I spend a lot of my time each week out riding my bike on the roads. I'm just about to roll over 30000km for the year, a lot more than the distance I have done in my car.
I understand and appreciate the frustrations of sharing the road with cars and have had my fair share of run-ins over the years. Despite this, whenever I am driving a car, nothing frustrates me more than cyclists on the road.
It's not that I don't think they deserve to be there, bikes have every right to share the roads with cars. My frustration comes from watching cyclists take unnecessary risks and ride as if there are no cars on the road.
On the weekend, I was driving to a mountain bike trail early in the morning. I passed several groups of cyclists that were riding as if cars didn't exist. Some were spread out 10m apart. Some ride almost on the centre line of the road. Some weave in and out of the parked cars on the side of the road. Some look like they can barely ride in a straight line. And although I realise cyclists are permitted to ride 2 abreast, it doesn't help their safety if they are in the middle of the road with a 2m gap between them. It was as if they were totally oblivious to their surroundings.
Whenever I am riding on the road, I am aware that there are cars around me and make an effort to acknowledge them make being on the road easier for both of us. Whether it be by riding close to others instead of spread all over the road, not rolling through red lights in front of cars, waiting in line when in traffic rather than going to the front (forcing cars to pass me again) or by giving a wave to thanks cars that have to slow down for me.
Every day I hear cyclists complaining about cars and talking about 'idiot' drivers on the road. But every day I also see cyclists ride as if they are trying to commit suicide. It's amazing how much nicer drivers can be when you actually 'share' the road and make life a little easier for drivers. It's also amazing how much safer you will be!
If you need something to compare it to... I'm sure everyone has had the experience of riding on a bike path with groups of pedestrians that walk around in the middle of the path, blissfully unaware that you are trying to get past them.
That is pretty much the equivalent of what I see cyclists do on the road. And it frustrates the heck out of me!