Cyclists are Not Unpredictable


Driving Around Cyclists

You often hear drivers taking about feeling nervous around cyclists because they think people on bicycles are unpredictable.  What?  Are we really that erratic out there?

Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve gone off on a pro-bike rant….so let’s do this.

I’d say we are much more reactionary than we are unpredictable.  We make sudden shifts in our motion due to potholes or obstructions on the road….we don’t swerve all over the place for no good reason at all.  Of course I’m talking about the majority of cyclists out there, and understand there are a few riders who do stupid stuff.  But in general, we ride in a basic straight line making adjustments for what lays in front of us…..with absolute certainty.

We are on bikes often weighing less than 25 pounds, and we definitely know that we’re surrounded by 5,000 pound vehicles.  Having intentional unpredictable behavior would mean we’re wanting to walk into a fight that we know we can’t win.  No cyclist is looking for that to happen.  Trust me, every cyclist wants to get home safely.

So if you’re in a vehicle, give us 3 or 4 feet and those “unpredictable” maneuvers are no longer an issue.  Look ahead of the cyclist to see if any potential obstructions lay in their way.  Keep cyclists on the brain.  Take a second to understand where our behavior is coming from.

A simple change in viewpoint, and a cyclist goes from looking unpredictable to behaving in a totally rational manner.

Drive with a mindset like this, and you’ll see that cyclists are incredibly predictable….it’s a guarantee that we’re going to do the things we do out there.

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3 Responses to “ Cyclists are Not Unpredictable ”

  1. Tom on August 4, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I hate to say it, but I disagree. I never know how a fellow cyclist of going to behave.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ll see someone switch sides of the road to ride against traffic, and then switch back over after they’ve avoided the traffic sign or left turn lane (usually dressed in full cycling attire on the way to a popular recreational trail).

    Or the people that weave in and out of parking lots and on / off sidewalks while switching sides of the road as it suits them, while randomly deciding to ride in the street.. all with no discernable reason (at least not to me). These are usually the bicycles that are screaming for oil on the chain.

    • Darryl (@lovingthebike) on August 4, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Thanks Tom, it’s totally okay to disagree. Yeah, there certainly are some people out there who are unpredictable….but I was looking at things more like the average. It would be great if all cyclists and drivers were predictable and paid attention to what they are doing.

  2. Paul Kirby on August 1, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I totally agree. Barring unforeseen problems, like a sudden blowout or an animal running into your path, we’re pretty much riding in a straight line in our meager portion of road. At least, that’s been my experience. Rare is the cyclist that is truly “unpredictable”. What is unpredictable is often how drivers react to us! You never know what kind of person is behind the wheel, what kind of a day they are having, and how they feel about bikes on the roads.


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