Cars vs Motorcycles vs cyclists vs Cars

So, here it is. Car drivers hate motorcyclists, who hate car drivers, and they both equally hate cyclists, who dont really car about motorcyclists and hate cars. Ironically, a lot of motorcyclists ride bicycles (and drive cars), and yet cant see the same complaints apply to them, as they do to cyclists.. its a bit of a “remove the plank from your own eye, before you complain about the speck in mine” scenario.

 

Lets have a gander at the most common complaints from bikers and car drivers about cyclists (this is not exhaustive, just indicative):

– too slow

– dont stop at stop signs/red lights

– weave in and out of traffic

– cant see them properly (ie, appear out of nowhere)

– want to be treated like a car by dont obey the road rules.

– they are on my roads but do not pay ACC/road user charges

 

Car drivers complaints about motorcyclists:

– too fast/dangerous

 

– dont stop at stop signs/red lights

– weave in and out of traffic

– cant see them properly (ie, appear out of nowhere)

– want to be treated like a car by dont obey the road rules.

 

Cyclists complaints about car drivers:

– want cyclists to follow the road rules, but then proceed to try and kill cyclists for doing so by bad driving.

– Do not actively look for 2 wheeled vehicles.

– dont stop at red lights/stop/give way signs

– dont give cyclists any respect and get cut off, pushed about, and squeezed off the road

 

 

Motorcyclists complaints about car drivers:

– Dont look actively for motorbikes (“Sorry mate i didnt see you” – sorry mate, you cant hear my ghost answer)

– Actively block, push, and squeeze bikes off the road

– Randomly turn, pull in/out and run red lights/stop/give way signs

– expect us to behave like a car and follow road rules like a car.

 

I dont know if you can see what I see, but I see a lot of people complaining that someone else is doing exactly what someone else is doing. I ride a motorcycle, a bicycle, and drive a car. I’ve experienced abuse and danger from everyone in these categories (as well as buses, trucks, taxis etc), but I can not understand, for example, why cyclists and biker do not get together and work to make the roads safer for each other, as they both experience the same kinds of problems with traffic.

As a cyclist, I run red lights for a few reasons (none of them for the reasons car drivers think), for example: Some intersections narrow on the exit, and you want to be either behind or in front of the cars, because car drivers are more worried about hitting another car than a bicycle. Some times it is just better and safer to cross through a red light (if done safely, with care), so that vehicles behind can sort out where they are on the road and go around you safely. And yes, I do contribute to roads/acc, I pay huge registration fees for my motorcycle, on which I have not had an accident in 30 years. I pay car registration, I pay rates, etc etc. In fact, as a cyclist, I reduce traffic congestion, free up car parks, and do less damage to the roads than car drivers. I ride the way I ride, to keep myself safe, and some times that means annoying other people. But, better an annoyed motorist than a dead cyclist.

As a motorcyclist I ride fast enough to be able to control the traffic around me. I do not want to be at the mercy of car drivers, so I put myself in positions on the road that I deem are safe. Some times this means I ride a bit faster (sometimes slower), and some times it means I go through gaps and places that car drivers think are crazy. But, for me, the one with the experience, who is riding the bike, who can see with a motorcyclists eye, it is the safest option.

As a car driver I am always on the lookout for cyclists and bikers, and because I am used to riding/cycling I know where to look, and I am used to watching out (from riding in groups etc). HOWEVER, I do notice that as soon as I sit in a car, i get lazy. I lose my “edge” – and because I am afraid of dying on 2 wheels, I MAKE SURE… I have “the edge” when I am out – I concentrate, I practice, I constantly think about what I am doing. This survival imperative is not existent in car drivers. It’s just not.

 

Anyway, the point of this is, for motorcyclists and bicyclists to remain safe on the road, they have to do things that car drivers (and motorcyclists, in the case of bicyclists) consider dangerous, annoying, frustrating, and scary. Sure, you are going to get the odd idiot, and statistics show that some thing like 1 in 100 cyclists and 1 in 40 motorcyclists are likely to fit into this category. But it would be complete insanity to lump all riders in that category. And yes, occassionally you get a rush of blood to the head and do something stupid. But rather than picking on one or other (in fact, the head of the AA in the UK called car drivers treatment of cyclists “like racism”), we should do what we can to make the road safer for 2 wheels, and thefore 4 or more 😉

(I found this interesting article on perceptions: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/09/cyclists_are_annoying_why_you_think_they_re_a_menace_on_two_wheels_.html )

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