As you’re driving onto the beginning of Main Street, you may notice a small “Bike Friendly Community” sign on your left. If you continue onto Washington Street you see bicycle lanes starting to merge into the road. These are all great signs for a city, but sadly, it seems like drivers forget they even share the road with anyone besides themselves.

I feel there are many reasons for why this happens, and why drivers and bicyclists don’t seem to get along on the road. First, I don’t believe that all drivers know that bikes have to be in the road with cars; bikes are not allowed on the sidewalks, especially downtown.

It also always surprises me when cars don’t just stay in the lane with me or pass my bike. There is room, amazingly, for both a car and a bike in one lane without the car needing to cross over the yellow line.


Because of this common misconception, I constantly have cars that tailgate my bike! Drivers are too nervous to pass my bike, let alone drive up next to it, so instead they slowly cruise behind me, until hopefully I turn, or stop, but normally I don’t need to do those things for several blocks.

It can be very annoying having a car follow you for so long without even trying to pass. Please drivers, don’t do this, we’re most likely going to have to cross in front of you at the end of that road anyway, and at night, those brights you have on are not very helpful with my vision of the road.

Another contributor to this problem is that most drivers either do not know the bike turning hand signals or don’t even pay attention to it when it’s happening. I try to bike all in the road now, so I feel bad if cars don’t know when I’m turning. But if I’ve had my arm out for a while showing which way I’m going, why do so many cars have to stop short because they didn’t see me doing that? Drivers need to be aware of the constant possibility that a bike might be coming up next to them or need to cross in front to be able to turn.

As far as the bike lanes are concerned, cars are usually really good about not getting too close, but since many bike lanes are near parking spaces on the side of the road, many cars have come close to hitting me as they’re backing out. There have been many occasions when I would have been hit by someone pulling out of a parking spot if I had not seen them first and started slowing down.

Not only are they being inconsiderate of the cyclists in the lane, but they’re drivers who are only checking one direction before starting to drive. The thought that someone coming down the street on a bike is so far from their mind that the simple concept of “looking both ways” doesn’t apply to them any more.

Drivers who choose to text and drive have also been another trigger for a couple near-collisions. I was driving down Roxbury Street once, and a young girl coming out of a parking lot on the right was looking down at her phone and driving almost into the road without looking up, and thankfully I wasn’t going that fast and I saw her in time. It should not be the sole responsibility of the cyclists to look out for themselves. It’s the responsibility of everyone using the road and sidewalks to pay attention and be cautious, and never text and drive!

One final annoyance of biking in Keene is that cars will often fly past me and make me feel like they might hit me. At night, cars will just leave their brights on as they’re driving past me, and I’m completely blinded. Why is it that cars can turn off their brights when other cars go by them, but if a bike is riding by, they think that’s different? Well it’s not. I’m going to have just as hard of a time being able to see as any other car driving by. Plus if I can’t see the ground, there’s a greater chance I could get hurt or fall if I’m biking over uneven ground.

What all of these examples boil down to is the realization that Keene drivers really do think they are the only things to be aware of in the road. They are careful with all the pedestrians walking around and crossing the street, but that shouldn’t be a driver’s only concern. Bikes are supposed to share the road with cars.

We’re not meant for the rough sidewalk; that’s for all those pedestrians. So please treat my bike and me with the respect we deserve. If I’m biking as close to the white line as I possibly can, then you should be driving as close to the yellow line as safely as you can. I’m always watching for cars, why aren’t they always watching for me?


Lindsey Arceci can be contacted at

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