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Can Cyclists and Drivers Share the Road? Full Version

Op-Heads: a virtual chat on the issues that matter


Clickabove to watch the full version of Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Aaron Manders(SAR’07,’09) discussing bike safety.

Since the city of Boston installed a mile-long bike laneon Commonwealth Avenue this summer, more and more people are taking toBU’s streets on two wheels. But increased bicycle traffic has led tomore accidents on and near the BU campus — several involving students.We asked bicycle commuters Catherine Caldwell-Harris, a College of Artsand Sciences associate professor of psychology, and Aaron Manders(SAR’07,’09) whether cyclists and motorists can safely share the road.

Got an issue to debate? E-mail today@bu.edu with “Op-Heads” in the subject line.

Nathaniel Boyle can be reached at nboyle@bu.edu. Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.



One Comment on Can Cyclists and Drivers Share the Road? Full Version

  • Tom on 10.20.2008 at 8:47 pm

    bike transportation

    This was an interesting show. What I cannot believe is the amount of law violation by the 2 presenters.

    I rode a lot for a lot of years and only really quit because of how much my neck bothered me. What I learned when I rode with AYH (American Youth Hostels) is that you always rode in a straight line, did not do things that would make a motorist not have an idea of what you are going to do. In addition we always used hand signals and would never run a stop sign or red light. We may not put our feet down but we would basically stop.

    The other thing we always tried to do was have eye contact with the motorist when possible. We felt if you had eye contact it was likely that the motorist knew that you existed and would respect you.

    As far as pedestrians went, we just wouldn’t ride on the sidewalks, far to dangerous and also not very effecient.

    One the side of the motorists I think the SUVs have altered their relationship with the road. The drivers sit higher and as the cars have gotten wider the drivers don’t always seem to know where the right side of their vehicle is. I have never been hit by a car but have had the mirrors hit my left arm on occasion, never by a car but always by an SUV.

    I think basically drivers respect bicyclists and if you treat them with respect, give signals and actually share the road with them and also thank them when you have to take all the road it makes them more respectful and also influences how they will react to the next cyclist. If you aggrevate them then they may not give you that extra 5 inches you need or may not give you the right of way when you have it and won’t be as cautious around the next cyclist they encounter. If you treat them with respect and try to make them your friend you will be far ahead of the situation.

    If you move up in traffic and then stop at the light and actually ask if you need to go straigt when the majority of the traffic is turning right when the light turns then I have found they are more than willing to give you the time to go ahead and then they will make the turn.

    So my advice to Cathrine and Aaron is not to run red lights or stop signs and make as much contact witht he motorist as possible. Don’t ride on sidewalks but use the road and give signals.

    I think the program was good and maybe the 2 of you should take Mayor Menino for a longer ride around the city so he could actually see what it is like for an everyday commuter.


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