On any road shared by cars and cyclists there is clearly a fragile relationship between half a ton of steel and a few kilos of flesh and bone. When that relationship strays from its careful path, it’s the human being who suffers.
As an occasional cyclist on Wellington’s narrow, winding roads my fragility is always on my mind. Now a study tells us that motorists’ perceptions are skewed by the oh-so-helpful cycle lanes:
Drivers give cyclists a wider berth on roads where there is no lane because they assume that they should share the road and make more allowance for the risk of wobbles. …
[A] study, which is due to be published in the scientific journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, says that on roads without cycle lanes, drivers “consciously perform an overtaking manoeuvre”. On roads with cycle lanes, they treat the space between the centre line and the outside edge of the cycle lane as exclusively their territory and make less adjustment for cyclists.
I grew up cycling to school and back in Christchurch. My bike was my means of transport. By the time I got my driver’s licence I totally understood the needs and problems of cyclists.
I think motorists should be required to demonstrate a number of hours experience riding a bike on busy city roads before they are allowed to graduate to a full car licence. Once they’ve had a taste of the fear, perhaps they’d be more considerate.