Why Cyclists ride up to the intersection, cars or no

I was baited into an argument at work today about this habit of bicyclists. I am offended every time it comes up and, not being a very good debater, was very frustrated by the end of it. So I thought I’d blog about it. Not because I’m better at blogging… no, just to be able to get the whole argument out without interruption.

Here’s the argument for the other (dark) side:
Cyclists should wait at their place in the queue at a red light or stop sign and not sidle up on the right by the curb.

Well. I could respond that cars pass me in my lane when I’m travelling by the curb all the time. I don’t think, out of all the thousands of hours I’ve spent cycling, I can think of single example of a car not passing me as I’m on my way.
I could say that, as a cyclist, I try to share the road. It is probably safest, for both cyclists and motorists, to assume that there is a dedicated cycling lane on the right at all times (especially when there actually is one). If I need to turn left I go into the left side of the lane and signal. And, even when I do that, cars coming up behind me pass me on the right and in at least two cases on the left in the opposing lane.
As I cycle every metre/yard is thanks to my own will power and personal exertion, not thanks to some petrochemical pathway to climate warming. Just me. Cars are zipping by me all the time and I’m not going to win any races. Isn’t it fair that I take advantage of that superior flexibility allowing me to pass them when I can?
Finally I could say that I have never seen a car queue up behind me when I’m stopped at a stop sign or red light. Never, not once.  And if I did queue up behind stopped cars how much do you want to bet there’d be someone beside me at the next opportunity?  If I did it ‘properly’ and ‘took the road’ by going in the centre of the lane do you think the motorist(s) behind me would be any happier?  I very much doubt it.

So why do car drivers feel this hypocritical road rage at cyclists who do this? I came up the following possible reasons/motivations:

  1. the motorist is afraid of hurting anyone not contained in their own half to one ton cocoon of steel
  2. it’s just not fair
  3. cyclists are idiots
  4. the motorist doesn’t like any non-polluting vehicle passing them (and don’t bother bringing up the breathing and/or farting of the cyclist because the motorist is doing that too)
  5. the motorist isn’t interested in sharing the road

So the answer is no! I’ll keep doing what I’m doing thank you very much.


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