Commuting really sucks right now - for everyone. It's raining, it's getting darker, and there's still construction everywhere. At least the garbage strike is over, eh?
I have some helpful suggestions for those motorists who choose to avoid the congestion by driving on the city's designated bike routes.
Secondly, please please please learn how to use traffic circles and roundabouts properly. They're not just a traffic calming measure (like a speed bump), they're actual road features with actual rules (like a stop sign.) Here's the
- ALWAYS go around the circle in a counterclockwise direction (i.e. turn right into the circle.) Yes, even if you're turning left. Just go 75% of the way around the circle before exiting. I have almost been hit several times by people who look directly at me as I approach the circle, signal left, and then cut across my path.
- Yield to vehicles already in the circle. That includes bikes.
- It would be very helpful indeed if you could signal your intended direction as you approach and enter the circle. I believe some of you have flashing lights on the sides of your vehicles that indicate your intentions to other traffic. Could just be one of those urban legends though.
(A polite word to those of you who let cyclists across first, even when we get there after you or you're already in the circle. It's extremely nice of you, and I do appreciate the thought - especially when it's raining or I'm trying to maintain my momentum up a hill - but ultimately it's easier and safer for everyone if we all follow the same rules all the time.)
Thirdly, please signal your intentions through your lights, road position and movement, not by hand gestures. Car windshields are very reflective and I can't always see your face and hands, especially when it's dark. I also have to keep my eye on all the other vehicles on the road. So if you're waving me across while you keep inching forwards, I'm going to assume that you're not stopping. If you come to a complete stop then I know what's going on and we won't have to do that frustrating dance when we both lurch forwards at the same time and then both stop.
There are good and bad drivers, just as there are good and bad cyclists. I play by the rules - I respect traffic signals, stop signs, and traffic circles1 and I ride defensively, never aggressively. Overall, cycling in Vancouver is much safer and more pleasant than in Glasgow, where I lived before. There's room for all of us out there. Please just respect our space, and please, please, please go back to using Cambie when it reopens.
1Most of the time. You know, unless there's clearly no-one else around.