How to pass a cyclist


That's the way to pass a cyclistA tropical low is at the moment passing across New Zealand, which brings stronger winds and rain. Good for the agriculture (which is fighting with a drought), bad for cyclists as myself. However, after it had been a very sunny summer, I can’t really complain. And it also gives me the chance to write an article, which I had on my list since a long time.

Share the road
It’s for cyclists (and touring cyclists are part of them) not without risk on the road. After almost 14’000km on my bicycle, I look back on several close calls unfortunately. Especially dangerous are the situations, when cars and trucks are passing by. However, that would not have to be the case if some basic rules would be followed. It’s at the end better for everybody, if nobody has to go to the hospital or even a funeral, if nobody has to go to jail or live with such a guilt for the rest of his or her life.
I assume that the following isn’t new but I guess that a short reminder doesn’t harm. So please bear with me for the following points:

Do’s

  • Drive foresighted and adjusted
    An obstacle (and it doesn’t have to be a cyclists) can show up suddenly. Speed should be adjusted to the situation and the driving conditions therefor. Max speeds are not target speeds.
  • Slow down
    I understand that it can be annoying to slow down for cyclists. However, it’s very unpleasant and also dangerous if a car or a truck passes by with 100km/h. And the driver gets also more time to react appropriately.
  • Keep distance
    Frequently cars and trucks are passing very closely, which is very dangerous. As a cyclist, you always try to keep a straight line. However, sudden changes to the side are always possible, e.g. because of bad road, sudden wind change or because the cyclists gets surprised by the vehicle. Therefore, a distance of at least 1 to 1.5 meters should always be kept and if there is a second line, it should be changed to this one.
  • Accelerate again
    After passing the cyclist, you can of course accelerate again. However, don’t forget, that there could be other cyclists following. Therefore keep in mind the first point.

Don’t
There are also a few things which are not needed:

  • Honk the horn
    The horn can be honked with good intent before passing a cyclist. However, it is very unpleasant for cyclists because loud and it can also can have the effect that they move to the side because they got frighted.
  • Screaming
    Also screaming and other verbal and non-verbal communication are not needed.
  • Power Games
    Believe me, the balance of power is clear to every cyclist. It’s therefore not needed to pass very closely to show it…
  • Passing into traffic if crossing cyclist
    It’s very unpleasant and also dangerous if suddenly are driving two vehicles on two lanes towards you. So please wait with passing a car till you have passed the cyclist…

At the end everybody is profiting, if it’s a cooperation instead of a confrontation on the road. And that’s of course true for everybody including the cyclists ­čÖé

If you want to do something nice to touring cyclists
As a touring cyclists, you are also only a human which enjoys the small things. That could be, e.g.

  • If people talk to you at a rest area
  • If you get invited to a coffee or a cold drink
  • Or if you otherwise get positively surprised.

That’s it for the moment. Thank you for reading and driving safely. The next blog entry will again be a normal one :-).

All the best from Raglan,

Stefan


About Stefan

I'm a telecommunication engineer by profession and like to discover the world by bike. I think, that it is the perfect speed to move but still be in touch with the world and the people which live there. And I'm very happy, that my girlfriend Susanna is joining me now on those adventures. If you are interested in other journeys we did so far, please also check my website www.biketravel.net. Stefan, Switzerland


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