Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Bicyclists take advantage of Burrard Bridge's new cycling lane in Vancouver Monday July 13, 2009. (JOHN LEHMANN/JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Bicyclists take advantage of Burrard Bridge's new cycling lane in Vancouver Monday July 13, 2009. (JOHN LEHMANN/JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Auto Therapy

Help! My hubby hates cyclists! Add to ...

My husband is driving me crazy. We live in Vancouver, where the mayor allows people to have chickens in their backyards and ride bikes on greenways through the city. The annoying thing is bikers persist in riding side by side on the busiest streets and bridges, which causes enormous stress when my husband is at the wheel. He gets road rage and, at times, has been very dangerous toward cyclists. He beeps the horn and yells until he's blue in the face hoping the bikers fall back in line while waiting for room to pass them. I feel bad enough that we're driving around in a gas guzzler, let alone endangering people's lives. Help!

More Related to this Story

The Silent Partner

Read more from Kate Robertson's Driving School adventures

I hate to tell you this: your husband has a valid point, albeit his method of dealing with the issue is extremely inappropriate. Share the road means share the road. Riding side by side is not sharing the road. In British Columbia, a person operating a bicycle on the road has the same rights and responsibilities as the driver of a vehicle. Where available, cyclists are supposed to ride in the designated lanes, and are required to obey all traffic signs and speed limits. Bikes are obligated to be visible, stop at crosswalks, and signal when turning and changing lanes. Cyclists who don't follow the rules of the road are insane by definition: a danger to themselves, and everyone around.

In Vancouver, the creation of bike lanes separated from vehicle traffic by barriers coincides with attempts by urban planners to make the city among the greenest in the world. The two-way bike lanes offer increased safety for cyclists, which includes distance from motorists such as your husband. In Vancouver and other cities, there are also designated bike trails. You can usually commute to downtown on a bicycle faster than you can travel from outlying neighbourhoods in a car, or even by taking public transit. In the Victoria area, for example, there are extensive trail networks built in part on old rail beds and trestles.

Let's get back to your husband's anger, and why he's behaving this way. What else is going on in his life? Is he stressed about work? Is his health deteriorating? Maybe it's time to talk to someone about this. Even if it's not a problem now, it could become an issue down the road. Have you tried to help him? Short of putting a set of blinders on your husband and doing the driving yourself, there are courses on how to handle road rage. And, there's always yoga.

Remind your husband why he shouldn't cut off a bicyclist. Regardless of the crime committed by a cyclist, 3,000 pounds of metal against a human on a bike is an unfair contest. If your husband's aggressive driving happened to cause an accident, he could be charged with assault with a weapon, i.e. the car. If your man won't listen, tell him to behave for no reason other than the fact that sufficient wielding of a Kryptonite bike lock can cause quite a bit of damage to your car.

Searching for a new vehicle? Our Globe Drive car search makes it easy to track down the best vehicle for you

Your husband is obviously irritated by all the spandex-clad Lance Armstrong wannabes riding three-abreast in fake sponsorship jerseys who give dirty looks whenever someone tries to pass. But has he thought about the legitimate concerns of cyclists? For example, what it's like to be pedalling peacefully beside parked vehicles, only to be clipped by a car door that suddenly opens. Or has he considered the experience of a cyclist being passed by a bus doing 100 km/h with less than a metre of clearance?

To be fair, it's not only those operating motor vehicles who are guilty of rage; cycle rage is also on the rise. Cyclist-against-cyclist aggression is becoming a common phenomenon on dedicated bike trails. Whether on trails or city streets, cyclists need to remember that just because they've gone green doesn't mean they're right about everything.

You live in a cycle-friendly city, so why not abandon the gas guzzler on occasion? Cycling with your husband might improve his attitude. And who knows, he may look cute in spandex.

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories