Being a cyclist, I know plenty of other cyclists, and every one of them also drives a car.
Like most people driving on our roads, we too get a little nervous about negotiating our cars safely around those engaging pedal power to get from Point A to Point B.
The major benefit we have over non-cyclists is that when sharing the roads with people on bikes, we instinctively think like the person or people on the bikes so we can better anticipate their moves, and have a greater sense of the anxiety that can come with riding at close quarters with motor vehicles - this in turn affects our driving behaviour around cyclists.
But you don’t need to be a cyclist to recognise a few fundamental things that influence rider behaviour –
- Dooring - when riding alongside parked cars, cyclists ride in fear of a door being flung open into their path, the results of which can be deadly. This plays on the cyclists mind and may lead to sudden evasive action which in turn could put them in the path of passing or following traffic.
- Potholes, rubbish, manholes etc. – there are certain things that a bike simply can’t ride over without the potential to cause the rider to fall off. As with dooring, this may lead to a sudden change of direction as often these obstacles aren’t visible until the cyclist is within a few meters of them.
- Pedestrians – In built up areas such as the CBD or shopping strips, pedestrians who come out from between cars without looking (invariably looking at their phones) are possibly the most common cause problem for cyclists, again, often requiring evasive action.
When approaching a cyclist, being mindful of these potential dangers all of which can suddenly put them into the path of a driver, can help influence driver behaviour particularly as it relates passing them with adequate space and caution.
Being the most visible passenger vehicles on the road, taxis can set a positive example for the other road users about the need to be, at times patient, and at all times cautious around cyclists.
Cyclists are tribal, and word spreads quickly amongst them. Taxi drivers being considerate of them will ensure good favour amongst the cycling community.
In today’s connected and interactive society, few things are more important that goodwill.
Andrew Gooding, President of Melbourne Cycling League, Founder & Director of Echelon Services and CEO of Professionals Global Finance