With the threat of global warming, many people are thinking about things that they can do to alleviate the burden we place on the earth. Hybrid cars, electric cars, biofuels, we are starting to hear these terms thrown around in everyday conversation; however, each of those cars still consumes the amount of fossil fuel it takes to build each individual part and to assemble them and produces the associated emissions. The fuel consumption and emissions that go into building a new hybrid car makes it less efficient and environmentally friendly than driving a used compact car that runs on petrol. Riding a bike does not consume fossil fuels or produce emissions. The costs to the environment of creating the bike are balanced out by their zero emissions and zero fossil fuels existence. And, if you buy a used bike, you don't even have to incur the environmental costs of manufacturing. This comes down to my main point: biking is best. Therefore, car drivers should respect cyclists' right to be on the road.
I cycle 5 days a week to school 12 months a year. Rain, snow, sunshine. Almost everyday that I ride my bike on the road I am scared for my life because cyclists are not respected by cars. I stop for stop signs, red lights, pedestrians, and in exchange for following the laws of the road, I demand the respect of others on the road. I have only been hit by a car once, which is quite enough, but I have been cut off, had people fling their doors open right infront of me, had pedestrians step out off the sidewalk right infront of me, been squeezed off the road, and have had quite a few side mirrors brush my sleeves. Here are some tips for motorists:
1) Slow down when you are passing a cyclist - not only is it better for the cyclist you are passing, but it also warns the cars behind you that there is a slow moving vehicle on the road
2) Change lanes if there is not enough room to pass with at least 2 feet between you and the cyclist. There is no prize for getting as close as you can to a cyclist and staying in your own lane. think of them like a scooter - you wouldn't try to pass a scooter in the same lane would you?
3) Respect our judgement on how far we ride into the center of the road and don't try to crowd us into the curb. Some roads have depressed road grates that can be dangerous for cyclists and we move out to avoid them or, if there are people parked by the side of the road we leave enough room for their doors to open so we don't get "doored" (see tip 4)
4) Look before you throw open your door. A cyclist is easy to miss if you're not looking for one, do you want to be responsible for injuring another human being? do you want to have your car door damaged?
5) Thank a cyclist for their zero consumption and zero emission mode of transportation while you drive around your personal contribution to global warming. We're doing it for you and your children as well as ourselves and our own.