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Cars vs Bikes

16 January 2013, 13:40

You can’t escape rivalries of polar opposites like DA vs ANC, East Coast vs. West Coast or even Itchy vs. Scratchy. You could count cars vs. bikes as a rivalry (and we’re talking about bicycles, not motorcycles), but that would be an understatement. It’s war and it’s hell.

The cars vs. bikes war is nothing new; it’s been going on nearly as long as cars have existed..
Looking forward, it’s going to take action from both factions. Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect unilateral peace when it comes to cars vs. bikes, but the following pages have tactics to minimize collateral damage. We’ll begin with drivers.

drivers

Do not engage

Bikes are not targets of opportunity; you must avoid contact with them at all costs. Even when riders do something douchey and/or dangerous in front of you, be the Better Man and do not engage with retaliation. For that matter, take care to avoid even accidental contact, like when a bike is hanging out in your blind spot. And when you’re parked at the curb, take a quick visual before hopping out of the driver’s seat so you don’t swing your door into the path of a passing cyclist.

Execute cautionary passage of lines

When you pass bikes, especially on highways, ease up on your speed. The air displaced by your car can hit cyclists like a sudden crosswind. If you’re lucky, they’ll only be startled. Worst case scenario, they lose control. This cars vs. bikes war measure of backing off the throttle reduces the turbulent wall of wind. What’s more, if the bike makes an unexpected move, you’ll have more time to react and avoid.

Allow proximity gaps

It isn’t always possible, but whenever you can, move over to give bikes a wide berth when passing, just like when we go around other cars. Cyclists have to swerve sometimes to miss road irregularities or potholes, because the same bump that splashes your coffee while driving can send a cyclist over his handlebars. And from their perspective, it is unnerving to be passed with a margin of a few feet or less. Just don’t think you’re doing a favor by sounding your horn before passing; again, too startling.

Maintain visual separation

You’re asking for trouble whenever you tailgate any vehicle, but doing that to a bike only makes things worse and potentially fatal. Sometimes it’s not their fault they can’t move over more. Other times, we’re at the mercy of a self-righteous militant. Just let them have their little victory and pass when it’s safe. Also, maintain visual separation for cyclists in bike boxes, the advanced stop lines at intersections.

bicyclists

Detect and observe

We’ve all seen it happen: For whatever reason, drivers can’t always detect another two-ton lump of metal in their path. What chance do you have? With just your helmets and no seat belts or air bags to protect you in a crash, you’re jolly well screwed if you don’t ride defensively. Even when drivers seem to look right at you, don’t bet your life on it and assume they are. If you’re going to assume anything, be ready for them to turn across your path or whip their doors open as you approach.

Resist acoustic jamming

Cycling is as good for the body as it is the head, giving such a great escape from everyday stress. But the solution can also be the problem. When you’re not in car-free zones like bike paths, you ought to stay aware of your surroundings and reconsider using iPods. While it’s true you can still hear some of what’s going on around you, it’s too easy to mentally drift to the point of over-distraction -- ditto for cell phones. After all, you have nearly met your demise when a driver was on the phone, right?

Follow the rules of engagement

So what if your rides of choice have fewer wheels and no engine? They’re still vehicles, and you belong on the road as much as cars. That means you’re subject to the same traffic laws too. However tempting it is to blow red lights, however convenient it might be to shoot the opposite way down a one-way, be a Better Man and show more responsibility. You can also forget about drinking and riding while you’re at it. You have to ride like you’re driving cars, legally speaking. You can still skip the thick-headedness.

Employ deterrence

To follow up on a previous point, you do have to ride as if you’re unseen -- but you also have to make every effort to stay visible. For one, that means keeping out of blind spots on cars’ rear quarter areas. Wearing the right colors, even in daylight, helps you get noticed. At night, this of course means lights fore and aft, plus reflectors for clothing, bike and helmet. When you employ deterrence and minimize the risk, you’re putting one of the best cars vs. bikes war measures in play.

peace in our time?

Even if we’ll never have an effective treaty, at least we can minimize casualties through cars vs. bikes war measures.


Read more: http://www.askmen.com/cars/car_tips_150/187b_cars-vs-bikes-war-measures.html#ixzz2I39skhxk



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