Recently, after telling a relative that I ride my bicycle as my main form of transportation I was asked rather angrily, “Are you one of those cyclists who rides between the curb and the cars at a light?” To which I replied, “No, I try to act like a car as much as possible on the road.”
This conversation got me thinking, what right does he have to react so vehemently towards cyclists who ride between cars and the curb at lights?”
I am in no way endorsing this practice, or suggesting that current laws be changed. I understand how a cyclist edging up between you and the curb while driving can make you nervous. However I think that if cyclists are going to be called out for such practices, the practices of motor vehicle drivers also need to be examined.
Just as a cyclist is not allowed to pass a car in the same lane, neither is a car allowed to pass a bicycle in the same lane unless there is only one lane moving in that direction, and then at a safe distance. According to the Highway Traffic Act when there are two or more lanes traveling in the same direction the driver is required to pass on the left side of the dividing line.
This rarely, if ever, happens. As a cyclist I am required to ride as close as possible to the curb on a two-way road. But I am to be treated as a vehicle that takes up the entire lane where the traffic goes in one direction.
Given these laws, I wonder how drivers can criticize cyclists who ride between the curb and cars. Most cars never leave the lane when they pass me, even if the other lane is completely empty. They opt to go as close to me as they can.
Or when I am at a light, they drive up right beside me in the same lane, doing exactly what they hate cyclists for.
Drivers need to realize that if they want cyclists to follow the law, they should too. We don’t appreciate people driving up so close that we can touch the car with our knees.