A study issued earlier this year found that motor vehicle drivers and cyclists are equally responsible for car-bike collisions in Minneapolis. But, as comments to media reports of that study demonstrate, the finger pointing continues, with bicyclists blaming aggressive drivers for most collisions and drivers blaming “inconsiderate and stupid” cyclists.
Why motorists get so angry at cyclists? Is there any reason that we will ignore?
Actually, not just drivers think cyclists are annoying, even some pedestrians find them arrogant and ethically objectionable.
In 2014, about 21,000 cyclists were injured in road accidents, including over 3,000 who were killed or seriously injured.
One of the common contributory factors attributed to cyclists was ‘cyclist entering the road from the pavement’ (including when a cyclist crosses the road at a pedestrian crossing), which was recorded in about 20% serious collisions (and over one-third of serious collisions involving child cyclists).
Many cyclists, especially those who are doing long distance cycling trip, are spotted cycling on the shoulder of expressways, which is illegal and very dangerous.
According to Mr. Steven Lim, the president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, cycling on expressways is extremely dangerous. If cyclists assume it is safe to ride on roads at night because there is less traffic, so will motorists. And they may even drive faster. Some cyclists may concern about the safety problem of riding on the expressways, but their herd mentality makes them follow other cyclists to continue riding on the expressways.
This situation is disturbing and annoying to both drivers and pedestrians, for the latter sometimes will be scared of being hit by cyclists.
So, as a cyclist, what morals should he obey while cycling? Let’s keep them in mind and avoid becoming that kind of annoying cyclists.
When you come across outdoor travelers who are on foot, riding horses or using no motor vehicle, give way to them voluntarily.
Being courtesy is one of the most important Chinese traditional virtues, and it is also very important for gentlemen. It’s a good way to show your manner by being courtesy and giving way to other people. This behavior is just as thoughtful as drivers’ letting pedestrians to cross the road first. Once upon a time, I came across a group of cyclists who rode very fast, and one of the cyclists nearly hit me from the back. From that time I had a bad impression on cyclists.
If you follow this discipline, you might even come across your true love. Most of the time, I am affected by those drivers who let pedestrians through first. On the boring trip, how wonderful it is to come across someone so polite and gentle.
If you are going to overtaking a car or a person on the road, let them know at first.
Don’t overtake other people or cars or bikes on the road silently. Before you overtake them, let them know first in case they speed up or stop suddenly. The action of overtaking is extremely dangerous. You can ring the bell loud or shout loudly to let them know you are going to overtake them. This is not only about cycling safety problem, but also about your politeness and manner. A code recommends people to overtake where it’s safe and legal. “High-side vehicles have limited visibility on the left,” said Gwenda Owen, an instructor on the Department for Transport’s Bikeability cycle training scheme, and the CTC’s cycle training development officer for Wales. Therefore, it is very dangerous for cyclists to overtake on the left side.
Control your riding speed at any time.
As I mentioned previously, I had a bad impression on cyclists because they rode too fast and almost hit me from the back. Controlling your riding speed is quite important in the course of cycling, especially while you are riding downhill. Don’t ride too fast just because you find the road is empty or the traffic is light. You can’t predict which car to turn a corner suddenly. In addition, fast-riding is the commonest reason for bike accidents. If you come across emergencies in fast-riding, you will require more reaction time than usual, increasing the risk of accident at the same time.
It’s quite dangerous to ride fast. So, remember to control riding speed at any time. This behavior is responsible not only for yourself, but also for other people’s lives on the road.
Don’t disturb wild animals, fowls or pets
If you go on a cycling trip, you will sometimes come across natural landscapes inevitably. Cycling is a good chance for people to be close to nature, but is not an excuse to disturb the wild animals there. Maybe you will find them very strange and want to take a photo, but the animals may find it’s horrible. If they are too scared to stay in the place, they will migrate to another place, which leads to imponderable damage to the local environment. Besides, you will never know whether these animals are friendly or hostile. You may get injured or lose some parts of your body.
Therefore, to be safe and sound, don’t disturb wild animals.
In long distance cycling, we may need to camp outdoors. Producing garbage is inevitable, but we can’t just leave them to the ground and leave as if nothing happens. Plastic is hard to break down in the wild, and will cause irreversible damage to the environment. When we leave the campsite, we’d better pick up all our garbage and leave nothing but happiness.
Respect public and private property
This discipline has a lot to do with social morality. Countless cases can be found about the damage of public property. People tend to value their own property but ignore the protection of public property. Shared bike OFO in China is an example reflecting the ugly side of human being. Some people put a private lock on the bike so that other people can’t use it; some even scrape the numbers of the bikes; some bikes are hanged on the tree.
Never ride alone to rural areas
It’s very dangerous to ride alone to rural areas. You are not familiar with the road situation there, thus increasing the risk of accident. This is very irresponsible for you, your family and friends.
Try to reduce the influence to the environment. Don’t ride after rain in case of damage to the mountain road.
Wear a helmet whenever you ride
According to the survey, the average careful bicyclist may still crash about every 4500 miles. Head injuries are one of the main causes for 75% of the bicyclists’ death, nearly 700 annually. Medical research shows that bike helmets mitigate most of the cyclists’ head injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in reducing head and brain injuries. It is worth noting that even a low-speed fall from a bicycle trail can scramble one’s brain.
Don’t expect drivers observe you. Leave them more space.
Don’t try to compete with motor vehicles drivers. And don’t expect they will observe you on the road. Keeping a safe distance with other cars or bikes is very important. Obeying this moral does not only make you a better but also save your life.