Why we do what we do on our way
I don’t often get abused by motorists (thanks Auckland!) but it does happen, and I know there are frequently head shakes and tut tuts going on. If we can establish two things as fact: (a) the infrastructure we ride on is mostly not well designed for us, often hostile; and (b) the laws favour motorists and typically treat cyclists as annoyances on the road.
It’s also a fact that in any situation between motor-vehicle and cyclist, the cyclist will likely be badly hurt or worse.
On my commute ride (which I by far prefer to do on my ebike not least because it is safer) I am frequently required to balance my own safety and speed (or momentum) while being forced to decide if I am bicycle, wheeled pedestrian or vehicle. On ebike I often choose the latter often stressing the heck out of motorists as I keep pace with them. I think this stress is fallen pride 🙁
The point (I do have one) is that frequently motorists, pedestrians and lawmakers want me to choose the option that is worst for me, not the one that is optimal. I say “to hell with that” and choose the best.
I’ll give you some examples.
|Shared path cycle lane alongside the road||Wheeled Pedestrian – ride along the shared path||Vehicle. Continue along the road way. Often using the ‘cycle lane’ exposes you to bumpy footpath and cars pulling across driveways without looking. Might be OK if it is a good one and you are going slowly|
|Pedestrian crossing at an intersection, especially Barnes Dance type||Vehicle. Wait. Pedestrian. Slow.||Wheeled Pedestrian. Go slowly giving way to actual pedestrians. It would be legit if I got off the bike and walked, but why? It will just slow me down for no good reason.|
|Pedestrian zebra crossing to get across a busy road||Pedestrian (slow) or Vehicle (can’t use)||Wheeled Pedestrian. Use with caution ensuring oncoming vehicles are able to stop safely. No sense getting off the bike. It just means you cross slowly inconveniencing both of us.|
|Riding along a single lane roadway with a constraint ahead (parked car typically)||Bicycle – death awaits||Vehicle. I need to assert my space (take the lane) so that other vehicles are not tempted into passing me, even though I might be going 40-50 kph|
|There are two lanes of static traffic ahead of a red traffic light||Vehicle width – wait your turn||Bicycle down the side if it is safe to do so. I prefer to get to the front of the queue so that I am not in the middle of traffic. I can also benefit from being narrow unlike your Audi Q7. You do have to be very sure that you’ll make it to the front in time and that no-one will turn in the direction that will endanger you.|
|Traffic circles||Bicycle – death awaits||Vehicle. Traffic circles and no place for you to try to overtake me, anyway I can go faster than most cars around a circle so won’t get in your way|
|Riding at night||Pedestrian or Bicycle – can’t be seen||Vehicle. I will have as much lighting and reflection as I can get to make myself seen|
|Dangerous road situation||Bicycle – death awaits||Wheeled Pedestrian. There are times when I just go onto the footpath even though I know it is illegal because I don’t want to die|
I hope that gives you an idea of where my thinking is at – you may agree or disagree. I’m sure you’ll have many more examples. The laws are changing slowly – there is a raft of recommendations in play including going straight from a left lane, going straight against a red light on a T (where you are on the top of the T going L-R). The footpath scenario has been debated (and allowing kids to use footpaths).