The Overwhelming Majority of Drivers Don’t Want to Hurt You

Last month in San Francisco we covered the shocking story of a man who went on a rampage and ran down four cyclists. While that kind of pathological behavior is rare, those of us who pedal through traffic-choked streets every day know it doesn’t take much for a driver to get angry behind the wheel and cause a great deal of harm, whether it’s careless or intentional.

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we turn to Canada, where Biking Toronto begins a 10-part series on the "10 Secrets to Cycling with Traffic." Even though many cyclists sometimes feel like drivers are out to get us, whizzing by with tempers flaring, riding with traffic can be less intimidating when you think about the human being behind the wheel:

They may not be your biggest fan, and they may think you are in their way, that you are too slow, that you don’t belong on the road, and they may be a bit jealous of your tight cycling butt, but most of them are not homicidal.

They may seem scary because they are seeing things from a drivers’ perspective, and often have not given much thought to how vulnerable cyclists are. The vast majority of drivers don’t want to kill you… they just don’t understand you.  As well, the very LAST thing 99.99% of drivers want to do is hurt someone.

A lot of drivers are also cyclists (and vice-versa) and don’t want to be in a collision with you.

I bet any cyclist you know with a drivers license can tell you that knowing things from a cyclists’ perspective has made them a much better driver.

Knowing this one thing will give you a lot of confidence.

Good advice, but I also can’t help wondering how many more people would feel comfortable following it if urban motorists consistently drove in the range of 20 mph, the speed limit that’s currently sweeping Britain.

Elsewhere around the network, Market Street Railway offers up a historical piece marking the three-year anniversary of San Francisco’s T-Third light-rail line, the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition is frustrated by the lack of progress on a bike-share program, and Yonah Freemark examines lower-cost high-speed rail in France.