Drivers often think about other cars before cyclists

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Bicycle Accidents |

Cyclists sometimes feel as if there is unexplained animosity between them and drivers. It feels as if many drivers don’t respect cyclists and don’t even like them. They may wonder if a dislike of cyclists makes it so tough for some motorists to share the road properly and/or avoid engaging in road rage.

The heart of the issue tends to be fairly psychological in nature. True, there aren’t enough bike lanes and municipal planners tend to do an inadequate job of accounting for cyclists when drawing up road construction plans. But, ultimately, drivers tend to think about other cars and other drivers as more important than cyclists and this is the primary reason why so many motorists aren’t good at sharing the road with bike riders.

Unsafe passes

For example, drivers sometimes make unsafe passes when they don’t have space and the bike ahead of them is going slower than they want to drive. One reason for this, according to a study carried out by Portland State University, is that drivers are worried that going slowly will be an inconvenience to other motorists who are behind their vehicle. They are very conscious of those cars queuing up behind them, and that worries them more than the health and safety of the cyclists in front of them.

This is why a driver may sometimes slow down for a minute or two, waiting for a safe pass opportunity. But as soon as another car joins the line, the driver will feel pressured and will just try to make the pass as soon as possible, whether it is safe or not. In some ways, this is similar to a driver who is waiting to make a left turn, but who hasn’t found an appropriate gap. If another car is waiting behind them, they feel that outside pressure and they may be more likely to try to turn through a gap that is too small.

Seeking financial compensation

Unfortunately, this animosity between drivers and cyclists persists and leads to accidents. Cyclists who have been significantly injured in crashes caused by negligent drivers need to know how to seek financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills and other such costs. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started, as apprehension and/or dislike is not a viable defense to unsafely overtaking a cyclist in traffic and causing harm as a result.