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Google's self-driving cars have unique rules for bicyclists

Insert joke here about how bicyclists also have their own unique rule of the road, which is "ignore all the rules of the road."

Google Self-Driving Car Image

When a cyclist signals, its hand motion is registered and the system is able to make an educated guess as to its intended direction.


Bicyclists require special on-road considerations that other cars do not, and those considerations aren't limited to humans. Google's own self-driving cars, in fact, have a whole set of unique operations devoted solely to identifying and accommodating our two-wheeled compatriots.

Google's monthly self-driving car report focuses on bikes this month. It explains how Big G's cars are able to work alongside cyclists. For example, if the car registers both a bicyclist and a parallel-parked car with an open door, it'll move over to give the biker some space.

The system is also capable of detecting hand signals, and it can even remember a specific cyclist's hand signals, in case one guy is signaling 500 feet ahead of a turn, while another may only signal 100 feet before. It also managed its way through a unique situation, wherein one cyclist veered in front of Google's car while another turned and started riding against the flow of traffic. Maybe cyclists should start earning licenses.

The company's car report also includes collision updates, and in June, there were two. The first involved another car veering from its right-turn lane and contacting a self-driving Google car in an adjacent right-turn lane. The second involved another car rolling forward at a light and tapping the Google car's rear bumper. Both occurred in Austin, Texas, no injuries were reported, damage was minor and both were the fault of humans.

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