written by Jill Young
Hey there, driver. I’m cyclist. Nice to meet you.
I’m not going to assume that you operate from a place of defense, a place of dislike for me and my two wheeling friends. Because lately I’ve seen a little bit of evidence that might suggest you think I’m ok. Or, at the very least, that I deserve to share the road with you, in some capacity. But that is what I’ve seen.
I want to talk about the army that sit beyond my peripheral vision, beyond the cursory glance over the right shoulder as I move into the lane (perhaps due to a pinch point, perhaps for merely a meter). I want to talk about you, dear driver, who is out of my sight.
I am an urban cyclist (a biker for transport, an A to B bicyclist, not very furious but certainly quite fast, etc.), so when I sit behind the wheel of a car, I am immensely aware of people on two wheels and on four. And I think I am not alone in this, and you, driver, might actually share in this.
In a similar vein to Cycle’s SMIDSY article (found here) I’d like to pay homage to you who do look behind for cyclists as you drive. You who do wait until I’ve passed before pulling out from on street parking, across the bike lane and into the car lane. You who do wait for me to pass, instead of speeding up and overtaking me to turn left (only to realise that such an action has actually slowed me down), or you who do use your indicator to, well, indicate that you are hanging in the left lane for a bit (maybe texting or chatting on your phone or whatever) so that I know what your intentions are, or you who give me more than a meter so that I feel safe, or you who do wait for me to pass before you open your door to exit your car. Mostly, you who look for me. You who anticipate I may be there.
There is such simplicity in these actions, driver. They are minute and minuscule in the stretch of a day, a week, a year. But time and time again they happen after I have ridden passed, never even knowing they occurred. And never, therefore, allowing me to demonstrate my hand wave of appreciation or my verbal admiration. To you, I say thank you.
I know that - literally - you may have saved my life.