06/17/2015 12:36 EDT | Updated 06/17/2016 05:59 EDT

Sticky Situation: Five Guidelines to Sharing the Road

The handlebar view of a bike courier in New York City.

Sticky Situation:

"The road is not just for you! The road is for everyone! " Whether you are a cyclist, motorist or pedestrian, you will use these words at least once this season.

And you are right.

If the road belonged to just one person and that person never met another cyclist, motorist or pedestrian, he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. But as soon as the possibility of crossing, or interacting with another person exists, road etiquette applies.


Besides your provincial road rules, here are five guidelines for road harmony.

1. Signal Your Presence and Intentions.

Pedestrians: As you learned in kindergarten, stop, look and listen before crossing. When necessary, make eye contact.

Cyclists: Use the hand signals; left, right or slowing down, your bell and be visible after dark.

Motorists: Flashing lights, your mirrors and your horn are not optional, they are to be used.

2. Stay on the Right and Pass on the Left.

Pedestrians: Stay alert and don't text while walking.

Cyclists: Never pass on the right, even in traffic jams.

Motorists: Clear one metre, or the distance prescribed by your provincial law, to pass a cyclist.

This rule also applies to going up and down stairs.

3. Listen and Don't Contribute to Noise Pollution.

All: Avoid insults and unnecessary honking or bell ringing.

Cyclists: Make sure you can hear traffic and other road sharers. Wearing headphones or earbuds can be illegal in your province and is definitely not safe, foremost for you.

Cyclists and Motorists: Your favourite tunes blaring on your radio only makes you feel good, it is a nuisance to others.

4. Follow Your Path.

Pedestrians: During rush hour, don't walk more than two wide. Make a queue.

Motorists: Be careful not to splash pedestrians and look before opening your car doors.

Cyclists: Sidewalks are exclusively for pedestrians.

5. Smile and Mind Your Road Manners.

All: Be the King of the Road and let someone go in front of you by giving them the "go ahead finger." If someone lets you pass, give them the customary "Thank you and have a great day" wave.

Share and be safe, the road is for everyone.

You have a sticky situation at work or at home? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more solutions to sticky situations? Go to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or order your autographed copy of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast and beyond, to present customized activities. With Julie's help gone will be awkwardness, embarrassment and faux-pas.


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