Uncle Dave has attended University (a second rate one), is semi-literate and extremely opinionated. So, if you have a pressing question about riding technique, frame geometry or real estate investments, fire away! Uncle Dave is now taking your questions.
Dear Uncle Dave,
I find I’m constantly getting into verbal (and sometimes physical) arguments with motorists. I would say 95% of the cases involve motorists who get pissed at me for passing them on the right. Most of these incidents happen on W.16th Avenue where there is no dedicated bike lane and the road is single lane each way. The way I see it, if I’m slower than cars, they have a right to safely pass me. I have an electric bike (that’s kinda neither here nor there but I’m generally quicker than most cyclists especially on hills) and I believe that if I’m faster than cars (happens a fair amount on this road due to congestion) then I should also have the right to safely pass motorists. Generally what happens is I do this and then a car feels the need to race by me closely to ‘teach me a lesson’ which of course I object to and then we argue. I have gone to the ICBC website and having troubles finding any rules or literature on this subject. So I ask you and your community… am I able to pass cars safely just as they are able to pass me safely?
Thank you for your consideration,
Confused (Really) About Passing
On the surface, this is an easy question to answer. Within the People’s Democratic Republic of British Columbia, it is in fact illegal to pass cars on the right while on a bicycle. E-bikes included. I think. Who knows? The laws are kind of difficult to interpret, which might explain why each cyclist sees fit to break these laws dozens and dozens of times each ride and why nobody thinks twice about passing a car on the right. And motorists generally don’t care either and respond to this rampant lawbreaking with a shrug of the shoulder and a pick of the nose. Which raises the question as to why are drivers getting so mad at you?
Well, it could be because you’re taking them by surprise. They’re used to endlessly seesawing back and forth with some stupid cyclist, forming a brief little relationship, and receiving a kind of sad but amazing sense of satisfaction every time they re-pass the cyclist that just passed them. And because they’ve just passed the cyclist that is passing them, they’re aware of their existence and don’t get all that upset about seeing them again. You, on the other hand, are emerging from their blind spot like a crazed, world threatening, two wheeled destructor and are moving too quickly and there is no way you are going to get away with that shit. You’ve surprised them and they respond with a typical motorist’s reaction to anything out of the ordinary – unfounded, unconstrained and unpredictable rage.
But there’s more. The motorists are not only angry that you have passed them, they’re just angry that you exist. You are the worst possible thing that could happen to them on any given day. You’re an advanced evolution of something they already don’t really like. You’re a bicycle. And you have a motor. Two strikes and who gives a shit if there’s a third. And not only do the motorists hate you, everybody else hates you too. Every cyclist you pass or otherwise acknowledge hopes you get a flat tire. Every pedestrian wishes that you would ride into the back of a parked car. Hatred of E-bikes is one of the only things that these three groups agree on. Irrational and misplaced hatred, for sure. But hatred. But…I mean, why wouldn’t they hate you? You’re thumbing your noses at all of them. You’ve managed to combine the freedom and the exercise and the speed into one amazing package. They’re all thick with envy. The pedestrians are jealous because they have the range of a toddler. The cyclists are jealous because they have to drag ass around town. And the motorists are jealous because they’re fat and their pants are splattered with coffee and Egg McMuffin stains. Like a George W. Bush era terrorist, they hate your freedom. Really, you’re just asking for it.
Another thing to consider though, is that you might just be an asshole. I mean, really, most humans can go weeks at a time without getting into a heated argument with anybody. If you’re finding that it’s hard to get through a day without near fisticuffs with total strangers, it is a sign that you might be a giant asshole. Maybe not. But maybe.
Hope this helps,
This week’s questioner gets an nsmb prize pack that includes a limited edition NSMB snapback hat and some NSMB wool-blend socks.
Hands up if you’ve had a road rage incident in the last month…