Dear Driver Passing My Bicycle: Shut Up


bike-trailerOn one of her earlier trips out with our daughter in a bike seat, my wife got roundly told off by a stranger in a car for daring to do something so dangerous with a child.

I wish it were feasible to print up little copies of this post over at ChildWild and toss them into the windows of cars with drivers like that.

Short and sweet, and more polite than I would be, even in theory, the writer points out that taking your attention off the road to “startle, alarm, and anger” the bicycle rider vastly increases the danger of the situation.

Some great follow up comments note that the more people who bike, the safer it is (i.e., if you’re concerned about how safe it is, get on a bike yourself), and that regular biking is modeling healthy, active behavior for your kids, which we certainly need more of.

If I were actually making such an informative flyer, I would add “Oh, and by the way, it’s illegal for me to ride on the sidewalk, as I am over 10 years old, even though I do so sometimes anyway when I feel unsafe on the roads due to jerks like you. I like to follow the law. I’d appreciate it if you did the same, which in your case includes sharing the road with other vehicles.” Then I would give said informative flyer to the police among others.

It’s not that everyone with any experience in urban cycling isn’t constantly aware of how defensively they need to ride, especially with kids in tow. The point is not that it’s risk free. But it is amazing how many drivers who would never yell at parents for doing other less safe, less legal, less otherwise beneficial things feel OK letting loose at parents who cycle with their kids.

Photo CC by Howard N2GOT.

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