Monday, November 5, 2007

Cars with the most Bicycle Unfriendly Drivers

One of the things I have been doing while I ride is keeping track of what kind of cars cut me off, come too close or refuse to yield to me. While this is far from a scientific study it become obvious at to my mind that the drivers of some cars were worse than others.

It always seemed like the drivers of certain makes, models or class of vehicle were more prevalent to pulling a bonehead move that endangered my life. I also noticed that some cars seemed to be more bicycle friendly as well.

My number one car with the least bicycle friendly drivers was the Toyota Prius. This surprised me and I wonder if it holds true in California as well. There are not nearly as many Prius in New Jersey as there are in California but it got to the point that whenever I saw a Prius coming I had to be extra careful. I am not sure if it was done on purpose. I did notice that many of the Prius drivers tended to be on the older side. I used to think I wanted to get a Prius but now I am starting to rethink. I do not think it is a Hybrid thing since I did not pickup on any of the other models being especially bad drivers.

In reality the Prius was probably not number one for being the least bicycle friendly drivers but they got the top spot since you would expect that a Hybrid driver would be more willing to share the road with the bicyclists.

The actual vehicle with the least bicycle friend drivers has to be what I call a SUCK. The cars that are half SUV and half Truck. The Cadillac picture below is one of the more popular versions in the area that I live but there are many others. The drivers of these types of vehicles think nothing of driver twice the legal speed limit and then making a hard right hand turn in front of you. They seldom give any room on the road and certaintly do not slow down to give you room to get out of the way. Since a lot of the riding I do is through New Jersey Horse country these types of vehicles are very common (gentleman farmers/horse breeders) on the quiet back roads.

I do have to admit I would probably drive one of these types of vehicles but I cannot stomach the less than 18 MPG that they are rated. They are great cars to have if your are active and need to transport things like bicycles, surf kayaks and skis as well as 3 or 4 friends.

In the same category as SUCKs are the pickup trucks driven by tradesmen. I swear guys like to see how close they come without hitting you. The mirrors these pickup trucks can really put a scare into you.

I think that cars with the most bicycle friendly drivers are Jeeps. Of all the Jeep models I think the Commander has the best drivers of all. They always seem to give you extra room and let you move out of the way. They never honk.

While I was never a big fan of the Commander's styling I would now consider owning one. I think most of the people who drive these cars are generally outdoor types who would also be on there bikes if they did not have to drive somewhere.

As I said I would not mind having a SUV/Truck and I think the one I would probably get would be the Honda Ridgeline. Too bad it does not have a Hybrid engine available. The last time I looked at a Ridgeline it only had an 18/22 MPG (I am too lazy to go over to the website to check). Over course you can get a good deal one now since gasoline is heading back to $3.00 plus per gallon.
Last week I rented a Chevy HHR. I liked it some much that I got one again this week. I think this would be a good car for me. It would be good for transporting my bike and skis. It is comfortable enough for 4 people. However, this week's rental (pictured above in my client's parking lot) does not run nearly as well as last weeks even though it only has about half the miles.

At this point I am going to stick with my 1999 Infiniti G20 with 97,000 miles. I am thinking I can get another 10 to 20 thousand more miles out of it. I think I need to invest in a trunk mount bike rack though.

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