5 Ways to Keep Drivers from Ruining Your Bike Ride

 

Image from here.

You know she is so right!

This would have happened to you once or a couple of times before on a bicycle ride that you joined: you were happy because you were in your element and just as you were starting to enjoy, here comes a car behind you, overtakes and then stops right before you, without even having the courtesy to signal or slow down. And then you think you’re bike ride is now ruined.  For some bicyclist, there is only one reaction: rage and then some unprintable words to show the driver how much you hate his guts for doing what he did. You hate the driver as much as you hate yourself for allowing the situation to escalate. This and some other similar scenarios are common among frequent or daily bike to work people.  Some days are just unlucky enough for one to encounter such uncouth car drivers and what’s a bicyclist to do but respond in the same manner.

However, there are much better ways to deal with such kind of drivers in different situations.  

1. Be calm. There’s nothing much here to say because being calm is just what it says.  However, there is much to be gained by telling yourself at the beginning of every ride that you are calm and will continue to be calm even as you meet with the driver from hell while you are on your bicycle.

2. Forget how much you have suffered at the hands of other drivers in the past. This means not counting the times you have been hit or almost hit by a wayward car.  One tends to keep score of these unfortunate encounters but, let’s face it, bicyclists will always be on the losing side.  It doesn’t pay to be bitter on the road thinking that you won’t let yourself lose next time.  Remember that any car, even the smallest one is way too heavy compared to your bicycle. In any confrontation, the score will always be in favor of the larger one, and it’s not you. You may think that making the score even will make things better for you but it will not.  Think of collateral damage and it will always involve you at the center of it all sustaining all the severe damage.

armed bicyclists

Image from here.

No, this is not a good way to beat them.

3. Don’t think of joining the other team, as in “if you can’t beat them, join them” which in this case means just leaving your bicycle at home and driving your car to work instead. If you own a car, well, this should be easy enough but woe to those who doesn’t have a car and can’t afford to buy one.  This is just what those drivers want you to do: abandon your bicycle at home and take your car.  The alternative for those who doesn’t have cars is to take public transportation which may or may not be good or suitable for you. In many instances, it is still faster to go by bicycle than any other form of transportation be it public or private.  Bicyclists don’t have to win, we just have to stay on the road because we can and we will do it no matter what. Drivers and bicyclists can co-exist because there is enough space for both on the road, and then there is world peace we have to work for.

angry cyclist

Image from here.

4. Avoid the urge to hit back as soon as you can, which at times will mean as soon as you’re able to pick yourself up from the ground, straighten up and then surge towards the driver, that is, if you are still not on an ambulance and on your way to a hospital.  It’s easy to think that once wronged on the road, you have the right to retaliate in worse ways than you were hit and if you couldn’t this time, you vow to yourself that you will retaliate against a wayward driver, or any other driver for that matter.  Think of number 2 in this list.  Resisting the urge to hit back takes a lot of courage but you know it is the right thing, the human thing to do. And last but not the least:

Image from here.

Not just in cartoons like this one.

5. Consider this: Bicyclists are growing in number. Oh yes, we are! One proof is the number of participants in the annual Tour of the Fireflies, which started way back in 1999 with just a couple of hundreds of riders.  The 2013 edition of the Tour was a record estimate of 15,000 bicyclists from all walks of life.  Participants in the other Tours ranged from plumbers to senators to mountain climbers and more are expected to participate in the coming editions.  The increasing number of bicyclist on the road is a living testimony of how the bicycle is helping to solve many of our urban traffic problems and even environmental ones.  You can now see whole families bicycling together.

All bicycle rides should be fun and we should not let anyone, much less an uneducated driver ruin it for us. We have the capacity to think best and act for the best at all times, even as our sanity and physical well-being is threatened by large chunks of rolling metal on the road.

 

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