(For the latest in traffic code, city and state, check FC Bikes great page HERE)
It’s a tough world out there, folks.
Traffic is busier and busier every year. Trains going through the middle of town create hectic holdups and spur road frustration in even the most genteel of drivers. Roadwork seems to be going on everywhere…all the time. Or maybe that’s just on your commute. And on top of it, cyclists and drivers are often forced to share roadways, which often seems to infuriate both parties.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Especially for that last part. While there isn’t much we can all do to decrease traffic, reroute trains or stop the roadwork, we can all work together to create stress-free roads for drivers and cyclists alike. Here are a few things to keep in mind whether your pedal-pushing involves a two-, three- or four-wheelers vehicle or, as I like to see them, the playground rules of the road:
- The Golden Rule always applies. Sick of drivers passing too closely? They probably are too. Maybe scoot a little more to the right in the bike lane. Nobody’s saying you have to ride in the gutter, but you don’t have to ride the line either. Tired of having to wait for slow cyclists to move along so you can turn right because there’s no enough room to scoot around them? Cyclists are vehicles according to Colorado state law, so treat them accordingly. You wouldn’t try to zoom around or lay on the horn if someone driving another car were moving a tiny bit more slowly than you like. Just frustrated in general? Try using the vast network of bike paths instead of the roadways, cyclists; drivers, try to be grateful that cyclists AREN’T in cars adding even MORE traffic to the roads.
- Use common sense. I strongly dislike it when I see fellow cyclists blowing stoplights and stop signs and riding three across in a lane that obviously cannot accommodate more than single file. Similarly I’m not a fan of being honked at, followed too closely or having vulgarities screamed at me when I’m biking along peaceably. If you’re in a situation where your safety may be compromised, cyclists, deliberately acting in ways that guarantee your safety is compromised is a TERRIBLE idea. In the equation you versus a vehicle, that vehicle is going to win every time, so take your safety seriously and ride responsibly. Drivers: cyclists are people too!! Cyclists are guaranteed the same rights to the road as YOU are. Use some common sense when driving around cyclists and consider their rights as well.
- Stop. Texting. While. Operating. Any. Moving. Vehicle. This goes for you, too, cyclists. While driver are arguably more dangerous as they are piloting several tons of moving steel, that doesn’t let cyclists off the hook. Texting while cycling is as irresponsible as texting while driving. Just don’t do it. That also goes for updating Facebook statuses, posting to Instagram or checking your Strava standings. It can wait. I promise.
One of the coolest aspects of living in Fort Collins is our robust cycling community, and we all need to do our parts to make this community one where we can all get along. Sometimes the easiest way to do this is go back to the basics and start with our playground rules again. No hitting. No fighting. Respect each other’s space. And if all else fails, maybe give yourself a time-out for a couple of breaths so you can rejoin the rest of us from a happier, calmer place.
Dondi is a year-round commuter cyclist, freelance writer and Co-op Representative at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op. In addition to “Building Community Through Bicycling” she enjoys road rides, rock climbing and baking treats every Sunday for the Bike Co-op’s velonteer crew. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.