Bike Riders and Car Drivers Could Communicate Better

The Pack Lacks Respect for Auto Drivers and the Community It Rides Through

Bicyclists crowding a road

I have to drive a truck every day to work because I’m in the trades. Along with everyone else who can’t bike to and from work, I wish I could. I like to bike ride casually.

The problem I have, and I’m sure other drivers feel the same way, are the bike riders who ride in a pack and take up the whole lane. As the group rides in the whole lane, they either seem to be socializing with each other or perhaps trying to get more speed. Whatever the case, they think they are in the Tour de Santa Barbara. This isn’t the town for that; our roads are way too narrow.

They ignore automobiles, maybe because they’re in a pack mentality. My point is they make it very difficult to pass. They hardly ever communicate with a driver, but they try to dominate the space — which is dangerous for everybody.

Communication is the key here, between bikers and drivers. If a vehicle is trying to pass around a corner and it’s safe — no car coming — the bike riders should wave you through. If it isn’t safe, they should hold up their hand to let you know not to go.

Drivers always need to be conscious, of course, as well. However, not riding in packs makes this easier, and riding alone or “single file” is safer for everybody.

This is a controversy that has heated up in recent years. Like every debate, there needs to be a sacrifice from both sides to make it work. Drivers, I believe, have become more conscious and have adapted. There is also the new three-foot passing law.

I think bikers need to learn how to sacrifice by riding in single file and communicating with drivers more when situations arise on our windy roads. I support bike riding, but the aggressive racing pack mentality doesn’t work in our small town and infrastructure.

I don’t get all the crazy pack riding anyway. It seemed to get heavier maybe in the past five years or so here. I’m a resident on a mountain road in Santa Barbara’s foothills, a road that is now a biking highway. Don’t they want a peaceful ride? Can’t they ride in a single file? Our roads are very narrow and windy.

On our road, and in the other mountain and canyon communities, I’m sure, we can hear everything you say when you’re riding through our neighborhoods. We’ve heard about your finances and what you and Jerry did last week. In fact, your conversation sometimes echoes, echoes, echoes.

On weekend mornings, sometimes from 6 to 9 a.m., we listen to you holler at each other. It’s so lame for these peaceful communities. We live up here for a reason, for the quiet and peace. That’s lost when packs of riders socialize by yelling.

Let’s all try and make sacrifices and conscious decisions in our small town about biking and driving. When I’m driving, I like to be respectful and in the biker’s mind. When I’m riding a bike, I think of the drivers. Again, it’s much easier to do when not in a pack.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to see someone on a bike and not in spandex with advertisements pasted all over them. Now I’m headed out for a bike ride, a solo relaxing peaceful ride, in some board shorts, a T-shirt, and a helmet. I will be conscious and communicate with drivers and respect our neighborhoods.


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