6 Ways To Defuse Anti-Cyclist Road Rage

Road Rage photo

Photo via seabamirum via flickr.
Anti-cycling road rage is just a big drag, perpetuating the "us" versus "them" mentality between drivers and cyclists, and sometimes endangering lives. Some states have tried to legally protect cyclists from car drivers' abuse. But there are a number of things that a cyclist can and should do to promote street peace and the best, safest ride possible. Read on, and add your tips.
Share the Road photo

Photo via Hey Paul @ flickr.

1. Drive your bike.

The bike, after all, is a two-wheeled vehicle, and unless other laws apply, is treated as a vehicle in the eyes of the law. That's why considering yourself driving your bike instead of just riding, is probably a good idea. The Dot Matrix puts it this way:

"One drives a bicycle, a scooter, or a motorcycle, not rides one. People ride in things over which they don't have control. Bicyclists, scooterists and motorcyclists have control, they must. To call what they do riding is disrespectful to what a two-wheeled navigator actually does."

Road Rage Signs photo

Photo via nantaskart! @ flickr.

2. Obey the law.

It's a tired old chestnut, isn't it? Motorists bend and break traffic laws systematically. Should cyclists be held to a higher standard? Yes, and no. In order to not aggravate the 'us' versus 'them' mentality that bikes on the road create in motorists' minds, it is important for cyclists to follow laws to the best of their ability. Salmon biking (driving your bike against the flow of traffic), and completely breezing through stop signs or red lights are the two offenses that most make motorists see red. The road is a limited resource - if cyclists want to share it they need to respect the rules of the road.

Road Rage photo

Photo via seabamirum via flickr.

3. ...And at the same time, lobby for a version of the Idaho Stop Law in your state.

The Idaho Stop Law (in place since 1982) allows cyclists to yield instead of fully stop (i.e. with a foot down) when faced with an intersection or stop sign. Oregon tried unsuccessfully to pass a version of this law earlier this year. The University of California's School of Health in Berkeley crunched some data and UC researcher Jason Meggs studied the law's results and found that in the year following its implementation, bicycle injuries dropped 14.5 percent, presumably because cyclists had more control in intersections and were more visible. Such a law might increase motorists rage initially, but by now the Idaho Stop Law is just considered smart public policy. London is considering a similar provision.

Discover more ways to defuse road rage page 2.

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