What is it that the cyclist does that seems to antagonize the car or truck driver sitting in their safe steel environment that prompts them to drive as close as they can to the cyclist or honk their horn or step on the gas/diesel to create that big puff of black smoke as they go by? Do they even realize just how close they are and the effect it has on the rider?
It seems to me that just by being on our bikes on the road, we are somehow invading the drivers’ space, causing them some degree of irritation, inconveniencing them or, bottom line — without knowing it — creating some degree of road rage in some drivers.
A recent incident was an extreme example. A group of us were returning from a ride. We were on a wide shoulder of a two-lane section (Hwy 11). We were not on the driving lane. A semi truck (tractor unit only) felt he should come as close as he could to our group. He had another clear lane where he could have moved over, but no.
This near miss or unnecessary encroachment into our space prompted one of the riders to show a sign (wrong). The truck driver slammed on the brakes; we had to brake hard ourselves to avoid running into the back of him. He was out of his truck and it appeared from his language and actions that he was quite ready to “beat the crap” out of us. He even tried to grab one of the riders as he was getting out of his truck. Needless to say, for our own safety concerns, we did not stop.
This is in my opinion (I hope) an extreme case and this individual, I think, was looking for a fight. But, bottom line, the level of anger that he was directing towards a group of cyclist was very disturbing.
Cyclists, please ride with care, ride to the rules of the road, and try to avoid confrontation.
Drivers, please give us space. Space is our only protection.
When passing a cyclist, go around them like you would any other vehicle. Leave lots of room. It gets real scary when a car, or especially bigger vehicle, comes too close.
When there is vehicle-cyclist contact, the cyclist loses every time.
Think drivers. Give a cyclist one metre of space.