I heard about a bike rider who attached a pool noodle to his bike so drivers would give him enough room when they passed. I was having problems getting places safely on my bike as well — only in the suburbs, by the way — so I tried it there. I added a sticker that said it was the law to give 3 feet, and then I wrote with a Sharpie, “Thanks! I’m a mom” just to personalize it a bit. Then, I made the sticker that’s for sale here and used that on what I call BikeNoodle.
I road-tested BikeNoodle for 10 months and had 100% success riding safely with zero incidents of illegal too-close passing or other aggressive driving actions (if you don’t include that one Publix incident). What’s more, most drivers gave me an average of SIX feet to pass, and slowed down to less than 25 MPH to do so. Not only that, but many drivers told me at red lights what a good idea it was. Frankly, it was like riding in my own traveling, protected bike lane.
I’m not telling you to do this. I’m not liable for anything that may happen to you out there. I just wanted to share my sticker with you, in case you have a use for it. I left a blank so you could write “dad” or “neighbor” or “senior” or “student” or “citizen” or whatever you want. If you want to see what it looks like in action, I’ve tagged some photos and posts with #BikeNoodle on Twitter and Instagram. (Psss — you could also put this on your backpack or somewhere else noticeable while you are riding, to act as a traveling public service announcement and encourage safe passing.)
If interested, check out my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike (Chapter 6, Noodle Lady, is all about this). It is instantly downloadable from Amazon in all global markets to the free Kindle app on all devices. (Psst — I give you the Epilogue for free at that link. It tells you why I eventually stopped using BikeNoodle, even though it worked for me terrifically.)