A Message to Motorists #3

Dear Motorist,

Passing me is fine, I’m slower than you, I understand. Passing me close is unnerving, but I choose to assume you mean no harm when you do so (though giving me a little extra space is always appreciated). But impatiently passing me in a blind corner is extremely dangerous and puts at least three lives at risk (yours, mine, and the oncoming motorist’s or cyclist’s). Please, can’t you just wait a few seconds to pass until we get around the corner? Ten seconds is not very long when we’re talking about a person’s life.

Thanks from all of us bike riders, some of whom may be your friends, neighbors, or loved ones.

Submitted by Lief from WA

7 Responses to “A Message to Motorists #3”

  • Jim says:

    This picture prompted another thought. Typically, a motorist would have encountered a yellow diamond-shaped sign with “curve”-shaped arrows and a speed in mph.

    Most drivers hereabouts scoff at the speed listed on the signs, figuring they are better drivers, and can stick to the road on the curves when the road’s dry. And they probably can.

    What they don’t realize is that the speeds are posted such that you don’t “overdrive your sight line” — i.e. get going so fast you can’t stop for an unexpected “obstruction”.

    Like a slow-moving piece of farm equipment.

    Or a cyclist on that non-existent shoulder.

    I wish more people knew what those speeds mean.


  • Alan says:


    Great point Jim.

  • Scott Wayland says:

    Jim makes a good point. I sometimes ride along ( in a car) with a colleague on a twisty mountain road that I bike on a somewhat regular basis. He takes that road like a f$#$@%$%’–‘n La Mans racer–many blind corners. He would almost certainly plow into a cyclist on some of those corners given the speeds he travels. Fortunately, we have very few cyclists in my area and even fewer on this road. I’ve told him about the risks before, but it doesn’t seem to sink in. After seeing this post, I’ll be more forceful with him in the future. On the somewhat rare occasions I ride up this road, I make a point of telling him in advance that he might be passing me! Usually, I ride down the road long before he leaves town. Most other drivers I encounter–and I usually meet only a couple–are very careful.

    On a related note, I occasionally see cyclists on roads like you’ve shown in the photo, and they take a line WAY to close, even crossing over the center line. This is just plain crazy, and I know this can and has been fatal for some riders. Take the outside lane, folks.



  • Josh Lipton says:

    The above photo brings up memories of sprinting through narrow, curvy, no-shoulder sections of road in an attempt to get through without having to be passed. If the road section is extremely narrow and there is traffic coming from behind, sometimes I’ll attempt to call the lane mine, riding in the middle while glaring back at the car behind me to make it clear that there is no room to pass.

    These two approaches are defensive techniques that only seem to me like the safest choice some of the time. I only find it possible to “sprint through” or “take the lane” under the right circumstances and I wouldn’t want to claim that these are safe techniques for all cyclists to use. More often than not, as we know to well, we are at the mercy of the motorists following behind.

  • Annika DeJaegher says:

    The Canadian company Flashback makes a nifty little side flag that sticks out about a foot on whatever side you wish. It is a psychological tool that I have found invaluable, as the motorists don’t want to hit it and scratch their paint jobs! The flag is small, plastic, and is on a spring, so no damage would occur to their precious paint jobs. I have found this an invaluable tool for safer riding on US roads. Do any other riders use this “tool”?

  • Scott Wayland says:

    I saw a post some time ago on a recumbent site (Bentrideronline?) from a fellow that attached a section of pvc pipe with a silver painted foam tip like an arrow–looked sharp but only foam. He said he got a lot more space on the road!

    Seems like a good idea.


  • Chris from DE says:

    This reminds me of the one (and only!) time I heard the unmistakable sound of a car’s anti-lock break system being fully engaged from behind me — dzzzt dzzzt dzzzt. I was entering a sharp
    left-hand curve on a windy narrow road and the person behind me was going way too fast for conditions and was stomping the brakes in order to not hit me. There was no action for me to take since there was a drop-off and a deep ditch to my right. Thankfully the driver regained control in time to avoid hitting me. That was a cheap lesson — never do a morning exercise loop in commuter/driver territory. For my morning ride to work I now stick strictly to low-use roads with a shoulder, or a dedicated bike trail. I’m lucky in that my morning commute can be about 80% on bike trail.

© 2011 EcoVelo™