Today in "a cyclist's advice to drivers"

Dear area car driver:

In the event that you, area car driver, happen to be dropping off a passenger, please execute the following maneuvers:

1: signal and get to the side of the road;

2: leave the turn signal on while you’re stopped.

As you can see, these are two steps.  Two very easy steps.  These two very easy steps are intended to replace the following alternative method of dropping off passengers:

–just letting out the passenger when already stopped at the light, without putting on a turn signal or moving out of the lane in any significant way, or checking the right side of the car first for passing bicyclists.


Here’s the thing, area car driver.  Your passenger has not been looking at the road.  He or she does not habitually look in the rear view mirror before opening his or her door, especially when getting out of the back seat.

Drivers such as yourself are well-trained in looking down the street for bikes, and those of us on bikes thank you for it.  You are also aware when there is a bike near your car, because you’re the driver and that’s your job.  But your clueless passenger is not aware and hasn’t had to be for the entire ride, and the curb is right there.  They are not thinking of the possibility that a bike is attempting to navigate the space between the car and the curb at the same moment in which they are opening the door.

Likewise, the biker is not aware someone is about to get out of the car because the biker does not know you have stopped to let someone out, because you have not stopped to let someone out.  You have stopped at the light.  There is no way to tell the difference between stopping for a light and stopping to drop someone off without using psychic powers.

Bicyclists do not have psychic powers.  In case you were not sure about that.

And finally

In the event you have neglected to pull over adequately or used a turn signal, and it is raining, and your passenger has opened the rear right door cutting off the cyclist that was at that very moment navigating that same space between the car and the curb, it would be in your best interest not to yell at the biker who had to use the side of your car to stop before he hit your car door.  Suggesting that the bike had plenty of time to stop just proves both of you knew the bike was there and decided to open the door anyway, which makes you look like massive assholes.


When bike brakes get wet they don’t work as well.  Just like car brakes, actually.  If you, area car driver, ever find yourself saying, “the bike will have enough time to stop” you should re-evaluate your decision-making capabilities.

Especially when it’s raining.

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No Comments

  1. Donna Doucette on October 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Did you yell back?

  2. adventuretraveling on October 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Also note that the cyclist has the right of way, so the “cyclist has time to stop” argument is not valid. Keep on riding. Bicycle rights!!!

    • genedoucette on October 28, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Very true. But right-of-way arguments don’t really work very well once you’ve hit the door. I wish I’d taken out a tail light on the car, in hindsight.

  3. adventuretraveling on October 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Yes, even if you have to whack away at it with a frame pump as the car driver gets out of the vehicle, breaking a guy’s tail light is a good idea. haha

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