Life from an outsider's perspective…

Cycling Hypocrasy in Spain.

Cyclists ask for a metre of space, but don’t give it to cars?!This morning I was driving in the South and saw two cyclists riding in single file between Las Americas and Los Gigantes on a single lane road. As you all know I am an avid cyclist, but these pair were really starting to annoy me. Why? Basically they weren’t riding very fast and refused to move over to let cars safely overtake them.

Here in Spain, vehicles are not allowed to pass cyclists unless they have sufficient space to do so. The overwhelming majority of cars don’t squeeze past cyclists because that sort of behaviour is extremely dangerous (two broken wrists have taught me that). Thankfully, Spanish drivers usually wait patiently until it is safe to overtake. There’s also a €1500 fine for failure to pass a cyclists correctly. All this helps to create a very good attitude towards bicycles on Spanish roads.

But of course in this situation there was stream of oncoming cars, and a really long pile of cars was banked up behind them. Not just for a few hundred metres, but for more than 5 kilometres! Maybe even closer to 10 km. These particular riders had the opportunity to ride in the break-down lane to let the cars pass but they didn’t. Not just once but several times. They stubbornly refused to move over even though there was no glass or debris there. All they had to do was move over 50 centimetres or so and give a hand signal to the car immediately behind them. Clearly, they couldn’t be bothered.

How is it that we expect cars to give us more than a full metre of space but then we don’t give them any? WRONG!!

It’s a common courtesy here in Tenerife. If you know you are holding up traffic, you get out of their way – so at other times, they get out of ours. If we can show them that we think of them too, they’ll be more likely to think about us. Respect for riding on the road is a two way street!

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