A couple of weeks ago, I asked Toronto via Twitter and Facebook, "Hey Toronto Cyclists. What's your biggest pet peeve about cycling in Toronto? Let me know. I'll be writing about it."
This one came about after the drivers top 10 pet peeves after a lot of cyclists wanted their voices heard. Well, here is the writing about it and the results. Some great responses and really diverse!
Here are honourable mentions that didn't make the top ten. Drivers who don't let you change lanes, drivers who stop too close to you and my favourite...'drivers who wait for pedestrians when turning right and don't leave room to go straight ahead'. More on that one...it gets a special section for itself.
# 10 - SUV's.
I'm no really sure why cyclists don't like SUV's. Could be the carbon footprint, the size or make. Either way, I think that the dislike should be for poor driver behaviours, not the vehicles.
# 9 - No helmets.
One of my favourite answers. Other cyclists who don't wear helmets. Sure, as the argument goes, "A helmet won't save your life in all crashes." But what about the falls, the bumps and the crashes that it will save your life? Pretty small piece of safety equipment that can be the difference between life and death.
# 8 - Other cyclists running reds, makes us all look bad.
Not only does it make the good cyclists look bad, but it also confuses drivers. It's part of predictability which leads to better understanding/communication and respect.
# 7 - Not being seen.
This is a shared complaint for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. Not being seen is a big deal. Drivers need to be more aware, alert and cognizant of vulnerable road users. Having said that, make sure you are doing everything you can to be see. Bright, reflective clothing, a light, reflectors, a bell, a whistle, not cutting in between cars...these can all help.
# 6 - Dooring.
Drivers, do you open your doors in front of cars? Then why do it in front of cyclists? You can't just rely on mirrors to see what's coming from behind you...you need to check over your shoulder to get the big picture.
# 5 - Drivers who don't get Road Sharing
Fully agree with this one. Cyclists are vehicles and have the same rights to the roadway as such. Because they are slower moving they are to stay to the right, but where situations dictate...cyclists can block a lane for their safety. This also has to do with passing. Drivers should pass cyclists giving them as much space as possible.
# 4 - Pedestrian Actions.
Pedestrians have to consider their safety and the safety of cyclists. Stepping out from between parked cars or onto roadways without looking is a recipe for disaster for both road users.
#3 - Drivers who right turn without signalling.
Drivers failing to signal was number one on their list and here it is in the top 3 here. Evidence again that this is a problem.
# 2 - Vehicle's parked in bike lanes.
No surprise here at all. The bike lanes are not a place to allow delivery vehicles or cars to park for convenience. They are to allow a safety zone for cyclists to travel.
# 1 - Infrastructure.
By a land slide! Lots of responses for this in many forms from bike lanes that lead no where, to lanes that aren't cleared of leaves and snow along with not enough bike lanes and poor road maintenance and street car tracks.
So that's the way you responded. Watch for another question coming soon. In the meantime, here is a couple of my thoughts.
Why obeying the rules of the road are so important.
One of cyclists concerns that I hear throughout the year is drivers who don't pay them any respect. I agree that there is a problem with this. But, respect is earned not demanded. One way that drivers have said that cyclists can earn that respect is to follow the same rules that apply to them. No wrong way on one way streets, no stop sign running, stop for red lights and use hand signals. Cyclists who do these, and there are many, are more predictable and are communicating. Those riders are easy to respect because their actions are safer and don't leave drivers wondering.
As for, "Drivers who wait for pedestrians when turning right and don't leave room to go straight ahead."
I'll take blame for this because I encourage drivers to do just that...when turning, move to the right to keep cyclists from passing on the right. Force cyclists to pass on the left. Passing on the right is just not a safe or smart move. Drivers should never have to worry about a cyclist passing them on the right and by closing that space, they are actually protecting themselves, and the cyclist.
Cyclists even have a great option here...stop, get off your bike, go up on the sidewalk, walk it across the street and then return to the road and ride on! No having to pass on the left, no waiting for the car to turn and you may even get the chance to make the driver wait for you.
Ride safe, ride aware, ride co-operative.