Bad Drivers, Cyclists, and Pedestrians

I know we have encountered them much more than we want to. Please share your experiences.

I will start with one regarding distracted driving. A few years ago I was following a new beetle on a 35mph boulevard. It was going 25mph and weaving. I suspected a drunk driver. It suddenly jumped the curb and thankfully stopped before ramming the pumps at a gas station. As I drove by I saw the teenage female “driver” with a cellphone stuck to her head and excitedly waving her free hand. I could imagine her conversation. "Buffy! I almost crashed! It was so cool!

There have been several catastrophic accidents involving walkers, joggers and cyclists in north Mississippi in the last few years and the result of the hoopla over the accidents is a polarizing of the public toward support of the motorists who feel that their vehicle and fuel taxes give them unfettered access to the roads or toward pedestrian/cyclists who feel they have the right of way and actually demand a full lane.

I have decided to avoid cycling on roads as much as possible due to the apparent rage of some motorists towards bicycles. Local cycling enthusiasts continue to use the roads, especially the Natchez Trace Parkway, and travel in small groups for safety. There have been 3 cyclists killed and several severely injured on that road but just recently the new manager of the Parkway, who is quite bike friendly has gone so far as to post signs that bicycles have the right to the entire lane. I hope all goes well with the efforts.

One of the finest race cars drivers of the 80’s and 90’s, Bob Wollek. He won the Daytona 24 hour sports car race 4 times, once sharing the drive with A.J. Foyt. 57 year old Wollek was killed in 2001 while bicycling from the track to his hotel in Florida prior to the 12 Hours of Sebring sports car race in 2001. He was an Olympic skier for France and won several medals. He wasn’t killed in a race car, wasn’t killed while skiing, he was rear ended by a van driven by an elderly woman on his bicycle and died. Tragic and ironic at the same time.

My interaction with bicyclists is mostly as a pedestrian, not as a driver, and my impression of most of them is decidedly negative.

I take my power-walks in the nearby state park, where there are signs posted, listing the protocols for interactions on the trails. It boils down to…
Bicyclists are supposed to yield to pedestrians
Both cyclists and pedestrians are supposed to yield to horses being ridden on the trails

However, over the past 10 years or so, it has gotten to the point where almost none of the cyclists
will yield to anyone, and most of them insist on riding two abreast on the fairly narrow trails. When they approach from the rear–at high speed–almost none of them gives a warning of any kind, leading to some very close calls for me.

The trail that I use most often runs alongside the Delaware & Raritan Canal, and one of these days, I think that when I am startled by one of these cyclists approaching from the rear with almost no clearance, somebody is going to wind up being jostled into the canal. Trust me…I am the one who will remain dry.

Bicyclists: Beware of senior citizens who are tired of your antics!


Over the last few years I’ve seen a variety of incidents where either the driver of a car, a cyclist, or a pedestrian wasn’t paying attention and almost caused an accident where they couldn’t have seen the car approaching until reaching the street. The driveway to the parking lot of the local office depot which was built partway up a hill has a rock wall on your left as you exit the lot. One night this time of year a small Ford was on the way out of the lot and without appearing to slow down before the street was almost t-boned by another vehicle which thankfully was able to stop. You literally cannot see whats coming to your left until you get to the street.

Same sort of thing involving another bike rider on the street that leads out of the neighborhood, another intersection where you can’t tell for sure if any traffic is approaching from the left until you get to the stop sign. I was on a bicycle at the time and waiting for traffic to clear when another bicyclist passed me and forced the oncoming vehicle to make a panic stop. The road would have been clear if they had just stopped and waited a few seconds. Most of the bike trails are nice and wide and normally not that busy during the time of day I’m usually out but I agree you have to share the trail with everyone. Give the walkers some room and a little notice that you’re coming past.

A friend of mine is becoming convinced that people are driving worse than usual these days, with more close calls than she can remember having in the past.

I’ve been down the Natchez Parkway in northern Mississippi a few times and it would seem to me there are much safer places to bike. There are 2 parallel highways here about 15 miles long. One is a broad divided 4-lane with wide shoulders; the other is a narrow 2 lane with zero shoulder. Guess which one the bike riders use. Yep, the 2 lane.

Just my 2 cents, but I think at least a fair number of bike riders ride in areas that are unsafe simply because they want to insert themselves into high traffic areas to appear “cool” to people in cars. In the motorcycle world it can often be referred to as “squids profiling” but at least the motorcycles can maintain the same speed as cars around them.
I generally refer to the ones in Spandex as practicing for the Tour de Yokel… :slight_smile:

In the past year or so I’ve come very, very close a few times to running over bicycle riders who are out after sunset with dark clothing on, no reflectors, and not a sign of lighting on their bikes.
In another incident I almost nailed a bike rider (traveling at a fast rate of speed) who chose to make a left turn across both west bound lanes of traffic, through the left turn lane, and on through a red light.
I had to slam on the brakes and the guy promptly flipped me off. I started whipping a U-turn to discuss his attitude and he took off on the side roads. By the time I got through traffic he was gone who knows where.

If bike riders want to be treated the same as motor vehicles then they should follow all of the motor vehicle regulations; and that seldom happens.

If bike riders want to be treated the same as motor vehicles then they should follow all of the motor vehicle regulations; and that seldom happens.

Though there are auto drivers, bikers, and pedestrians that do not follow the laws of the road…I think the bikers are the biggest offenders.
I have seen them not even slow a bit to make a turn left, across a busy highway where they have little sight of the traffic until they are just feet from crossing the highway. I’ve almost hit a few and it’s not the young kids…they obey the laws better…it’s the adults that ignore the laws of the road.

Our area is a popular area for big bike races, where there will be 100+ bikes along a mile stretch of road. Coming up from behind you will first encounter the slow pokes that couldn’t keep up with the pack. Most of them will ride along the right edge of the road in single file, so at least approaching traffic from behind can pass.
Then a couple hundred yards farther, you get the middle pack and they will take the whole lane.
It wouldn’t be bad if it was just one large group, but it’s not. There will be 6 riders all over the lane, and 50 feet ahead there will be 3 riders then 50 feet and another pack of 4 riders.

This whole group will take the entire lane for over 100+ yards and you always seem to encounter them at that area of the road where there is no safe passing spot for the next 5 miles.
Then you find the main pack of leaders…20 bikes in a pack and taking up the whole lane. Never stopping at a stop sign and when they get to the next busy highway they have someone there standing in traffic…stopping all the cars on the highway so these bikes can all go right through. Not until all the bikes have crossed will they allow the auto traffic to proceed. Even if the next pack is still far enough for a few cars to proceed, they will make everyone wait until that next pack arrives.

Imagine if cars did the same thing. You come upon a group of 100 Honda Civics all going 20mph down the road…all bumper to bumper, and it’s a 50 mile tour that they are on. They finally turn onto the Freeway and you figure you’ll be able to pass. They all stay in the right lane and you pass half of them, until one pulls into the left lane…not to pass, but to pull along side and chat with another driver. Now because they are bumper to bumper you miss your exit because they took the whole road and trapped you in.

I’ll be glad to give bikes a little leeway, but how about a little respect for the cars that are trying to travel that same road.

Funny there is a nice paved bike trail just a few miles south of these roads that I see these bike races on. This trail is an old railway path, at least 50 miles long, paved 10 feet wide, through picturesque country side. Nice bridges over a few creeks and rivers…through large wooded areas and farm country.
The horse groups would love to have this trail available, but the bikers don’t want to swerve around a pile of horse apples every so often. Horses are banned.
I never see a group on this trail, other than a family of 4 out on a Sunday Ride on their bikes.


To me it’s “styling’ and profiling” @Yosemite… Some people want to be seen and admired and feel entitled to block traffic to get their audience. There is a bike/walking trail near me that I ride on regularly and during the week I see only a few other riders and most are like me, over the hill age wise. But on weekends there are more people and quite a few of the spandex crowd riding custom bikes. But everyone gets along. I met a man there who at age 79 was riding 40+ miles several days a week while I am burned out at 20. If it were warmer I would be riding there now.

Of course I would load the bike in my Ford pickup and drive to the trail. This is an automotive forum, don’t you know.

I have observed among many younger bicyclists and joggers a sense of entitlement. The bicyclists believe that they are entitled to use the sidewalks and the joggers believe that they are entitled to run down the center of the street. Younger drivers don’t believe that bicycles, when following the rules, have any business on the streets.
Some years back, I was riding my bicycle along a street that runs along the campus of the university where I was employed. The street is rather narrow and there were cars parked along the side. I was pedaling about 15 to 20 mph and a semi was behind me. I couldn’t pull over, so I kept pedaling as fast as I could. I heard the truck downshift, but he patiently followed a safe distance behind until I could pull over and let him pass. As he passed, he honked his horn and his passenger waved to me. However, the young female driver in the car behind the semi yelled insults at me. The speed limit on this street is 20 mph, but nobody pays any attention to it.

First I’d like to say, it’s been a long time since I posted on this forum, and I changed my username to OmegaMan62 (it used to be Drifter 62).

Where I live in central Florida, there are a number of golf cart trails in my area, and that’s where I often ride my bike. I have found that some people on golf carts drive just as badly as they’d drive a car, as I have come close to being side-swiped by carts on those trails. With that being said, though, I’d rather take my chances with golf cart drivers than with cars and trucks. I always try to be safe when I ride, and not cause anyone in a motor vehicle to make a panic stop or take other evasive action. I have a very old single-speed AMF bicycle, which used to belong to my Dad; it’s a rugged, sturdy cruiser bike, with “balloon” tires, so it’s not meant for high speeds; it’s great for exercising, though, and makes for a good, money-saving alternate form of transportation for short trips into town. Also, I don’t wear Spandex shorts when I ride either; I prefer a good pair of denim jeans, as they offer better protection against “road rash” in case I fall. Where I live, I prefer to dress the same for riding a bicycle as I would for riding a motorcycle; it just makes good sense around here.

I used to ride my bicycle to work, 2-1/2 miles away, on a divided highway, but I gave up on that after a few close calls with cars and/or trucks that either drifted too close to the shoulder or actually crossed the line a little bit. Riding home at night was also dangerous, even with a flashing taillight and the aid of two rearview mirrors. In addition to those bumper stickers that advise “check twice for motorcycles”, there should also be stickers that say the same for bicycles. It only takes one moment of inattentiveness on someone’s part to cause a fatal or life-changing accident for themselves or someone else. Earlier this week I saw an accident in which a car pulled out in front of a motorcycle that was going about 35; it was quite ugly. The unfortunate man on the motorcycle had to be transported to a hospital more sophisticated than the local one, via medevac helicopter; I hope he pulled through OK and will recover fully. This is just another example of drivers not paying attention like they should. It’s an unsafe world out there, for sure, and you just can’t let your guard down.

I think it’s more the 25 to 40 year old bicycle riders that I see that do not believe they need to obey the traffic laws. But the groups in these races just seems to offend more than others. I guess it’s because when the entire group is hogging the road for a couple of hundred yards and there is no way to pass then in a safe manner, it slows down traffic so bad. You may have to follow for miles before there is a safe enough opening to pass.
Even the farmers…this time of year are more polite. They may have to travel miles on this road, but when there is room for cars to pass, they either wave you around them or they try their hardest to pull over to the far right shoulder.
I once saw a ambulance following a pack of bike racers and not a one would get over onto the gravel shoulder to allow the ambulance to pass them. The ambulance was actually forced to follow for over a mile before an opening came for him to pass.
Had it been one of their own that the ambulance was on their way to help, and that person didn’t make it because of the delay, they would have blamed the ambulance driver for taking too long.


I thank everyone for their excellent posts. I too have experienced more bad cyclists. I posted this complaint on another forum and was attacked by cyclists. I consider running red lights and stop signs as the most dangerous behavior of motor vehicle operators but seems fairly rare. Most cyclists seem to do this frequently. If they stop they would have to shift up through the gears (the horror). If I stop in my manual transmission car I have to do the same but I stop! The cyclists ride at night with dark clothing and no lights or reflectors which is illegal plus many pedestrians. I call them “ninjas” as they are invisible. I was stuck in a horrible traffic jam in Mexico. There was an ambulance about 1/4 mile behind with lights flashing. Every time someone pulled over another vehicle would quickly fill the space. We have no monopoly on idiots. Yesterday I turned off a 25mph street onto a 35mph road. In less than 2 blocks I had a late model Subaru Outback appear out of nowhere 2 feet off my rear bumper. They were not behind me or oncoming when I turned. The female driver was waving her hands and screaming what I’m sure were obscenities I signaled my left turn onto my street early as I was afraid she would try to pass me on the left in the no passing zone. After turning I stopped to watch her accelerate to 70+mph. Was she transporting someone with a life or death emergency? No. She was traveling away from the nearest hospital. Was she late for a hair and nails appointment? Possibly but it was 12 miles to any salon in the direction she was going. I wonder how fast she was going after reaching the 55mph state highway she was headed for. The cops in my little town will cite you for 28mph in a 25mph zone but always seem to be absent when something like this happens.

There used to be a lengthy bike race held on Saturday mornings in this area. Part of the route was 2 lane (creating a mess) and the rest of it on divided 4-lane. Law enforcement would cone off the outside lane on the divided roadway with the inside lane being for auto/truck traffic.

I’ve come close to whacking a few of them and have seen others almost do the same when the cyclists would just instantly dart between the cones into the automobile lane without looking or even caring if anything was there or not. Passing on the open shoulder is not a consideration…

I would imagine the oil field and farm truck drivers who are being held up have probably come up with profane names for those cyclists that the average person would never even dream of as their paycheck takes a hit.

Yosemite Your story of the “racing” cyclists blocking an ambulance really got to me. In my state cyclists are required to obey the same laws as motor vehicles including “racing” cyclists when on public roads that are not closed for the race. Even if the road is closed for the race emergency vehicles have priority. If an ambulance or other emergency vehicle with flashing lights or especially lights and siren approaches from behind or oncoming we are required to pull over to the right as much as possible and stop. After the emergency vehicle passes we are required to stay at least 500 feet behind it. If you are the first car in line of those pulled over I will guaranty that most if not all of the vehicles behind you will pull out as soon as the emergency vehicle passes and race to get on it’s rear bumper leaving you as tail end charley. It seems that some modern drivers goal is to get ahead of everyone else at all cost.

I don’t feel compelled to stop and put both feet on the ground, then look both ways and then continue on my way at a stop sign. When approaching an intersection at walking speed it is easy to recognize when it is safe to continue on and I do so. As I often say, when cycling I have no where to go and all day to get there so staying out of everyone else’s way is a top priority. When approaching an intersection if there are cars behind me I steer into a driveway and let them pass and then continue on my way. Would I be more correct if I held my place in line ahead of the cars, waiting for an opportunity to cross the intersection while traffic waited behind me?

On a road that I travel nearly daily there is a well used bike/hike trail that crosses. At this “intersection” are regulation stop signs for “traffic” on the trail not the road. Do any of these bicyclists stop? Very rarely. And since the road is tree lined and the trail is just around a curve the vehicle traffic does not get much time to react if there is a cyclist crossing. I for one am tired of traffic coming to a very abrupt standstill because they are forced to stop because some cyclists usually one after the other come racing across the road with out any regard for traffic. I guess they believe since they are on bikes they have some god given the right of way, even though they have the stop sign. I am genuinely surprised more do not get hit. Do I slow down when approaching this area? Yes I do. But I do wonder who will get charged when some dumb ass gets hit for running the stop sign, bike or car. If the police ever wanted to issue a bunch of tickets real quick they could just sit there and write up cyclists all day long. Like that will ever happen.

There seems to be an “It’s us against them” conflict between cyclists and motorists. The link regarding the cyclist assaulted on the Natchez Trace near me resulted in a heated debate on a local newspaper’s forum. There were a few posters who made vaguely worded threats from both sides of the issue. The city has passed an ordinance requiring motorist to give cyclists 3 feet of clearence when passing on any street and some residential streets now have signs that clearly designate that cyclists have the right of way for the entire lane. But that only seemed to throw fuel into the road rage for some motorists.

You guys need to come to China and have a look at our driving culture. Our technology is way ahead of the people’s ability to catch up to. We have electric powered trikes(people sell street food and cheap merchandize from those) taking up half of the right lane on every major road, even where there is a bike lane protected from fuel powered traffic. Those professional bus drivers take up two lanes to avoid such trikes because their size allow them to. Cars would drive in the middle of the road to avoid bikes and trikes and then make right turn into the side streets, from the middle of the road. Speaking of bikes, it isn’t uncommon to see the wife riding side saddle in the back, the man piloting in front while a kid or two standing between the man’s legs on the platform of an electric scooter. Pedestrians jaywalk against red lights with the heads bow down to their android devices. There’s a video where some guy who hopped a fence to cross a major road and he got pulled under the wheels of a bus as soon as he was over the fence. This is what happens when migrants from agricultural communities flock to the big city to make money. Learning about traffic control devices in their home town would be as useful to them as it is for us to learn about the craters on the moon.

Our state has the same laws regarding bicycles, to ensure that the roads are safe for them to ride.
And I doubt that there is a state here in the US that does not have those same laws.

@Rod knox said;I don’t feel compelled to stop and put both feet on the ground, then look both ways and then continue on my way at a stop sign. When approaching an intersection at walking speed it is easy to recognize when it is safe to continue on and I do so.
So maybe the laws for Motorcycles should allow them to just come to a walking speed at a stop sign too.

I don’t think too many people would argue with the point that you make…in that situation, but when the rider does not slow down at all and abruptly darts out from an intersection where the motorists cannot see them coming is where the problem lies. I’m not talking about a bike slowing to a crawl…but still doing 10-15 mph through the intersection.

Bicycles in Wisconsin also are required to obey all traffic laws too, but I doubt there are ever any citations given. Law enforcement looks the other way because they are bringing money into the community…I’ve been told!!!
They may give some 14 year old a ticket for not stopping, but that’s more of a teaching tool than anything. I’ve seen kids or a small group of kids pulled over and getting either a citation, or a good talking to. But never an adult!!!

There seems to be an “It’s us against them” conflict between cyclists and motorists.

This is wrong!!! I think all those here, advocating that bicycles follow the law is because they feel like I do.
"We don’t want to hit the idiot and maybe kill the rider"
We all know that a bike VS a car is just no match and we know that if we do hit one we will be the ones sitting in the Pokey.

A little common sense goes a long way in riding a bike safely on the roads. We lived about 3 miles from the nearest sidewalks and always rode on the right edge of the pavement where it was safe.
We like Rod knox, didn’t come to a complete stop either…but we slowed way down and watched for traffic.