Today I had one of these very very rare arguments with a passenger in a car. I was approaching a stop sign (and a traffic jam) and the car driver still tried to overtake me. But as there was no more room for the car he couldn't make it, the passenger opened the window and started shouting at me "Do you think the road belongs to you?!".
WTF?! Of course I don't think that, but I have to ride in a safe distance from parked cars and that's what I told him (regrettably I couldn't stay calm and started shouting back). And by the way, I think that the roads still belong to cars here and that's the real cause why all of us get stuck. Unfortunately. If you're not able to operate a car or any other vehicle in the rush hour without losing your temper, then you simply shouldn't.
Some months ago I was driving in a slow driving line of cars (during rushhour) and (as I always do in these cases), I was driving in the middle of the lane, as the car behind me can't overtake me anyway (I was driving directly behind the car in front of me). Anyway, the driver behind me still decided to try to overtake me, and continued driving (and honking) on the left of my side (and thereby also partly driving on the opposite lane). After about hundred meters (!) he gave up, as I continued driving in the middle of the lane.
It's illegal to ride on sidewalks in Spain, I believe. It's also bad because it's the domain of pedestrians. In the same way we expect drivers to respect our space as cyclists, we need to respect that of pedestrians. As a cyclist, I get peeved when I see someone riding on a sidewalk, some of them way too fast. I'm kind of ambivalent about children. As a matter of fact when I ride with my 8 year old daughter, she has to ride the sidewalk (Madrid sucks big, big rocks regarding bike paths and such). (Also, nothing personal against you, Catalan Reviewers).
Riding in the middle of the lane is much safer than riding close to the right. The car behind you won't attempt to pass you unless there's a good gap in the passing lane to the left.
Share the road! Is all I say. Then I leave. They may think they own it, but they don't. Perhaps there is some personal risk to me, when I "take the lane", but I think it's worth it, to ensure my safety. It also begins teaching car drivers that the roads are public space to be shared with other vehicles. There is something about sitting in a car that causes people to act as if they own the road. "My car is my castle?". Nope. In our country, you have a "provisional" right to drive. That means you have to drive safely, with concern for those around you, or that right can be taken away. As more cycles take to the road, the dynamics of the road are changing. Many car drivers are changing their driving habits, but some entrenched folks aren't happy. The rules of the roads are changing and they aren't gonna take it. So, watch out for yourself!
Be careful! I guess overseas you don't have to worry about someone pulling a gun out, but altercations with angry motorists always make me nervous. Agree with the sidewalk comments for the most part; unless you're a child or the road is particularly dangerous. Enough drivers already think bikes belong on the sidewalk; I don't want to reinforce that incorrect assumption.
In fact you're right, Trisha. We don't really have to worry that somebody will pull out a gun. But still, something like that happened last year:
A 19-year-old car driver carelessly overtook a 40-year-old cyclist in a way that they nearly crashed. The cyclist tapped his forehead at him (I don't know if you say it like that in English - anyway it's not as but as giving so. the finger, but still not nice) and then the driver held him at gunpoint..
But well, if I would be scared of such news, I couldn't leave the house at all ;-). Still not a bad idea to try to de-escalate the situation.
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