You don’t see it very often, but this morning I saw a young couple riding against traffic, instead of with it. I stopped them, and tried to explain why what they were doing is very dangerous and annoying to drivers. They were polite but very stubborn; their theory is that they can see the cars coming and that makes it easier for them to get off the road if necessary.
I tried to explain about closing speed: With Traffic – Bike moving 15 mph, car behind moving in same direction doing 40 mph – speed differential or closing speed= 25 mph.
Against Traffic – Bike moving 15 mph, car coming toward cyclist at 40 mph- speed difference or closing speed= 55 mph. BIG difference.
They still aren’t buying it, how can they see the cars? The answer, very simple – mirrors. Some cyclists think they are a distraction, but once you learn to use them and get used to them I don’t think you’ll every ride without them.
I even told them that in most places it’s illegal to ride against traffic. They didn’t care, saying they would trade a ticket for their safety.
I gave up and wished them well, but I fear for their safety. Can any of you think of any other arguments to persuade people who ride against traffic? I’d love to hear them.