Louisville Wheelmen Newsletter -- September-October 1995

“Bisickle Skool”

by Don Williams


With more than 40 commuting hours under my belt this year, it's almost enough for a masters degree in some fields. Here's what I have learned.

Several theorems exist as to how people drive around cyclists on their way to work.

  1. Where the road is widest, a driver passes without easing left over the centerline, but . . .
  2. Where the road is most narrow, a driver may go so far to the left to pass, that a bus could make a third lane between us.
  3. Based on personal experience, it is apparent that, at a certain speed, projectiles deform from their original shape, that's why cars that accelerate to near rocket speed before they catch up to us don't have to give us room because they get a foot thinner under these optimum acceleration conditions.
  4. Buicks, as they did when I was a kid, still make that rocket sound as they fly by under power.
The most common hazards? Cars, sure, failure to yield is their worst crime, but squirrels and birds sometimes don't yield either. Other cyclists are a problem sometimes, but my experience shows the absolute worst problem while commuting are people waiting for the bus. They step off the curb muttering to themselves, stand mid-way in the right hand lane looking for that darn bus, completely oblivious that anyone besides their bus may actually use that lane.

And what about all those cyclists I pass during my commute? Don't crash now, but it's okay to nod or maybe even speak as we pass in opposite directions. I'm looking down the road behind you, and Lance Armstrong isn't sneaking up, about to pass. Cyclists going in my direction often run a stop sign in front of me, or do something else stupid!

We teach new riders to drive their bikes as one would drive a car. What if we drove our cars as we drive our bikes? Of course, sometimes I drive my car on the sidewalk, but it's rare where a traffic light is bypassed, especially under commuting conditions! What about you?

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