- Helping you drive happy

Spring re-Cycling

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Rob Rothwell
Spring has arrived – for the most part – and bicycle tires across the country are being pumped-up by sun-deprived riders hoping to shake winter’s dormancy while gaining a little exercise in the process. I’m one of those fair-weather riders that talk the “big game” but don’t necessarily live it.

There are many of us, and just as many levels of riding skill and common sense. We’ll be flooding the streets from now until the flakes fly again at year’s end. While I like to think of myself as an ardent cyclist, I’m more the sunny day “tourista” on a bike. That means my head’s not always in the game the way it should be when immersed in city traffic.

Rob Rothwell on a bicycle
Photo: Rob Rothwell/

On behalf of myself and all human-powered vehicles sharing the road with the motoring public, I beg your indulgence in making every journey on two wheels as safe as it can be. A few thoughts worthy of mention come to mind.

Cyclists are capable of travelling much faster than many motorists realize, especially when gravity is doing its part. This often becomes a problem when a motorist makes a left turn in front of a cyclist, underestimating the cyclist’s speed.

“The more elbow room the better.” It can be quite harrowing to be closely passed by a fast moving vehicle; some added breathing room is greatly appreciated. Occasionally, that means waiting a moment or two until the road widens or there is no oncoming traffic to prevent moving over.

My final point has to do with visibility, or should I say the “invisibility.” For some reason, a bicycle often becomes invisible to motorists, who despite 20/20 vision, fail to see what’s in plain view. This is often referred to as cognitive blindness or inattentive blindness.

Motorists are generally adept at spotting other cars, but that mission can also lead to missing anything that’s not a car, such as a cyclist or a pedestrian. Want to test this theory? Check out this awareness test. Be sure to watch the video before answering the question.

So as the weather warms and tires turn, I look forward to a cycling season filled with harmony between motorists and cyclists, and even greater safety on the roads than ever before. I also want to encourage all car enthusiasts and non-cyclists to give the ole bike a whirl.

There’s a lot more to see and experience on two quiet wheels than any other form of transport. And of course, there are the physical benefits of fun and improved fitness, not to mention the ecological gains of operating a non-polluting machine.

We all share the road and the responsibility to exercise the utmost in safety. So when it takes a moment to find a safe location to pass a cyclist, or a moment to allow a bike to proceed through an intersection before making a left turn, please remember that the cyclist represents one less car jamming your road and one less vehicle polluting your air, and that’s got to be worth the wait.
Rob Rothwell
Rob Rothwell
Automotive expert