[Nothing on this blog should be confused for legal advice. I am not a lawyer, public official, or officer of the law. You, the reader, are liable for your own behavior and knowledge.]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Never Honk at a Cyclist

When is it acceptable for me to honk my horn at a cyclist?

Never honk at a cyclist! This is one of those rare rules that cannot be intuitive to people who don't ride bikes regularly. As a motorist, you may think you're being courteous, but being honked at is terrifying. Car horns are designed to be loud enough to penetrate the steel shell and insulation of a car and to overcome the noise of the air displaced around the car, the sound of the engine, the noise of the HVAC and any music you might be listening to on the car's stereo. That ends up requiring quite a loud horn. Strip away the steel, insulation, wind, engine, HVAC, and music, and imagine how scary that loud noise could be. Regardless, there generally is not a need to alert cyclists of anything. It's stark how much more one can hear and sense when not enclosed in that steel shell, and we're used to being hyper-vigilant. Most honking comes from cars and trucks behind cyclists who are annoyed that they can't pass as quickly as they'd like or, more benevolently, who want to make us aware of their presence. Trust me, we know you're there, and we're trying to be as courteous as safety allows. Be patient, be safe, and keep others safe.

No comments:

Post a Comment