10 Ways To Get Respect From Drivers While Riding Your Bike

car passing too close to bike

Why has riding a bike in most cities across the World now become hazardous to your health and you could easily be risking your life and injury.   I have been riding my bike for the last 25+ years to commute around the Hermosa Beach & Manhattan Beach area.  I used to ride my bike for exercise on the streets training for triathlons but ever since I had kids I have stopped.  It is just too risky now and over the years I have seen many injuries and accidents because some drivers don't respect bikers.

It concerns me that driving has become even more hazardous with texting and distracted driving.  However, one thing that has progressed is road rage, especially in the morning.  I can't tell you how many times I have seen angry drivers pass bikers too close.  Why don't more drivers respect the space of bikers on the road?  Don't more drivers realize that kids are riding their bikes to school and need to slow down?  Over the years I have found the following things help to move cars and get more respect from cars while riding.  Passing too close is my biggest pet peeve and here are ways to help get more space.

  • Ride with a group of 2 or more people.  Drivers tend to respect riders more in a group. 
  • Have a quick look over your shoulder if you start to hear a car approaching. 
  • Wear bright colors.  
  • Do your best to hug the side of the road or parked cars. 
  • Don't ride in the middle of a lane because you never know if a crazy driver is approaching.
  • Don't run stop signs or lights. 
  • Don't ride too fast down hills or in areas with heavy traffic.  Stopping safely is everything! 
  • Always be on guard and never relax while riding. 
  • Look inside parked vehicles to make sure a car is not about to pull out or open a car door.  
  • NEVER wear headphones!  

I can't tell you how many times I have almost been hit by a car while riding my bike on the side of the road. Why don't more drivers give proper space to bikers on the road?   Most drivers are courteous and pull over a lane on the road or just ride the median to give ample space.   However, on some rides, there is usually that one "knucklehead" driver who does not respect your space and will pass you without pulling out.  These people know what they are doing because they often look in the rearview mirror to see my reaction.  We need to crowdsource a database of these assholes and their license plates!

I am not an overly aggressive rider and tend to hug the side of the road for just these reasons.  What can be done to solve these problems?  Education or steeper fines for not giving bikers ample space?  Here is a good article that talks about the 9 things that drivers need to stop saying in the bikes vs cars debate.

Here is another article that suggests that drivers think that cyclists are annoying.  Why do motorists get so angry at cyclists?    "It's not because cyclists are annoying,” he writes. “It isn't even because we have a selective memory for that one stand-out annoying cyclist over the hundreds of boring, non-annoying ones (although that probably is a factor). No, my theory is that motorists hate cyclists because they think they offend the moral order.”

ridar bike presence radar

I would like to see bike radar companies like Ridar take off in the future.  If every car has a bike presence sensor and cars were informed that a bike was nearby this could help.  It would be awesome to see companies like Waze have a function for bikers to let drivers know they are nearby.  However, it is going to take widespread adoption by the automakers.  Hopefully, companies like Garmin and Ridar can make this happen and bring the technology to the masses.