Ok, pop quiz:
You are in your car. You are approaching an undersized, single-lane roundabout. You are about to make 1/2 of a revolution around it at which point you will be exiting the roundabout onto a 25mph street with a double yellow line. The roundabout and this exit from it are on a slight incline, making it a blind turn.
There's a cyclist in front of you. he's in the absolute middle of the lane on the roundabout, going about 15mph. There is no way for you to go around him without completely crossing over the double yellow line into the oncoming traffic. You cannot see the oncoming traffic, or if there is any, because it is behind a blind corner /hill.
What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?
Well, if you're the guy in the silver Subaru Legacy behind me on my bike in the Maple Tree Place roundabout this morning, you go ahead and get in the oncoming lane. You ignore the cyclist making a frantic "stop/slow down" signal (left arm out straight, forearm down, waving frantically at the ground) and you maybe even hear him cry out "YOU HAVE NO SAFE PASS ! NO SAFE PASS! before accelerating around him. Then you make a panic braking/right merging movement so as to avoid a head-on collision with the oncoming maroon pickup truck.
Hey, I have a better idea:
There is no safe way to pass a cyclist in or while exiting the Maple Tree Place roundabout. It is a single lane roundabout that cannot accommodate two vehicles, no matter how small one of them is. I have tried riding this thing every way possible, from cringing in the broken glass and cinders near the curb to taking the lane assertively (as I did today). Riding far to the right only encourages people to make the unsafe pass. Taking the lane usually deters them.
Not Mr. Silver Subaru.
Once again, I postulate that cars make people stupid. We have ingrained car culture so deeply in our psyches, we have assumed the risks of injury inherent in driving so completely, we don't even think about them any more.
One way to fix that would be to put everybody on bikes. Here's another:
|Dad's 1959 Bugeye.|
Questionable brakes. No power steering. No roof. Stick shift. Your butt is about six inches off the pavement. You feel every pebble on the road through the wheel. No radio, no GPS, no cupholders. Put everybody in cars like this, where the risks of driving are so immediately perceptible, and half the driving public would be on the bus the next morning. Those who chose to continue to drive would do so with acute awareness.