Posted by: fizzhogg | September 16, 2013

An Open Letter to Motorists

Dear motorists,

Hi. How are you? Hope all’s well.

Listen, I want to give you a little 411 about us cyclists. Now, I know our relationship runs from grudging respect to contentious to all out Jihad. But I feel like I have an idea for how to improve things.

When you pass us, and I’m talking only to those of you who try your best to be respectful, not those of you who pass already in white noise rage — honking, yelling, even throwing stuff our way — to those of you who move over for us… when you pass us, we absolutely appreciate your moving over to make sure in no uncertain terms that your vehicles in no way connect with our vehicles.

However, when you pass us… there is no need to move all the way over into the oncoming lane. We understand why you do, and we thank you, but really, there’s no need. See, when you move all the way into the oncoming lane, you are putting yourself and other possible motorists at risk.

More often than I care to think about, I see you move all the way over into the oncoming lane (thank you for your efforts), and then see you whip yourself back into our lane as another motorist appears headed your (our) way.

Not only does this endanger you, them, me, and everyone, but it causes something in negative our relationship… subconscious anger.

See, when you’re all the way over in the oncoming lane, and are forced to swerve back to avoid a life-threatening collision, this instills fear in you. And a sense of “Wow, I just nearly made the stupidest mistake of my life.” And this leads to the all-too-common human behavior of passing the buck. You don’t want to feel scared or stupid, so you immediately look for a place to put the blame… THAT CYCLIST!

“If that damn cyclist hadn’t been riding on the road that was built for us motorists, I would not have nearly orphaned my children and looked incredibly stupid in the process!” “Curse you, damn cyclist!”

We get it. But see, it was not our fault. It was yours. You were either being far too respectful of us, or else far too afraid of us, and moved far too far over — into the oncoming lane. There is no need.

When riding on a two-lane road without bike lanes, there is PLENTY of room for even the largest vehicle to pass us without incident simply by moving over 36 inches.

Yes, I said INCHES. If you are traveling in the center of the lane — which you should be all the time — only the widest vehicles are capable of actually making contact with us — if we are riding to the extreme right of the lane, which we should be doing all the time.

Therefore, even the widest vehicles with the widest side mirrors, need only move a maximum of three feet to keep both of us safe. That means maybe your left side tires cross the center line, but that’s it. Easy peasy, right?

Also… once you have passed us, there is no need to drive another 40 or 50 yards before moving back over into your proper space. Again, thank you for looking out for us, but again, this just increases the chances that you will encounter another motorist heading in the opposite direction, and therefore have to swerve back, and thus, take your fear and self-loathing out on us nasty cyclists who cause every motorist accident on the road!

A few car lengths (maybe 10-20 yards max) is sufficient before moving back over.

If you can work on these dimensions, I believe it will cause vast improvement in our relationship.

Thank you for your time,

That cyclist with the large tuckus


  1. We all experience similier drivers. What really makes me mad is here locally there have been several cyclest hit. They are almost always hit from behind. All too often the motor vehicle driver says “I didn’t see them”… and the driver is not even ticketed much less charged with negligence or vehicle manslaughter. Here in Texas the law is if you rear end another vehicle you are automatically at fault, you will be ticketed and the accident will be charged against you and your insurance. Why don’t they do that when drivers hit a cyclest?

    Drivers complain that bicyclist don’t always abide by the law. Yet how often do you see a car driver fail to make a complete stop or some other “minor violation”? At least locally bike riders are killed almost always by being rear ended, not when they have rolled thru a stop sign.

    Cars drivers need to:
    1. Be mindful they share the road with vulnerable road users.
    2. Respect all road users, we have the same right to the road as anyone has.
    3. Take responsabillity for the safe operating of there car.

  2. Can someone please publish this in the LA Times? Front page. LARGE font.

  3. Its good to see the same things are happening the world over. Here in the UK cycling is have something of a renaissance with all the success at the Olympics and the tour. This means there is even more of us out there on the roads on bikes. The government and local councils are trying to promote cycling and get more people out of their cars, but still people drive too close and too fast around cyclists. I ride to and from work every day in a cycling friendly city but it never ceases to amaze me what risks drivers are willing to take with my life to get just one car further in front. We only need a small amount of space and a little consideration for us all to get on together.

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