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Friday, April 6, 2007

Open Letter to Drivers

posted by on April 6 at 9:56 AM

Just in time for summer, a few handy tips to help drivers navigate the road without mowing cyclists down or scaring the living crap out of us.

1. You do not have automatic right-of-way just because you are a) larger b) faster c) in a hurry or d) for any other reason. So don’t buzz us, pull out in front of us, or cut us off. Your inconvenience will last a lot longer if we have to call the police.

2. Honking is not acceptable unless we’re breaking the law and endangering ourselves or others. (Honking at a biker who crosses against the light on a completely empty street is like glaring at a jaywalker. It’s about your moral superiority, not our behavior.) Honking because we’re a) preventing you from taking a right turn or b) moving too slowly in a narrow lane where we can’t get out of the way will only make us move more slowly. I promise—just try it.

3. If you yell, “Get on the sidewalk!” you’re an asshole.

4. “Yield” means yield to oncoming traffic. It does not mean oncoming traffic (yeah, that includes bikes) must yield to you. That means that when you’re coming off the freeway, for example, if there’s a biker “in your way,” you have to yield to them, even if you’re really, really in a hurry, or on your cell phone, or hurrying really fast to make the light.

5. Zooming past us does not prove you’re bigger. We know you’re bigger. It just makes you look like an insecure douchebag.

6. Pulling out of driveways without looking for bikes as well as cars endangers bikers. Especially when it’s rainy or we’re rolling downhill, it can be extremely hard to stop when you pull into our path.

7. Even if you’re not parked next to a bike lane, never open your door without looking. You can’t just assume that the biker whose path you open your door into will be able to get out of your way in time.

8. Don’t keep rolling forward into a biker’s path, even if you’ve made eye contact with him or her. You’re sending a mixed signal. Just stop and wait for the biker to pass.

9. The law says you’re supposed to keep your car three feet away from cyclists. That means if you can’t both fit in a lane, you have to wait until you can go around. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge how close you are to a biker, so play it safe and give then plenty of room.

10. If you yell at cyclists, you’re an asshole.

11. Don’t try to “outrun” a cyclist who’s going straight when you’re turning left into their path. They have the right-of-way, just like cars do. You can wait.

12. Bikes are a lot like cars — we have the same rules and the same rights as you do. The difference is, if you hit us, we’re not surrounded by two tons of steel. Don’t drive as if you’re in a bubble.

Two further notes: A) This is not an open thread for “but bikers break the law too!” whiners. Generally, when bikers break the law, they inconvenience drivers but don’t threaten their safety. Dangerous drivers (and they’re everywhere) endanger our lives. B) If anyone has anything to add to this dashed-off list, I encourage you to do so in the comments.

RSS icon Comments


I have a vision of flames 50-feet tall, emanating from this thread.

Posted by seattle98104 | April 6, 2007 10:08 AM

I've never understood the concept of point number 1. In almost any other mode of transportation (boats, planes, trains), the bigger vehicle has the right of way. What makes bicyclists so special?


Posted by Cochise. | April 6, 2007 10:09 AM

(Honking at a biker who crosses against the light on a completely empty street is like glaring at a jaywalker. It’s about your moral superiority, not our behavior.)

Seelective reespect for the law. I like it. All the benufitz of a mowtor veehickle, but not the responsibillitees.

Posted by George W. Bush | April 6, 2007 10:12 AM

"Honking is not acceptable unless we’re breaking the law and endangering ourselves or others. (Honking at a biker who crosses against the light on a completely empty street is like glaring at a jaywalker. It’s about your moral superiority, not our behavior.)"

Except that you ARE breaking the law when you cross against the light on an empty street, y'know. You don't get a pass for being on a bike. Frankly, I think your defense of cyclists running red lights is based on your sense of moral superiority, not drivers' behavior.

Posted by tsm | April 6, 2007 10:15 AM

Great. Here come the mouthbreathing anti-bike comments in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Posted by Whatevs | April 6, 2007 10:17 AM

Cochise (#2), it's in the Washington Revised Code. Bicycles are vehicles, just as cars are, and have the same rights of way. The traffic laws are well-designed to prevent accidents IF THEY ARE FOLLOWED. That goes for bicycles and cars too.

George Bush (#3) often bikes have to cross a street against the light because the lights don't trip when a bike goes over the embedded induction loop. generally, though, I'd agree with you that bicyclists (overall) should do a better job of following the traffic laws.

Posted by Sachi | April 6, 2007 10:17 AM

"12. Bikes are a lot like cars — we have the same rules and the same rights as you do. The difference is, if you hit us, we’re not surrounded by two tons of steel."

I'm confused. Isn't the difference the fact that bicyclists get to ignore red lights and stop signs?

Posted by bespoke wheels | April 6, 2007 10:20 AM

I try to be cognizant and aware of other vehicles on the road, including bicycles. However, I'm a lot more inclined to give respect to cyclists who actually follow the rules of the road.

The ones who give the worst name to cyclists are the Critical M*ssholes. Here's a story from the SF gate whereby a recent rules-of-the-road-be-damned rally turned ugly.

Confusion, however, quickly turned to terror, she said, when the swarming cyclists began wildly circling around and then running into the sides of her Toyota van.

Filled with panic, Ferrando said, she started inching forward until coming to a stop at Post and Gough streets, where she was surrounded by bikers on all sides.

A biker in front blocked her as another biker began pounding on the windshield. Another was pounding on her window. Another pounded the other side.

"It seemed like they were using their bikes as weapons,'' Ferrando said. One of the bikers then threw his bike -- shattering the rear window and terrifying the young girls inside."

Posted by chunkstyle | April 6, 2007 10:20 AM

13. Use your fucking turn signal!

(Thanks, ECB, for finally using your righteous indignation for something positive).

Posted by DOUG. | April 6, 2007 10:21 AM

1. You do not have automatic right-of-way just because you are a) larger b) faster c) in a hurry or d) for any other reason. So don’t buzz us, pull out in front of us, or cut us off. Your inconvenience will last a lot longer if we have to call the police.

1 - last night I was walking home, and was at a crosswalk with another pedestrian. As we started walking across, a driver made a right turn across our lane, maybe 4 feet in front of us, all in a hurry to ... wait at a traffic light one block further on, where we both got to the intersection before said driver could proceed.

Two lanes, people! You are NOT allowed to make a right turn while we're in the street unless we're MORE than one lane from you. In other words, wait. The red light will still be there waiting for you.

2. Honking - this is rude in Seattle too. If you want to honk, move somewhere else. If where you moved from is full of honkers, get over yourself and adapt to where you are now.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 6, 2007 10:21 AM

"Isn't the difference the fact that bicyclists get to ignore red lights and stop signs?"

They also get to exhibit boundless smugness. Mustn't forget that.

Posted by tsm | April 6, 2007 10:23 AM

Good list. Can we post one for the safety of pedestrians next? I'm tired of being nearly mowed down in the middle of an intersection by some over-caffeinated soccer mom who can't bear to wait the entire 20 seconds it takes to cross the street with the all-way stop on top of Queen Anne.

Posted by Chris B | April 6, 2007 10:23 AM

Sachi @6: sorry, I see cyclists running red lights that are not controlled that way all the time. Likewise stop signs. And if there is an unresponsive induction loop, you can hop off and hit the pedestrian crossing button if you're in the right lane.

Posted by bespoke wheels | April 6, 2007 10:25 AM

@6 I understand that; kayaks are vehicles, just as a tugboats are, and they don't have the same rights of way. Same goes for a Cesena and a 747. These vehicle laws are well-designed to prevent accidents.

Posted by Cochise. | April 6, 2007 10:25 AM

Seattle sucks as a biker's town because of the crazy SUV drivers talking on cell-phones.

Someone should pass a law making it illegal to talk on the cellphone while driving.

Despite the steeper hills, SF was a much better palce to bike around...

Posted by Andrew | April 6, 2007 10:25 AM


So bikes are the only ones running red lights? Gee, might want to question why the city just installed cameras to catch all those drivers obeying the law.

Posted by Whatevs | April 6, 2007 10:25 AM

"5. Zooming past us does not prove you’re bigger. We know you’re bigger. It just makes you look like an insecure douchebag."

I typically zoom around bikes when I'm passing them (at a safe distance) because on most two lane roads that have a parking lane, there is a limited amount of time to pass safely. This makes me seem insecure? I don't get that logic...

Posted by if you please | April 6, 2007 10:25 AM

Re question on #1. Moving vehicles on roadways do not have right of way over any smaller vehicles by virtue of size alone. Mr. SUV must, in certain situations, yield to motorcycles, and Pintos, as well as bikes, but if a 747 comes down on 99 he should get the hell out of the way.

Posted by Ed Merckz | April 6, 2007 10:26 AM

There are plenty of jerks on two wheels -- they aren't just confined to autos.

I follow the rules of the road and am happy to share with bicyclists who observed the rules of the road.

I do give a horn and finger to riders who pass a line of cars waiting for a light and them jump into the intersection (before the light is green if its clear), thereby clogging up the lane for drivers. That's rude and thoughtless.

Posted by terrell | April 6, 2007 10:27 AM

prententious garbage like this makes me detest ECB even more than I already do. congrats.

Posted by investigatory journalist | April 6, 2007 10:27 AM

#11: "So bikes are the only ones running red lights? "

The quality of strawmen is declining around here.

Posted by bespoke wheels | April 6, 2007 10:29 AM

Here is my one rule for cyclists: If you can't handle riding in and with traffic, please do us all a favor and stick to the Burke Gillman Trail.

Posted by Whatevs | April 6, 2007 10:30 AM

If you dress like this, you're an asshole.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | April 6, 2007 10:30 AM

@16 - are you illiterate? Please point to where I even remotely implied such a thing.

Posted by tsm | April 6, 2007 10:30 AM

"Honking at a biker who crosses against the light on a completely empty street is like glaring at a jaywalker."

Uh, the street ain't completely empty if there's a car there honking at the biker. Duh.

I'm all for sharing the road. My main beef with bikers is when I'm about to turn left, and a biker passes me from within my own lane on my lefthand side. I'll share the road if you obey the rules of the road.

Posted by him | April 6, 2007 10:32 AM

(Sorry tsm: my comment about strawmen referred to Whatevs@16, not your comment 11.)

Posted by bespoke wheels | April 6, 2007 10:33 AM

I have a feeling Erica's lack of diplomacy will only inflame tensions between motorists and bikers.

ATTENTION ALL CAR DRIVERS!! I'm a sensible bicyclist with a wife and kids who respects cars and generally tries to stay out of their way. Please keep you eyes open for me on the road. Thanks.

P.S. to Seattle - honking, when done properly, can be a critical, even life-saving form of communication.

Posted by Sean | April 6, 2007 10:34 AM

My boyfriend and I sometimes play a game where we count the number of bikers we see on a given trip about town, and then calculate the percentage of them who are (1) wearing a helmet and (2) do not break a traffic law during the time we can see them. The percentage usually about 25%.

I definitely think more people should be bike-riders, I just happen to also think that bike-riders should follow safety and traffic rules.

Posted by Julie | April 6, 2007 10:34 AM


So this would also apply to pedestrians I presume. Cars can literally run over us because they're larger and therefore have right of way? That rule sounds like a really good way to cause more accidents, not prevent them.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 6, 2007 10:36 AM

@28 - uh oh, you just talked about bikers breaking the law! Didn\'t you see ECB\'s demand that you not make her take what she dishes out here?

Posted by tsm | April 6, 2007 10:38 AM

I usually don't get involved in anything that requires more than a lame dick joke, but please allow me:

What the fuck is the point of this post? Stir up a flame war? Well, we've gotten the results that could have been expected. One half saying "drivers are all SUV driving soccer moms who should get off their cell-phones. [i.e. white-bread Republicans]." The other half responds with "people riding bikes are stinky bums who don't respect the laws. [i.e. hippies]"

How about this for a compromise: Drivers, Bikers don't be assholes. Follow the rules and don't get your panties in a bunch because you can’t punish someone who is pissing you off. Act like FUCKING ADULTS.

Posted by The_Pope_Of_Chili_Town | April 6, 2007 10:39 AM

waa waa i'm a seattle car driver & it isn't FAIR! if the bicyclist doesn't obey every single niggling law that i routinely ignore i should get to mow them down & spit on the their broken corpse!

i ride up between lanes to the red light because i don't FEEL i should have to suck down your exhaust so your sense of fairness isn't offended.

Posted by Max Solomon | April 6, 2007 10:40 AM

Goddamn you Northwest retards need to just fist fight more often. I'm serious. Does everything have to be an intellectual dicourse? Fuck any rights you perceive yourself to have based on your fucking "Mode of transit" identity. You can get it.

Myself? I'm a pedestrian. My father was a pedestrian like his father before him. Any asshole on a bike buzzes by me too close and they will always catch an elbow and then we'll proceed from there.

Posted by Walkers Rights Now! | April 6, 2007 10:42 AM

People often forget that bicyclist aren't licensed, so there is a huge variety of skills on the road and you AS A LICENSED DRIVER have a responsibility to not kill them. Yes, there are obnoxious uber bikers, but there are also kids and newbies and people who aren't that confident on bikes. You should probably just assume someone on a bike doesn't know what they're doing.

I won't ride a bike in this town because I don't know what I'm doing and I'm scared to. Everyone I know who rides a bike has gotten hit/run off the road multiple times. I just don't have the skill and confidence to avoid that.

Posted by exelizabeth | April 6, 2007 10:42 AM


Vehicles: non-living means of transportation.

Most pedestrians are living. It seems like a good way to cause more accidents, but how many car/bicycle accidents happen everyday compared to boat/smaller boat - plane/smaller plane accidents? We need to change the laws. Save lives, you know?

Power to the bigger.


Posted by 80s Movie | April 6, 2007 10:43 AM

You should get a real job at a legitimate publication. Then you could buy a car and stop whining!

Posted by Oh Please | April 6, 2007 10:46 AM


Please don't ever go into politics. You suck at diplomacy. Seriously. You are a detriment to almost any cause you "support".

#27 I am with you. Driver's please know there are nice bikers out there who don't hold you in contempt and just want to share the road peacefully and with mutual respect. Please don't punish us for ECB's holier-than-thou attitude.

Posted by Johnny | April 6, 2007 10:47 AM

Princess EB's petulance: "Two further notes: A) This is not an open thread for “but bikers break the law too!” whiners. Generally, when bikers break the law, they inconvenience drivers but don’t threaten their safety."

Is their no end to her nonsense? There are so many cyclists who break traffic laws that cyclists in general are an unpredictable presence on the road and therefore a safety hazard. (I'm a cyclist.)

Posted by bespoke wheels | April 6, 2007 10:47 AM

Wow, so much anger from the auto drivers.
I will run a red light on my bike when there is no cross traffic because it puts a cushion between myself and the cars waiting behind me, allows me to build up speed and keep with the auto flow, and makes me more visible to the cars further back in line. I suppose that's a selective
interpretation of the law, and I'll certainly pay the ticket if cited, but it does make for a safer ride.

Posted by Ed Merckz | April 6, 2007 10:48 AM

"I suppose that's a selective interpretation of the law,"

Are you sure? We'll wait while you call Alberto Gonzalez. The two of you can search for the truth and get back to us.

Posted by bespoke wheels | April 6, 2007 10:52 AM

I realize that it's futile to complain about bicyclists (who has an air of superiority, exactly?), so I will just say a big thank you to that one out of every 10 or so that I enounter (as a driver and pedestrian) who appears to have even the slightest idea that traffic laws exist and actually apply to them. I am happy to share the road with you.

Posted by A-Train | April 6, 2007 10:54 AM

can we talk about a less-divisive, preachy topic, such as abortion or religion?

Posted by voice of reason | April 6, 2007 10:56 AM

why honk at a bicyclist running a red light? sure, maybe they shouldn't be doing it. but Erica's right... it is some strange righteous indignation or jealousy. do you honk at other driver's who don't make complete stops at stop signs? do you honk at other drivers who speed?

maybe cyclists shouldn't run red lights (unless absolutely necessary). if they do, maybe driver's shouldn't honk a them (unless a matter of safety). but if there is running and honking, you can be assured there will angry posting...

Posted by infrequent | April 6, 2007 10:57 AM

I promise to always follow the rules listed here by ecb, and I include 3 feet from my dog's head which is often lunging out the window barking at bikers.

All I ask in return is that when I'm walking my dog, legally, on the sidewalk, leashed, that bicyclists let me know they are coming up behind me somehow. You're too quick for me to hear you sometimes, and you startle me and my dog. Startling my dog leads to her jumping in front of you in fear; it'll probably hurt you more to fall than her. She ran into a car once, and had nary a bruise.


Posted by Tiz | April 6, 2007 11:01 AM

Imagine that, I thought cyclists didn't bother to stop at red lights or stop signs because it was a pain, now I see that they're really just looking out for everyone's safety!

I work in Fremont and just about everyone here has almost been nailed at least once (and often several times) by cyclists who not only didn't stop at red lights/stop signs, but figure they have the right of way over pedestrians.

Posted by bob | April 6, 2007 11:02 AM

I hate bicyclists. When I'm driving and I have one riding in front of me in my lane, I can't pass them, because I'm afraid I'll hit them, so I have to drive super slow behind them. AND most of them don't really obey the rules of the road any way, which pisses me off even more. Why can't they just use sidewalks?? OR why don't we just get some decent bike lanes so they can get the hell out of my way?!

Posted by stupid bikes | April 6, 2007 11:09 AM

@44: Were you and your dog on Eastlake Avenue at 8:40 this morning?

Posted by DOUG. | April 6, 2007 11:10 AM

seriously: why do driver's feel the need to honk at bicyclist's who run red lights? do you honk at other law breakers that do something that does not affect you?

Posted by infrequent | April 6, 2007 11:14 AM

I don't care whether cars or bikes or pedestrians occasionally bend the rules around stop signs so long as they're paying attention to what they're doing and they aren't endangering anyone. Complaining about bikes that don't come to a complete stop at an intersection while ignoring the near-univeral "California stops" of cars is stupid, just as complaining about California stops is stupid--except in the cases where that behavior is actually dangerous.

I drive, walk, and--usually, when my bike isn't in the shop because someone in a car wasn't paying attention and hit me--commute daily by bike. I observe all the rules of the road. I avoid sidewalks and ride with traffic as if I were a slow-moving car. Yet for two blocks, my commute forces me onto a sidewalk designated as a bike trail, in an area with no safer access on the trail. One guy didn't look right before turning into traffic from an apartment complex driveway--basically performing a California stop--and hit me on the sidewalk where I had 100% right of way and which is heavily trafficked by bicycles (including the two cyclists right behind me who were able to stop in time).

Rather than bitch about clueless drivers, something to which I'm fully entitled given this experience and what I see every day, I can accept that one guy had a bad moment and didn't pay attention, and be glad that my injuries aren't worse. But I do wish drivers would pay more attention, and I do wish that biking facilities did not often create dangerous situations that could be easily avoided with better planning.

Posted by Cascadian | April 6, 2007 11:14 AM

I don't own a bike; sometimes I'm a driver, sometimes a pedestrian. When I drive, I give bicyclists plenty of room. In exchange, may I ask that they please stay off the sidewalks?

Posted by Erik | April 6, 2007 11:14 AM

"7. Even if you’re not parked next to a bike lane, never open your door without looking. You can’t just assume that the biker whose path you open your door into will be able to get out of your way in time."

Wait, you're dumb enough to ride close enough to parked cars to get hit by an opening door? Um, most drivers learned long ago to give parked cars enough space to allow for opening doors.

If you ride into an opening door (potentially mauling the driver who is exiting, it should be noted), you have only yourself to blame, you jackass. All this talk about how bikers have road rights too? Yeah, you've got the whole lane -- try using it.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | April 6, 2007 11:20 AM

@47 no I wasn't. I was still in bed. was there a crazed dog?

Posted by Tiz | April 6, 2007 11:23 AM

While we're at it, can we say that vespas and scooters , should also be treated as legitimate vehicles by other drivers. And don't forget , it actually takes a motorcycle license to ride anything over 50cc.
As a scooter rider, if I didn't assume no one can see me, I would have been killed by now.
Thanks Erica for writing this.

Posted by Frenchy | April 6, 2007 11:25 AM

@51 Legally, if you open your door and a cyclist hits you, it is your fault. Legally. Just saying.

Posted by infrequent | April 6, 2007 11:25 AM

OK, I am in a 2000 pound vehicle traveling 30 mph. You are a 130 pound girl on a oversized childs toy traveling at 3 mph crossing in front of me. If I hit you, I may break the law, I may have a fine, I may even go to jail (doubtfull), but YOU will be DEAD. Who gets the better end of the deal?

"Right of way" when applied to pedestrians and bicycles in no way reflects reality but rather is an attempt to codify the need to protect inherently weaker forms of transportation. When I am at a crosswalk, I wait for cars trucks to stop before I cross. Call me a pussy, but I value my life.

Get a clue and realize that if your dead, you can't be near as smug. Accept the universal fact that larger vehicles have the real "right of way" according to the universal "you are a dumbass laws". If I can kill you, I have the right of way.

Posted by ecce home | April 6, 2007 11:26 AM


You hate bicyclists? Thanks for being part of the problem (just like cyclists who simply hate all drivers). Given that hate, it's probably pointless to continue, but I will anyway.

If you're behind a slow-moving cyclist, do what you would do with any slow-moving vehicle--pass on the left, when it's safe and legal, and provide sufficient passing room for the slow vehicle. If you can't pass safely, relax and wait for a passing opportunity.

Your wish for people to ride on sidewalks is a murderous one, because sidewalks are dangerous for bikes, and bicycles on sidewalks are dangerous for pedestrians. Cyclists don't have much reaction time when a vehicle fails to see them and enters the sidewalk illegally--trust me, I know. Visibility is reduced for all parties. The road is much, much safer.

Bicycles are not in your way any more than any other vehicle, and have just as much legal and moral right to use the road as you do. Bicycle lanes are often more dangerous than the main part of the road, and bikes turning left or going straight at a right-turn only lane must leave that lane to properly navigate intersections. So long as the bike is staying as far right as is safe, they are following the law. Given obstructions and obstacles such as debris, storm grates, parked cars, blind driveways, and so on, this often means a bike is safest by taking the lane, even if that inconveniences cars. As a driver, you cannot see most of these obstacles, so you can't just assume that a cyclist who is delaying you for a few seconds is breaking the law. 99 times out of 100, they're not.

Posted by Cascadian | April 6, 2007 11:27 AM

51. we have a law in Washington State that says, “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.” (RCW 46.61.620)

Posted by Ed Merckz | April 6, 2007 11:30 AM

yo, for everyone that says "oh bikes should be off the road on the sidewalk" and everyone else that says "oh bikes should be off the sidewalk on the road," how about this fair compromise: dedicated bike lanes? nothing really revolutionary, but it would make a lot of difference.

Posted by Cook | April 6, 2007 11:31 AM

This has been a nice pissing match. How do we decide who won?

I'm a dedicated bike commuter, and my basic strategy is to assume that drivers are trying to kill me at all times, either through active malice or distracted ignorance. This isn't a moral judgement about all drivers, or even about most drivers; it just happens to be a useful means of self-preservation when I meet a driver that *is* trying to kill me. Haven't had a serious accident yet [knock on wood], and I attribute this to my studious paranoia.

@51: Most bicyclists I've seen getting too close to car doors are trying to be nice to drivers; this is usually a sign of inexperience, but it hardly merits your derisive response. They don't want to clog up traffic by taking the lane, but there isn't enough room to stay out of traffic and avoid flying doors. Given the choice between backing up a big line of cars (often inciting all sorts of risky behavior from pissed-off drivers) and relying on a minor courtesy from people in parked cars, you can see why many people ride a bit too far to the right. Seriously, all it takes is a glance in the mirror.

Posted by Bryan in the UK | April 6, 2007 11:40 AM

@51, about car doors.

Yes, competent cyclists avoid riding in the area next to car doors. But many, probably most bike lanes are right next to narrow parking lanes so that cyclists using those lanes are right in the zone created by an open door. Yet many of the same people complaining about how cyclists should watch for car doors also complain when cyclists take the road instead of using the bike lane.

I personally think that everyone should (as in be legally mandated to) learn how to ride a bike in traffic before learning to drive a car, because they'd learn firsthand about the experience and have some insight into what is or is not safe on a bicycle. Drivers are generally ignorant of the cycling experience and laws related to bikes. It's true that many cyclists are complete self-centered jerks (though in my experience, not any more, and possibly less so, than the general population, simply for self-preservation reasons), but most of them at least have an idea about what a driver can and cannot see, because they are also drivers. Add ignorance with tons of protective and visibility-limiting steel, a sense of entitlement that is hardwired into our culture, and a pervasive sense of urgency that can lead to inattention and overcompetitive behavior, and it's no wonder cars are so dangerous to their drivers and to other people on the road. And just so you don't think I just hate drivers, I am one, and except for the ignorance I'm capable of succumbing to all of these other factors.

Posted by Cascadian | April 6, 2007 11:40 AM

I don't think the audience this rant is directed towards has the brainpower or intelligence to be aware of a blog like Slog, or even knows how to read, for that matter.

The best assholes are the ones on their phones who cut into the sidewalk, turn against the light and nearly hit you, and try to look straight ahead as if they didn't notice you or what they did even though they clearly do.

Maybe they won't notice if I key the side of their BMW as they roll past. They aren't going THAT fast.

Posted by Gomez | April 6, 2007 11:41 AM

45, I've never hit a pedestrian, but I'm looking out for my safety, not everyone else. Obviously on a bike this means not running ito any steel or flesh.

Bespoke, Alberto is tied up, but I was able to reach Monica Goodling, and while she has no public comment, she did say off the record, go for it, run the light.

Posted by Ed Merckz | April 6, 2007 11:43 AM

Lots of German cities have dedicated bike lanes along nearly every road. At intersections, the bike lanes have dedicated bicycle traffic signals. If you blow through the bike red light, you can be ticketed. Likewise for talking on the phone while cycling. Let's get that going in Seattle and we'll be one big happy family.

Posted by Hans | April 6, 2007 11:44 AM

Also, Ken Schram's codger rant on KOMO radio this morning was about how stupid he found Nickels' $250 million plan to make new bike lanes.

Posted by Gomez | April 6, 2007 11:45 AM


Dude, ECB's got your back. Seattle will soon be a Thunderdome utopia of "bicyclists only" proportions once she secures The Punitive Party nominiation and coasts to victory in the elections for Supreme Decider.

Remember: Laws allow us to supercede common sense. Until I can sleepwalk to and from work I won't be satisfied.

In other public concerns: Can't Al-Qaeda get their hands on a fucking nuke for Christ's sake? I'm so tired of listening to some people's kids complain about their shitty seats on The Hindenberg.

ECB...I hope aoo of your protuberences wilt from soy poisoning or worse.

Posted by I Was Touched By My Uncle, Sam. | April 6, 2007 11:46 AM

Everyone must always remember that Cyclists are the intermediate stage between human and pure energy and as such mere rules (or traffic regulations) do not apply to them.

Pay attention:

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | April 6, 2007 11:47 AM

@34 - Great point. I had to take a test to get licensed to drive a car, but there is no such requirement for me to ride my bike! I think most of the "problem" cyclists folks here are referring to are those who do not take the time and effort to thoroughly learn the rules of the road.

Also, I will honk, flip off and yell at anyone, whether car, bike, vespa or pedestrian, who acts like an asshole on the road. Simple as that.

Posted by Hernandez | April 6, 2007 11:50 AM

Also, you guys are a bunch of fucking ninnies.

Posted by Gomez | April 6, 2007 11:50 AM

Road Rage Suspected In Recent Clashes Between Pedestrians And Cyclists. SUV Drivers Reportedly Preparing For Armed Response.

Posted by Headliner And Upholstery Job $100 | April 6, 2007 11:54 AM

Riding a bike daily in the NW - Seattle and now Portland, for 14 years now.

About running red lights and stop signs: drivers, get over yourselves. YOU have to stop because YOU weigh 5000 pounds. If I run a light or a sign it is at my own, 200 lb risk. (So I rarely do. But I do.) To live outside the law you must be honest.

God bless considerate drivers, but Id rather be passed close by someone who I can tell is paying attention than have them trail me for blocks. The guilt kills me.

Bikers, you will never get everyone to look out for you. Look at the driver head-space in EVERY parked car you pass. Slows me down probably, but I have not yet tasted door. All my accidents (3) have been due to mechanical failure or my own boneheadedness (avoid riding on metal even when it is hot and dry out - that way you will do so instinctually when it is wet).

Cars are the Devil.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 6, 2007 11:55 AM

To sum up the arguements:

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

Anyhow, thanks, ECB! needs to be heard. If people cut each other a little slack out there we'd all be safer. And yes, bigger means more responsibility.

Posted by kueven | April 6, 2007 11:55 AM

Thanks Erica...Now I don't feel so bad about the bikers I've hospitalized. They were probably assholes anyway.

Posted by Cels & SUVs 4Ever! | April 6, 2007 11:57 AM

Some drivers are cornholes, but some are just elderly folks in big caddys who are blind as bats.

Good post. As a bycicler I think is true that drivers thinkt the roads is theirs only.

As a runner, I think maybe a pedestrain can post about cornhole bikers who think they own the right of way in sidewalks and parks as well.

Posted by SeMe | April 6, 2007 12:11 PM

@ 67. Agree completely. The point is that people get irritated with anyone on the road, whether car or bike or pedestrian, that either breaks the law or acts like an asshole. So people should obey the law and not be dicks. I am, of course, not holding my breath for that to happen, but, one can dream.

Posted by Julie | April 6, 2007 12:11 PM

...and bicyclists wonder why 95% of the public thinks that they're self-righteous assholes.

BTW - $250 million to go from 6000 bike commuters per day to 12,000 (if we're lucky) wouldn't pass any reasonably honest cost/benefit analysis - but I suppose the so-called "progressives" who post on Slog do at least get to feel morally superior.

Posted by reality check | April 6, 2007 12:14 PM

@75--It's not just bicycle commuters who benefit from these investments. Better facilities for bikes improve the experience for cars, too. Good bike facilities make bicycle actions more predictable, and safer. The number of accidents--each of which costs thousands of dollars to insurance companies and indirectly to local policy holders--is likely to go down. 6000 more bike commuters (and the goal is 12,000 more) represents 6000 fewer cars on the road, which benefits everyone including the people still in their cars.

It only doesn't pass a cost-benefit test is the assumption is that anything that benefits cyclists only benefits cyclists. It's the same assumption behind the idea that mass transit only helps the people who use it. It's an absurd idea that only sounds sensible because people assume anything that doesn't directly help cars is a waste of money.

Posted by Cascadian | April 6, 2007 12:27 PM

2. Honking is not acceptable unless we’re breaking the law and endangering ourselves or others. (Honking at a biker who crosses against the light on a completely empty street is like glaring at a jaywalker. It’s about your moral superiority, not our behavior.)

<flame on>
This is my #1 pet peeve about the majority of bicyclists I see on the road. A big theme to this post, and to biker's rights in general, is that bicycles should be treated like cars.

FUCKING ACT LIKE A CAR. If I am driving and I come to a red light with no cross traffic, I SUCK IT UP. I don't suddenly decide that I'm a pedestrian for the intersection and "jaywalk" my car through it. If you want to "jaywalk", get on the fucking sidewalk. If you want to be a car, don't run red lights.
</flame off>

I give bikes a lot of room and respect on the road, and I do try to treat them like cars when they are on the street. I don't think I've ever honked at a bike in my life. That said, when bikes don't act like cars all the time, it pisses me off. It's also dangerous because it means that they're not acting consistently. Consistency may be the hobgoblin of small minds, but it's also one of the major tools that makes driving (and biking) safe.

Posted by Scott | April 6, 2007 12:58 PM

I like how ECB doesn't comment on her own posts. It's like dropping a flaming turd on someone's doorstep and watching them stomp it out.


PS- Thanks for moving Grant.

Posted by Cochise | April 6, 2007 1:00 PM
Vehicles: non-living means of transportation.

Most pedestrians are living. It seems like a good way to cause more accidents, but how many car/bicycle accidents happen everyday compared to boat/smaller boat - plane/smaller plane accidents? We need to change the laws. Save lives, you know?

Power to the bigger.

Cochise, you're describing a situation where anyone who doesn't drive can't get anywhere. Where pedestrians and bicyclists will never be able to get across the street when there are cars on the road. It's stupid, insane, and dangerous.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 6, 2007 1:35 PM

I don't know about cyclists - I rarely see them anywhere - I am constantly avoiding crazy drivers when I walk around, though, so as a transit/walker, I have to side with cyclists. People treat their cars like isolation chambers and are constantly surprised to find pedestrians, other cars, traffic lights, parking meters, etc. in their paths.

IF people would treat cars like a mode of transport instead of an extension of their homes, it might not be so bad.

Posted by Soupytwist | April 6, 2007 1:36 PM

Yes, biking is healthier and morally superior. But SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY. I'm completely sick of cyclists whining about drivers. I didn't used to be. I will still defend responsible, law abiding cyclists, but given how many irresponsible cyclists I come across, there aren't many that get my sympathy.

Posted by Gitai | April 6, 2007 1:40 PM

Also, I'd like to add that, as a pedestrian, the driver stupidity depicted in ECB's entry is a problem for pedestrians too. I've seen turning cars honking at pedestrians in a crosswalk who have the walk signal and right of way... along with the usual cutting-off, rudeness and inattention.

Posted by Gomez | April 6, 2007 1:43 PM

And she's done. That thar burger is flame broiled to a crisp.

Posted by seattle98104 | April 6, 2007 1:46 PM

"The more you drive, the less intelligent you are."

Posted by DOUG. | April 6, 2007 1:50 PM

This thread is interesting. Its seems that all people who walk/drive/bike think they are always obeying laws, aren't inattentive, or aren't being assholes. and OBVIOUSLY everyone else is!

Wake up people.

We have ALL been assholes (at some point). We have all broken some law (by accident? by inattention? by not caring?), we have cut someone off, crossed the street when we didn't have the walk sign, opened our doors without looking, forgotten to turn on or off our blinkers, forgettten to signal when changing lanes, Sped past someone who was slow, etc.

Get over it. Give other people a break, no matter their means of transportation. Use your finger/honking/silly bike bell when appropriate and realize that we all have bad days.

Posted by Monique | April 6, 2007 2:09 PM

This slog post sucks. Mudede does it better.

Posted by Ebenezer | April 6, 2007 2:09 PM

Is fitting all your and your old aunt's groceries as well as said old aunt in the car at the same time dumb?

ps - here's your headline: Daylight Savings Time Arrives. Darkly-Clothed, Dufus, Blinder-Wearin' Pedestrians Instantly Safer in City's Crosswalks

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 6, 2007 2:09 PM

Erica's quest for 100 comments continues. This one might make it....

Fnarf says, a pox on all your houses. If you feel moisture from above, it's me peeing on your walking, biking, driving selves from my jetpack.

Seriously, Seattle is greatly lacking in any kind of community skill in any of the three transportation modes under discussion. We can't drive, we bike like petulant children, and we pedestrianize like early lobotomy patients.

Posted by Fnarf | April 6, 2007 2:11 PM

I need a backpack sticker that says "I'm a Pedestrian and I'm Packing!" so that drivers know my 44 is there if they cut in front of me.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 6, 2007 2:18 PM

This is so tiresome. Why not use some of that pent-up angst to lobby for more dedicated bike lanes or public outreach? But then, I suppose it's easier to sit in your office filled with rage and waste the day typing this boring post until you can leave early because it's a nice day out. I hate inconsderate drivers, but there are plenty of inconsiderate cyclists out there, too. One almost ran me over today AND almost caused an accident on 5th and Denny because he came barreling down the sidewalk and into the street against the red light. We all gotta get along, and cyclists shouldn't be given a get-out-of-jail-free pass just cuz they're on a bike.

Posted by RS | April 6, 2007 2:26 PM

I know this is waaaay down (and maybe somebody's already addressed it - didn't want to - literally - slog through 84 comments to find out), but Cochise @2 this assessment is not quite correct.

In both marine and aeronautical "rules of the road", the right-of-way almost always, with rare, specific exceptions, goes to the vehicle with the least amount of maneuverability and speed capability, which may or may not be the larger of two or more craft, depending.

For example, a free baloon has right-of-way over a glider, which has r-o-w over small propellor craft, which have r-o-w over large propellor craft, which have row over jet-propelled craft. Same goes for marine vessels: rowboats have r-o-w over sail boats, which have r-o-w over powered craft.

Now, as I said, there are defintely exceptions to these rules. For instance, a large bulk tanker may have r-o-w in shipping lanes over a smaller sailboat, which regardless of relative size differences, would be better able to avoid collision with the larger vessel.

Basically, the rights-of-way are established on the principle that the vessel or craft that can most quickly maneuver out of the way of danger must yield to vehicles with less ability to do so.

Posted by COMTE | April 6, 2007 2:27 PM

90. Because that's also a passive-aggressive approach that doesn't really solve the problem, which is a lack of respect for the road and the dangerous power of a motorized vehicle.

Posted by Gomez | April 6, 2007 2:44 PM

You carry a .44, Will?

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 6, 2007 2:52 PM

Six more comments and ECB gets the $100 gift certificate to TGIFridays!

Posted by Dan Savage | April 6, 2007 3:15 PM

honking is not 'acceptable' unless someone is breaking the law and endangering lives? really? Like an 'open letter to drivers' wasn't going to set off enough of a shitstorm just by the title alone it aspires to instruct everyone on acceptable honking protocol. I love honking. I love that everyone in Seattle freaks when people honk. I do it all the time. 'Hey biker, I love your big luscious ass'-HONK! 'Hey girl looking the other way please turn around'-HONK! 'Hey 'tard, your bike is slowing everyone else down you selfish cunt'-HONK! Honkhonkhonkhonkhonkhonk!!!

Posted by David | April 6, 2007 3:23 PM

I non't ave vaye bike.

Posted by Teeven Hmith | April 6, 2007 3:40 PM

I come from Portland originally where we mandated large numbers of bike lanes which went a long way to creating peaceful coexistence between bicyclists and drivers. Here in Seattle, there are no bicycle lanes and no one gets a long. We need bike lanes. But do bicyclists advocate strongly for them? No. Instead, the jackasses at Critical Mass inexplicably get together every month to do precisely the thing that pisses off drivers the most: assuming right-of-way, getting in our way, and breaking traffic laws. All in the name protests. It's not just drivers who are asshole, ECB.

Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2007 3:46 PM


So aren't bikes more able to "quickly maneuver out of the way of danger" and shouldn't they "yield to vehicles with less ability to do so."? We need to change the laws.


Posted by Cochise. | April 6, 2007 3:59 PM

After five years of bicycle commuting in Seattle I've taken to boo-ing crappy driving OR bicycling I've witnessed. It’s my way of compensating for my inevitable eventual death under the front tire of a VW or Honda.

Some of my favorites:

* About half of all drivers in the city are talking on the phone. Driving while talking on a cell phone is about as successful as driving while drunk.

* Cyclists talking on a cell phone while riding. Seriously? What assholes!

* Drivers refusing to use a turn signal, even where it would obviously help everyone avoid an accident, or even just move more efficiently. (Attention fools: Use your turn signal at four-way-stops!)

* Drivers who wait to make a left hand turn until it is unsafe and THEN peel out, forcing cyclists and drivers alike to panic stop. (A Seattle passive-aggressive exclusive crappy driving habit!)

* Drivers who make a crazy pass of a cyclist, assuming they’re faster, only to end up with the cyclist on their bumper the whole way. (Bonus points for drivers who hit the cyclists while attempting this!)

* Cyclists in full on spandex gear who refuse to signal in any manner while passing.

* Drivers with agonizingly bad parallel parking skills.

* Drivers in hybrids (particularly the galling SUV hybrids) who somehow believe themselves to be on a higher plane than other drivers or cyclists. You still pour Saudi Arabia into the damn thing. “It uses 10% less!” Who gives a shit – if you were environmentally serious you’d be off your fat ass and walking or cycling.

Let’s be honest here: the same traits that make Seattle-ites terrible drivers make them terrible cyclists as well. YOU are a terrible driver. Not him or her. YOU. You are so shitty, you don’t even know how shitty you are.

Happy to help Erica on her goal..

Posted by golob | April 6, 2007 4:09 PM



Posted by Bryan in the UK | April 6, 2007 4:10 PM

Hey, where's the confetti?

Posted by Bryan in the UK | April 6, 2007 4:12 PM

More importantly: Where's my fucking gift certificate, Savage?

Posted by ECB | April 6, 2007 4:16 PM

too many comments to comment... except that I want to see ECB get 100 comments and the grand prize.


Traffic laws need to be revised for bicycles, because they ARE different than cars. They rely on human power, not a gas-motor. Follow Idaho's laws: Bikes treat Stop Signs as Yield Signs, and Stop Lights as Stop Signs. Simple. Sensible. Bicycle.

Also, (1) Bikes can actually stop on a dime. Cars cannot. (2) Bikes don't kill. Cars do. (3) Bicyclists can communicate articulately with pedestrians and car traffic. Cars cannot. (!) Ergo, bicycles should be allowed to exercise their individual responsibility and judgement. Which doesn't mean endangering anyone, of course.

Cochise @2 suggests that boats follow "bigger is right" rules.. not true: The SLOWER boat has the right of way... sailboats over motorboats. On that logic, bikes should have the right of way. oh right, COMTE said it first and better than me. Thanks COMTE!

And you know, I think cars should also have an "I'm going straight" signal, so we can quickly determine the assholes from the normal people. (As opposed to an "I'm going queer" signal, I suppose).

@55: bikes aren't overgrown child's toys, you dork.

@59: I'm with you. All cars are trying to kill me at all times, and I ride accordingly. I'm still alive today.

Finally, just for fun, bicycles are the initial reason for paved roads in the first place. Read your history, it's true.
They also were the first transportation to allow the working classes to get around effectively, AND get out of the city on weekends, once we had weekends to get out on.
Also, bicycles inspired motorcycles, airplanes, and LSD. Not to mention great sex, no DUIs when getting home, and superior cardio-vascular health.


Posted by treacle | April 6, 2007 4:23 PM

It's surprisingly easy to whine/rage when other people are putting your life in danger for their convenience. I already did it once, and it seemed pretty effective; let's see if I can dig it out.

Yup, here it is - woohoo Google:

Someone questioned whether road rage exists, and noted that bikers often don't let cars pass when it seems they could. The latter first: if a smart biker doesn't think there's enough room for a car to pass safely, she will ride in in the center of the traffic lane. The biker is the one whose life is at stake, and the decision of whether a car can pass must be up to her. I think this is the one point that would be most effective to teach to all drivers for the safety of bicyclists. Road rage: it does happen. Very frequently in my experience. I was recently riding down Elliot Ave West (becomes 15th Ave W) in the right hand lane, for a trip for which there wasn't really an alternate route, in the center of the narrow lane. Traffic was light to moderate and there were two or three other lanes, but cars repeatedly passed me at ~40 mph within a foot or two rather than getting completely into the other lane. This could only mean that they somehow stopped considering me a human being out there, or thought I had no right to be there and wanted to teach me a lesson by threatening my life. This happens. People get into their cars, late for something because there of course isn't enough time for them to do everything they're expected to, and absolutely have to get where they're going as fast as they possibly can. They resent a person on a bike taking up the roadway, engaging in what they may consider a leisure activity, getting in the way of the important things they need to get done. They get angry at slow-moving construction equipment, too - why couldn't we spend more tax dollars and do all construction at night, or why couldn't this backhoe end up in front of someone with less urgent things to do - but they see bicyclists as making a truly selfish choice - why couldn't she get a car like everyone else?! There are many reasons for not getting a car, such as the fact that one less car with a bike in its place, in congested conditions such as happen frequently in Seattle, helps your precious traffic flow. There's also a cost difference that, in my quick calculations, could be as high as a factor of 100. And exercise, and the resulting sexy legs that make you even madder with envy and/or repressed desire. Along with the psychological effect of being in a steel and glass box with the power to go really fast with a push of a pedal, having a certain level of isolation from the outside, and zooming off to never again see those you pass, it's easy for you to forget that a bicyclist is a human who deserves safety, and easy for you to decide that the bicyclist needs to learn a lesson.

And yes, many bikers are impatient and dangerous too, and I would actually support licensing for all bikers in the city, with a fee that supports increased enforcement of traffic laws related to cycling.

Posted by Noink | April 6, 2007 4:26 PM

I. Am. Slow. congrats Erica!

Posted by treacle | April 6, 2007 4:32 PM

@93 - no, but I know how to use one and could if I felt like it.

Keeps you drivers guessing ...

And congrats on 100, Erica!

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 6, 2007 4:37 PM

I have almost the opposite problem in Olympia. Cars will often stop unexpectedly to give me the right of way, which causes just as much confusion. Just treat me like a car and we'll have a set of rules we can agree upon.

Posted by Marcy in Olympia | April 6, 2007 4:37 PM

To all three camps, I will clue you in to this very helpful tip:

The more bumper stickers on the car, the more wary to be of the driver inside.

The scatter-brained sloganeer wannabe automobilist is a deadly, deadly threat to driver, cyclist, and pedestrian alike. Put 'em on a cell phone while reading a MapQuest result and KERPLOWEEE! is not far away. "I Believe In Sasquatch And I Vote!"

Be afraid.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 6, 2007 4:38 PM

@76 -

Your premise is fine until this money is used to reduce capacity on existing arterials (the so-called "road diet"), at which point you ARE materially inconveniencing the 68% of Seattleites who still rely on cars for work trips to push bicycle mode split up from 2 or 3% of trips to 4-6% of them - hence my citing the need for an objective cost/benefit analysis.

Posted by reality check | April 6, 2007 4:42 PM

Oh, Erica, I think you deserve a PINA COLADA! On the HOWSE!

Treacle: paved roads predate the bicycle (and the car) by at least a thousand years).

Posted by Fnarf | April 6, 2007 4:59 PM

Hey, waydaminnut: Erica went over a hundred comments on "Frito Pie" too. I think Dan should buy her TWO Pina Coladas!

All this sunshine's making my dizzy. T-shirt weather. I'm gonna go get in my car, roll the windows down, and HUNT DOWN BICYCLISTS! Die, you freewheelin' sonsabinches!

Uh-oh. I've had one too many cups of coffee again.

Posted by Fnarf | April 6, 2007 5:12 PM

"...paved roads predate the bicycle (and the car) by at least a thousand years)."


Catch me if you can. I'm about to ride home!
(Making it easy for you: Republican -> Eastlake -> Lakeview -> Belmont -> Summit -> Home, all uphill.)

Posted by golob | April 6, 2007 5:29 PM

While travelling West on Pike, I recently went through the back window of a cab sans helmet at the Boren intersection. I had the right of way, the cab turned left in front of me. After 4 stitches in my face and 21 in my right arm, I'm lucky, in the X-Ray technician's words, "to not be drinking my meals out of a straw." To all of the invincible riders without helmets and lights: wake up.

Posted by w | April 6, 2007 7:21 PM

That's my pet bicyclist peeve, in the winter at least: no lights. GET A LIGHT. Seriously, you can't argue about moral superiority when you're dead. And I mean a REAL light, not a little red blinkie and not some contraption that came with your Schwinn in 1972: a big, heavy lead-battery light with front and back bulbs, just like a motorcycle has. And wear some goddamn bright clothing.

All winter long I drive home past invisible morons blithely pedaling down the middle of the street all in black. I don't want to run you down, but I CAN'T SEE YOU.

Posted by Fnarf | April 6, 2007 8:43 PM

Why is it that so many people have their panties in a bunch about biking? Could they honestly believe that the one bike for every hundred cars out there has any real impact on traffic flow? Are they really concerned about safety, when it's obvious that in the vast majority of cases only the cyclist's safetly is actually jeopardized? The truth is that the impact of bicycles on the rate and safety of traffic flow in Seattle isn't even a blip on the radar screen. So could any of you folks out there who are so upset about bikes in Seattle please explain yourselves? Could it be that your anger is misdirected? Could it be that your concern might be more reasonably focussed on the wreckless habits of car drivers, behavior that actually does destroy lives and property on a daily basis? As they say, just sayin...

Posted by dan bertolet | April 6, 2007 11:14 PM

Bikers get in the waaayyyyy. You can hear the car coming and then having to creep behind you, I know you can. And you don't move out of the way. Making poeple drive 8 mph behind you isn't saving the planet.

Posted by The CHZA | April 7, 2007 3:51 AM

Plain & simple - if (some) bikers didn't "inconvenience drivers", their safety wouldn't be threatened (in some cases)! I'm not defending anyone, I just believe respect needs to be mutual. Drivers & bikers need to share the road & not piss each other off. If drivers would be more careful around bikers & bikers would realize how much they affect cars, EVERYONE would be a lot safer!

Posted by mm | April 7, 2007 3:39 PM

Where is the law that says three feet distance from bikes? Seems bikes don't have exactly the same rules.

SMC 11.44.040 Riding on roadways.
Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed slower than
the normal and reasonable flow of motor vehicle traffic thereon shall
ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe,
except as may be appropriate while preparing to make or while making
turning movements, or while overtaking and passing another bicycle or
vehicle proceeding in the same direction. A person operating a bicycle
upon a roadway that carries traffic in one (1) direction only and that
has two (2) or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near to the left
side of the left through lane as is safe. A person operating a bicycle
upon a roadway may utilize the shoulder of the roadway or any
specially designated bicycle lane if such exists. (RCW 46.61770(1))

Posted by Kush | April 7, 2007 4:20 PM

It's right here: Just search for the phrase "three feet."

Posted by ECB | April 7, 2007 4:43 PM

ECB: I usually love it when you push an issue and create dialogue. This time, you were much less successful and I think all you've accomplished is creating more conflict between bicylists and drivers. You clearly had a personal axe to grind, and it showed. If you had written something like #27, I think it would have contributed more to what you are trying to do, which is create awareness.

@27 - I'm with you.

Posted by libbertine | April 7, 2007 5:02 PM

ECB - sorry but the link is to a driver instruction book and the 3 foot suggestion is listed under the section "Safe Driving Tips" as is

"Accelerating Accelerate gradually and smoothly. Trying to start too fast can cause your wheels to spin, particularly on slippery surfaces, and cause the vehicle to slide. With a manual-shift vehicle, practice using the clutch and accelerator so the engine does not over-rev or stall when shifting gears. "

Look cars should give adequate space, it just doesn't seem to be a city or state law. By your logic over-revving the engine is also against law.

Posted by Kush | April 7, 2007 6:26 PM


Posted by dantc | April 7, 2007 11:55 PM

116 and 117: Based on years of biking and driving in Seattle, it's clear to me that bikes have essentially zero effect on the overall flow of car traffic. 116, how often do you actually get stuck behind a bike, and when you do, how much time does it add to your trip, ten seconds maybe? Tell me exactly where in Seattle is this such a big problem? This so-called "inconvenience" caused by cyclists is blown way, way out of proportion. Why?

117: Are you saying (and you're not the only one) that if a biker annoys a driver, then that driver has the right to intentionally drive wrecklessly and endanger the life of that biker? That's like saying if you stick your tongue out at me, then it's OK for me to hold a loaded pistol to your head. When a person behaves like that, you take the gun (or car) away from them. But even so, I doubt that lack of respect for bicycles has much of a correlation with collisions. Aside from sociopaths, no one really wants to injure someone with their car. But still, most people sometimes forget that when they drive they are actually at the wheel of a lethal weapon, and too bad if you happen to be in the way, whether you're a bike, a pedestrian, or even another car. The kind of respect we need more of is this: Driving endangers others, so take responsibility and don't fuck around.

Posted by dan bertolet | April 8, 2007 12:38 AM

treacle @ 103-

You turd. You contradicted Camote. Where did you get your boating info? I'm a boat pilot.


Posted by cochise. | April 8, 2007 7:02 PM

@121. Several references on the law wrt overtaking bicycle traffic.

One is to RCW 46.61.110(2). Note that the statute doesn't say 3 feet is the proper cushion when overtaking on the left--says passing traffic must pass "at a safe distance to clearly avoid coming into contact with the pedestrian or bicyclist." Probably safe to assume that less than 3 feet is not enough to "clearly avoid coming into contact," though.

Another reference is to RCW 46.61.120(1), which states: "No vehicle shall be driven on the left side of the roadway under the following conditions: . . . (d) When a bicycle or pedestrian is within view of the driver and is approaching from the opposite direction, or is present, in the roadway, shoulder, or bicycle lane within a distance unsafe to the bicyclist or pedestrian due to the width or condition of the roadway, shoulder, or bicycle lane."

And with all due respect to ECB, cyclists and pedestrians are required to obey the rules of the road, too. See RCW 46.61.126 ("Nothing in RCW 46.61.110, 46.61.120, or 46.61.125 relieves pedestrians and bicyclists of their legal duties while traveling on public highways.").

You can read for yourself at:

Let's be careful out there.

Posted by OneMoreTime | April 10, 2007 4:48 PM

I am an SUV owner, motorcyclist (90% of my commuting is via Motorcycle which clenses my consicience as to the environment and my SUV) also I and my little family have been infrequent riders of mountain bike style bikes purchased mainly to enjoy leasurly rides on the public bike paths at local beaches, larger parks and such. Experiences with the hmmm avid super bicyclist on these bike paths is where my family and I have developed most our contempt for the bicycle purists in our area.

Assuredly our complaints have nothing to do with most of the red light runners and such that I am reading about here tonight. I care not the teensiest crapola what the operator of ANY vehicle does or what laws they break even just so long as in so doing they appear sober and in TOTAL expert control AND that they are not "snaking me" out of my fair turn ...face it , the sin of THAT species of snake tends to produce loathing and hatred in even the most devout ones. And I don't understand the honking and detestment towards bicyclists running red lights and what have you so long as they are not infringing someone else's "turn" or right of way. Live and Let Live is what I say. It's the same to me even if the operator of say a Ferrari 599 GTB or Ducati 1098 flashes by me as they go a zig zagging through five lanes of congested freeway traffic with their seemingly effortless agility, stealth and speed so much so that no one apparently even realizes what has transpired much less if they even had the slightest chance to in anyway adjust any aspect of their vehicle's motion in response... under such circumstances why should I or anyone outside of law enforcement even care? (I just call it free entertainment myself) And let's be real here, ANYONE who honks after one of these hi-tech offenders is doing it so belatedly thatas to honk only at the swervy streak of a fuzzy red light apparition ...the mere visual memory left in the mind's eye by tail lights that have friggen flashed so quickly and then just as quickly disappeared again into the endless stream of traffic. It might even remind some of Back to the Future's Doc jetting off in his time travel Delorion. The horn honker in these cases just ridicule their own POS ride and their comparitive imputant driving ability in comparison anyway. Why be mad at the good citizens of other dimensions? These aliens of other worlds that mean us no harm? Live and live is what I say. Same goes for these outlaw peddlers blowing by clogged lanes of more law abiding traffic waiting for the green light ... it's his ticket ,, just so long as he is out of my way by the time our paths next converge I am down with it! Live and Let Live!

On the other hand there is particular breed of cyclist I want to rant about here and to issue fair warning also should any read this. The breed I refer to has somehow got it into his or her head that they are REALLY SOMETHING special. They have frames custom sized apparently as large as they can possibly make use of. Everything they wear and every component of their machine looks EXPENSIVE. They are always on the clock, every run is timed and it is of crucial importance that nothing inhibits their precious run. Between sips from their hydration packs they yell out special directives to the lower life forms occupying their race track ... they yell "On the left" or "Your right" or whatever and the lower life forms are lame and stupid if they can't immediatley decipher, process, GET OUT of the superior racing athlete's way! This is IMPORTANT stuff happening here! This is the next Lance Baby that much should be obvious! Well lookie here Lance baby I am giving fair warning for myself and a thousand other fathers who feel the same, the next time you scare the crap out of grandma or crash my nine year old into a beach trash can, I am going to stake you out and hunt you down like a rabbid dog, and i am going to take your little $150 titanium shaft tire pump and ram it so far up where the sun don't shine that some bung hole specialist is going to own your home by the time he is done trying to repair the damage I inflict on your anal region. Put it this way, for the rest of your life you will have great anxiety every time you see a little racing seat or contemplate straddling it for bike ride ... Got that you Lance wanna be's? You yell "Right" or "Left" or whatever in THAT tone and demeaner again to the wrong dude (especially in the company of his precious family) and you can just brace yourself for lots of little stars and an odd numb dizzy slo Mo inbrain video of Sky/slab/Sky followed by a nice ride in an ambulance. Got that LANCE?

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