Crosswalks, Cars and Cyclists

Although I do most of my cycling in the street, I live in a community with lots of multi-use trails and I use them from time to time.  When I do, my biggest gripe is with motorists who block the way where the trail crosses a street.  Here’s what it looks like from my perspective:


I know he wants to turn right on red and he thinks he can’t see approaching traffic from behind the line, but he can.  I know because I sometimes travel this street in my car.  Even if he couldn’t see, though, it doesn’t make it okay to block the crossing.  When motorists behave this way, they force cyclists and pedestrians into making one of two very bad choices.

One, we can go around the back of the vehicle.  This is dangerous as it greatly decreases our visibility.  Other motorists do not expect to see us weaving between cars and we’re often hard enough to see to begin with.  When we show up where we’re not expected, it only makes it harder for them and more dangerous for us.

The truck is turning right on red.  He could easily see oncoming traffic from behind the stop line, but has chosen instead to block the crosswalk.

The truck is turning right on red. He could easily see oncoming traffic from behind the stop line, but has chosen instead to block the crosswalk.

Two, we can go around the front of the vehicle.  This is the lesser of the two evils even though it may force us into oncoming traffic.    Visibility is much greater out in front, so that’s the way I go every time I run into this situation.  That doesn’t make it ideal.

As a cyclist who is also a motorist, I know that it’s sometimes difficult to make those right turns on red without blocking the crosswalk.  If you find yourself in this situation, the best solution is to wait for the light to change.  Please don’t put other road users in harm’s way because the road is poorly designed and you’re in a hurry.  Wait for the signal to change.  It’s usually only a few seconds anyway, and you’ll be on your way again with less stress and the good feelings that come with cutting someone else a break.

 

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