The little respect we ask: The Fixer prints some tips for drivers

Photo by Tino

The Fixer has been looking out for scofflaw cyclists lately - a media favorite. James Schwartz of The Urban Country had a conversation with The Fixer and thankfully may have convinced him that respect goes two ways. Here are James' points for how drivers can respect cyclists:

  • When passing cyclists, slow down and give them a bit more space. A pothole could be enough to cause us to swerve, and if you’re passing too closely, a one-foot swerve could put me right in your path.
  • When I’m making a legal left turn, please don’t get mad at me because you have to drive around me. I have every right to be in the left-turn lane, and getting angry at me doesn’t help, it only tempts me to break the law and do an illegal left turn to avoid angry drivers.
  • When I’m in the right lane, and a streetcar is in the left lane, please don’t try to squeeze through.
  • Help us try to get better cycling infrastructure. As a driver, it’s in your interest to have more bike infrastructure. It helps you to get to your destination without bicycles getting in your way. It also makes my ride more comfortable and encourages more people to use bicycles.
  • Please don’t park in the bike lane. It forces me into traffic which creates unnecessary conflict between drivers and cyclists. It’s bad enough that many of our bike lanes are in the ‘door zone’ of drivers. Please don’t make it worse by blocking the small space that we have.
  • When turning right, please check your blind spot to make sure I’m not passing you. I’ll do my best to pass you on the left side when it’s safe to do so, but sometimes the bike lane passes on your right. I’ll be cautious when I pass you, but if you could take a look, I’d appreciate it.
  • Please be sure to check your mirrors before opening your car door.


On the left turn point, also:

Please don't get mad at me as I make my way towards the left turn lane or median. Gaps in motor traffic can be scarce enough to make it necessary to start creeping my way over as much as half a km away from the intersection where I'll be turning left. I appreciate that you might object to my "riding out in the middle of the road", but that's where left turns are made from. On a related note, give me a break when I venture out towards the middle of the road in order to avoid turning right.

Oh and:

If you've just ducked into the right lane on a street with curbside parking, and expect to be able to use the intersection to cut ahead of a few cars in the left lane, don't expect me to give you way. Holding my position on the road not only helps me stay clear of car doors once the parked cars resume, but also makes it easier for right-turning cars to make their turn (often several of them on the red light we're waiting at) without our having to worry about hitting each other. Oh and on the topic of those right-turning cars, way to block their lane and hold up traffic, you inconsiderate prick.

Nice list hopefully one person will read it and take it to heart, but you know the rest will just complain cyclists are arrogant and that those rule breakers(or not real vehicles or aren't licensed) don't deserve any respect. Anything to get out of the torture of being forced to share something. That is most people for you - selfish to the bitter end.

Don't get too carried away there kiwano.

Although the last one kindof made me giggle a little, I can see where this could be a really big problem. All kidding aside, this is a great list, and I don't think it is too much to ask.

Great info! I only wish that ebikes would act either as a driver of a car or as a cyclist. You can't be both.

Great info! My only wish is that ebikes would either act as drivers do or as cyclists. Not both whenever it pleases them.

Not really, because for the most part cyclists are expected to behave like motorists.

If I can be so bold as to channel Hamish, the omens of the forthcoming e-pocalypse of a few years ago haven't amounted to much.

I have been cycling much longer than I have been driving (and I am in my 50s). I reatly enjoy cycling and always have. Drivers, by and large, are generally cognizant of cyclists and take care to give them the room they deserve on the road. Of course, there are those who are totally ignorant and treat cyclists as an annoyance. Having said that, I am greatly saddened when i see a very significant number of cyclists behaving poorly and displaying what is simply either a complete lack of knowledge of the rules of the road (Highway Traffic Act!!) or a blatant disregard for them.

Running red lights, going through intersections with stop signs without slowing down, riding alternately between road and sidewalk as a way to get around traffic, cutting in between a turning car and the sidewalk when the car is clearly well into the turn, flying by a streetcar while it is loading or unloading passengers, mistaking a bicycle path shared by all for a racetrack, riding down a one-way street in the wrong direction...etc..... You have all seen these cyclists.....and perhaps have even done may of the things i have just pointed out.

I am not saying that all cyclists behave like poorly trained monkeys, but enough of them do. These are the people who give us (cyclists) all a bad name and perhaps even help create a poor stereotype. Before you start groaning...........park yourself at an intersection other than a major node and just watch and record. It can be sad to watch because a lot of the cyclists truly do not see themselves doing anything wrong.

Hey, if it's a red light, it's a red stop. Juast because there is no traffic, doesn't mean you can go through on a red.

Road safety is a multi-faceted issue. The education and outreach has to be levelled at both the cyclists and the drivers of vehicles. The training materials for new drivers should in fact include a special section on sharing the road with cyclists. Cyclists (and I am sure i will get screaming here) should perhaps be licenced before allowed on the road......or at a minimum be required to take basic road safety training and provide a certificate of such training if involved in an accident. Cyclists should also be subject to enforcement and be ticketed as would the driver of a vehicle.

City officials need to take a hard look at the streets and their condition. Even the so-called bike lanes on some roads are a joke! Have you gone south on Sherbourne lately?

That's it..............

I agree with you about everything except the licensing, Random. Cyclists can already receive tickets, licensing wouldn't affect that. Licensing isn't a great idea. It's been tried before and it didn't work well. It would be a lot of new problems for very little gain. A much better idea would be to teach kids bike safety in school, like Herb is always on about.

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