Article written by Adam

10 responses to “Why Drivers Shouldn’t Honk at Cyclists”

  1. anne

    i have been honking this year because i’ve recently bought a very quiet hybrid. i’d rather annoy you than hit you because you do not hear me and swerve. i know i need a better solution but for now if i’m on a narrow road and i feel you could swerve i’ll let you know i’m there. a different perspective?

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Hmm, I’ve heard that argument before Anne and honestly hybrids aren’t that quiet. Or maybe I try know what’s over my shoulder more so than other cyclists. If some cyclists seems completely oblivious, then a honk is appropriate. Just do realize that when the honk comes, its out natural instinct to turn around and look, which may bring about the swerve you were trying to avoid. Cyclists also should always assume there’s a car behind them, even if they don’t hear one.

      Horns don’t annoy me, by the way, they’re part of the urban song! But, they’re almost like the boy who cried wolf at this point. Misused so frequently that when they’re needed they’re ignored.

      Think it all depends on the exact situation.

  2. Jim Gaudet

    Man, if you were in Costa Rica you would go crazy. Everyone here beeps for everything and I mean everything. Taxis are beeping, people are honking to say hello. Believe it or not, there is some sort of system, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

    But, it is NOT for an emergency, craziness.

    One question though, if it’s a hot girl on the bike, then can I honk?

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Think the tone of my post might have been a bit off, the honking noise itself doesn’t really bother me, it’s people misusing it just to be a MassHole. Heck, I’ve been know to bob my had to the beat of a car alarm before so the beeping sound is just another noise (which is part of the problem).

      There’s a system to the random beeping here too. Honking to say hi or to to celebrate a Sox or Celtics win is common, but those honks usually aren’t the same as a “MOVE OUT THE WAY, I must get to my red light quicker” honk.

      I’d recommend talking to the girl instead of honking at her 😉

  3. baculum

    I agree with the sentiment of your post and that graph is just hilarious, but I can’t justify getting in front of a crazy driver for any reason. After a car sneaks up on me I would rather hit them back with one of these:

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Well, I should mention this is my urban strategy. In the city, I don’t think a crazed driver would purposefully run someone over. It’s possible but I still feel it’s more dangerous moving aside as the crazed, constant honking drivers will whiz by you without regard for your space or you might get doored or hit by a pedestrian etc.

      Oh, and that horn is hilarious.

  4. inessa

    dam rite man! firstly i already know ur behind me bc of a) excellent peripheral vision b) the sound of an approaching car. honking obviously is taken to be a scare tactic. i take up less than 1/8th of the road as it is. if anybody has the right to take up space it should be me! SUVs should have even less honking rights then other cars….

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Exactly, it’s a scare tactic and usually delivers the exact opposite of the intended result. And it does seem that the larger the vehicle the more they honk, it’s as if their inability to maneuver their behemoth means we should move out of their way. I don’t think so!

  5. Whalehead King

    They tend to startle the bejeezus out of me. I’m well aware that they’re behind me but when they honk I can react by swerving out of the way of what I think is an unseen obstacle. Trusting me, I think they are looking out for my best interest.

    As the littlest and most vulnerable legal vehicles on the road we deserve a little consideration. We should all be spreading good cheer and good driving rather than jackass-ery.


    1. Adam Pieniazek

      I think of it as returning to the middle. To me a honk is a warning and my natural reaction is to move to the middle and analyze the situation around me looking for the cause of the warning. People honk and then yell at you for being in the middle of the road, which makes no sense.

      And yes, being the smallest vehicles on the road should get us some consideration and even appreciation from larger vehicles. After all if everyone riding cycles jumped in a car instead traffic would be worse!