It’s both perplexing and disturbing to me to witness the division and often hostility between drivers and cyclists. Since I use all modes of transportation, preferring to cycle when possible, I can view the issues from both sides.
As a pedestrian and cyclist I’ve definitely seen an increase in impatience and even hostility from some drivers. While the majority of drivers follow the rules of the road, many are simply driving too fast, don’t want to stop even at crosswalks, and occasionally there is a driver who will drop the “F-bomb” at a law-abiding and cautious cyclist.
When one pushes the pedestrian/cyclist crosswalk signal, the message says, “proceed with caution as cars may not stop.” Lately, I’ve been feeling this warning should say, “Cars likely will not stop.” So what happens when trusting children use these crossings as they do along the Haultain corridor, when powerful vehicles like SUVs are driven at such high speeds that they simply cannot stop? These are questions we need to ask ourselves.
I believe that a good deal of the frustration we are witnessing on our roadways is fueled by density increases. Our once-small town seems to be bursting at the seams lately, and a direct result of this is the higher number number of vehicles and bikes on the road, including electric bikes and scooters. We need to be able to share our roadways and that doesn’t mean we simply give the upper hand to the larger vehicle.
When I’m driving I try to be mindful that there are others using the roads and I’ve never encountered a problem with cyclists or pedestrians. Perhaps those cyclists who are making the effort to leave their cars at home should be applauded rather than honked at or worse.
As our roadways become increasingly busier it’s going to take us longer to get to our destinations. Giving ourselves the extra time needed can go a long way in reducing frustrations while commuting. And perhaps a little bit of old-fashioned courtesy and respect would also go a long way toward easing some of the tension on our roadways.