When We Follow the Rules of the Road

People who drive often mean well, but when they do what they’re not supposed to do on the road it can cause confusion and put other users of the road unnecessarily at risk.

Before I go into the story, I should say I consider myself a confident cyclist and so when I ride my bike on the road as transportation, I follow the rules of the road as if I were driving my car. There are times when that is not always possible because of the disparity of my size and strength on a bicycle vs. driving a car but we won’t get in to that today.

The rules of the road are there for many reasons besides the obvious (such as state law), they are also there for our safety. In other words, if we follow the rules of the road there should never be any confusion or collisions. The operator here is “should”.

As an example, today I was waiting in a travel lane to cross an intersection on a two-way road. I had a stop sign. The traffic on the road I was waiting to cross did not. As I look left and right down the road, I see that the timing would have been PERFECT! Traffic would soon be CLEAR and I would be able to ride across the intersection SAFELY.

Then a vehicle (on the road that has the right of way) unexpectedly comes to a stop at the intersection.

Normally, I would nod thank you but no, thank you. And with another nod of my head signal that the driver should proceed as they have the right of way to continue forward. BUT this time, I took the offer since there was no traffic heading the opposite direction. I started to pedal forward. Well, the driver behind the other driver who had stopped, did not want to wait and decided to drive around. Had I been a little faster on my bike, I would have been hit. And according to the rules of the road, it would have been my fault - since I was at the stop sign waiting to cross the intersection and should be yielding to the traffic with the right of way. I allowed myself to be put in a bad position, and should have insisted the driver keep going.

Lesson learned for me - don’t take such an offer because my safety would be at risk.

I hope driver who stopped also realized that they should have driven as they were supposed to and follow the rules of the road. Because other drivers also rely on the same rules and expect that the laws and guidelines be followed.

So unless I was at a cross-walk, that driver had no reason to stop in the middle of the road to yield to me when they had the right of way. It would have prevented confusion between all users of the road, and a near miss for me. I wouldn’t have thought the driver who stopped to be rude for not stopping.

Has this happened to you? How did you handle the situation?