Q. How do motorists respond to people on tricycles most of the time?
A. The typical inexperienced thought on this topic is one that seems to be at odds with reality. While motorists may at times present a threat to trikers, they do so unintentionally, and are generally not a true threat. Always watch automobiles with the frame of mind that none of the drivers see you! Pretend like you are invisible, and you will go a long way towards keeping yourself and trike intact. If they see you, they will more than likely afford you extra courtesy. My experience, and that of other well-traveled trike pilots I know, demonstrates that over the course of thousands of miles ridden, only a very minuscule minority of motorists will ever knowingly disrespect the philosophy and law of sharing the road with cyclists. By far, most drivers will demonstrate a noble level of humanity and honor your presence.
Sooner or later though, you will probably encounter one of these drivers who believe the road is only for them, but it’s so infrequent as to be a non-issue when considering getting a trike or taking a ride. The worst things that have happened to me so far are: 1) a driver waiting until her front bumper was even with my head while passing, and then laying on the horn, even though the road was wide open and straight with no other traffic, 2) a motorhome passenger in a very tight and blind mountain curve screaming thoughtless words at me, even though the driver was courteous and allowed plenty of room. I’ve been passed by thousands of cars over many hundreds of miles, in all types of roadway and terrain, and only those two aggressive incidents have occurred.
Remain courteous yourself at all times, even in the face of these rude humans, for if you allow your temper to overcome your intellect by returning their discourtesy, it only sets the stage for the next cyclist that motorist sees, and (s)he will only get worse and more bitter over time. These few drivers are troubled people, so please do not reinforce their antisocial behavior with any of your own! This is easy to do once you realize that over 99% of all motorists will treat you with a very high level of respect and courtesy. Be the change you want to see in the world – it’s an honorable philosophy in all facets of life of course! The negative cycle has to be broken somewhere, be it a wrongdoer or rude driver, and I aim to be the source of change! Let us all be cycling ambassadors, sending a positive image when out in traffic.
Being a recumbent tricycle ambassador starts young. Teach ’em well for tomorrow.