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

8:48 AM PDT on July 12, 2010

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 intheir 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 ofthem 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 vulnerablecyclists are. The vast majority of drivers don’t want to kill you… theyjust don’t understand you.  As well, the very LAST thing 99.99% ofdrivers 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 thatknowing things from a cyclists’ perspective has made them a much betterdriver.

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.

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