue involving the risks she takes to stay on the road.

The lack of societal support that cyclists receive is astounding. There are, it seems, very few sports that actually receive negative support from uninvolved bystanders. Skateboarding is famously known for its struggle to find a place in society. At least for skateboarders, most cities in the US have built skate parks, which is a huge plus, though not a final solution.

Many US cities, especially Boulder, have gone to great lengths to provide safe routes for cyclists, but only within city limits. Once a cyclist leaves the city, all they have for protection is a 4-inch white line—and this line doesn’t mean much for many motorists.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been riding along and had unprovoked angry honks and unnecessary close calls. Unfortunately for cyclists in Colorado there are vestigial “Single File Law” road signs plastered all over the place. This confuses drivers into thinking that the “Single File Law” applies everywhere. So even if we’re two abreast within the white line, we’ll get occasional hostile honk or heckle.

Speaking of lines, what’s it with drivers thinking that the yellow line is red hot and will melt their tires instantly if they touch it? How many times have you been riding along on a tight road with no foreseeable oncoming traffic and had a motorist give the yellow line more room than you? Or how many of you have been in a long two-abreast group and had some crotchety motorist experience an emotional meltdown trying to squeeze between the yellow line and dozens of cyclists, once again with no oncoming traffic?

The red hot yellow line phenomenon is one I’ll never understand, and I hope that someday motorists will realize that it’s ok to give a cyclist just a little bit of room. Until then I’ll be wearing a “Cycling is not a crime” T-shirt in hopes of gaining some public support.

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