Sometimes you stumble upon an opportunity to help educate people unexpectedly.
I recently had a conversation with a very irate woman who was complaining about all the hundreds of cyclists using the road around where I live last weekend taking part in a charity cycling event.
What I thought was going to turn into a real war of opinions actually ended up with a concession on their part. All I did was explain the things. Here's a snapshot of what was said. I have edited for reporting purposes but not to add any dramatic effect. It is more or less verbatim.
(The section of road in question is a single lane 100km/h limit with double white centre lines)
Her: "You don't go flying around a corner at 100km/h and expect to see a bunch of cyclists in the road in front of you!"
Me: "Why not??"
Her: "They should pull over and ride single file. It's the law isn't it!?"
Me: "Actually, it's not. You have to drive to the conditions and take care. If you can't see around the corner you should slow down. They have as much right to be using the road as you do."
Her: "Well that's an arrogant attitude to have!"
Me: "Cyclists are allowed to ride in a bunch 2 abreast and sometimes with a 3rd overtaking. They ride in the middle of the lane like that for safety, to make sure traffic slows down for them because when they speed past when they ride in single file on those roads vehicles get too close to them....I say this because I was one of those riders."
Her: "But when there are double white lines I can't get past! Am I supposed to just sit behind them doing 20km/h for the next several kilometres down the road?!"
Me: "Well, it's unfortunate but, yes. It's safer for everyone. This may be a little inconvenient for the driver but it's only for a short while. Usually the cyclists will pull over and let you pass when it’s safe for them. But they're not breaking the law."
Her: "Well, I didn't know that. I will just have to look out then and be more careful."
My work was done. And so the roads just became a little more safer. True story!
Note: The image is of a local group of riders who are unassociated with this incident, but who have an excellent motto that relates to this. "Winning is nothing. Behaviour is everything."
We could all adopt this!