Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An Open Letter Cambie Road Richmond and its drivers.

Or how to avoid a shouty angry cyclist.
Repeatedly I have been called to a site about 5km down Cambie road in Richmond, just down the street from the IKEA that I am not shopping at is.  The job is tolerably mundane, but not the subject of todays opinion.  On paper the site can be reached by transit alone. Indeed on my second day there after a klutz induced flat I did just that.  However I live far enough away from reliable buses that a bike makes a logical part of my commute.

Rest assured this hobbit is not going to start bragging about his 20 mile commute uphill both ways in the snow.  No, I ride to Broadway station and take the train south to Aberdeen.  That places me on Cambie road and a nearly straight shot from my work site on nearly flat ground, not a bad condition for riding.  And yet I find I turn into a shouty cyclist.

Richmond, I know as a someone on a bike on a road I am potentially a new, scary, and oddly slow vehicle, but I am legally allowed to be there.  Richmond, you are generously paved and blessed with long lines of sight something that factors greatly into how I view your handling of my presence on your roads.  For context I live in East Vancouver, on Victoria drive, it is narrow with parking and hilly.  Cambie road is none of those things.

The length of Cambie Rd. I ride is four laned, the only hills are the over passes.  The lanes  are near as wide as some streets near my apartment.  The line of sight often nearly 1km or even nearer 2.  During the off peak hours I ride, if I am working early I am on the road at 6:30am, there can be many hundreds of meters between vehicles.  It is in this context I will ask you nicely please move fully into the other lane to pass me.

You have two generous lanes, of good clean pavement, in the morning, you have a great deal of lead time, you have no good excuse. And I mean all the way into the other lane.  Its not hard, mirror, signal, shoulder check, repeat, once done I will be nicely behind you.  If you do this I will polity just keep moving.

Now I don't want to have to use my outside voice on you so here are a few things to remember to avoid that.  The bike is wider than its one inch wide tires, act like it.  Slipping half way out of the lane is just sloppy and I will judge you, and harshly, you have two wide ones. Passing me without even leaving our shared lane makes me angry.  I will shout at you.  Also Signal.

Lastly don't act so surprised.  I have lights, often a reflective jacket, I am clearly in the lane.  Learn to watch for bikes, they are not going anywhere and watching for them rather than acting all shocked when one that has been in front of you for a mile is at last on your bumper will save you some property damage and a cyclists life.

So if you don't want angry shouty cyclists, signal, give plenty of room, and learn to see us.

1 comment:

Ien in the Kootenays said...

You'd think flat Richmond would be ideal for cycling. The full power of your outdoor voice would be a force to be reckoned with.