From time to time, certain legislatures and citizens try to pass laws to require that electric cars make noise in order to alert people in the area that a car is coming. I don’t support passing these laws and think people should simply be more aware of their surroundings.
On rare occasions, I have found it necessary to lightly tap on my horn when driving a Tesla. Sometimes a group of people may be lingering in the middle of a parking lot for example, and there simply is no other way to get their attention without leaving the vehicle.
A lot of bicycle riders like to use the local roads for recreation. I am both a Model S driver and a cyclist. Only a small percentage of the riders in my immediate area are commuting or running errands on their bicycles. From time to time there are groups of people who do not frequently bike and are distracted chatting with their friends while riding side to side. Technically on roads without bike lanes, riding side by side is not legal. For roads with wide enough shoulders, this behavior is not really an issue, but there are certain areas with narrow blind curves where a bicyclist can be at serious risk.
From time to time tensions flare up between cyclists and drivers, but the debate seems slightly incredulous as there are few cyclists who are also not drivers. When I am riding, I am highly cognizant that I am not always glaringly visible, but more importantly much more vulnerable than when driving the Model S.
I have recently discovered a nice way to alert riders ahead that a quiet car is approaching. In the middle of most roads are reflective pavement markers. These markers serve two general purposes: mark the center of the lane in low light conditions, and create noise when someone drifts out of their lane. I have found a third purpose; with no approaching cars on the other side of the road and a cyclist or pair of cyclist ahead on a narrow road, I will drive my left hand tires directly over these pavement markers. This action creates a slight noise, just enough to alert the cyclist that someone is approaching from behind. The rumble is much softer and gentler than a honk of the horn.
In California a new law was recently passed requiring drivers to give cyclists three feet of space between themselves and the car. If three feet is not available, the driver must slow down to pass safely. In rural locations, officers said they will be unlikely to cite a driver who drifts over into the other lane to give the cyclists more room. This practice has been common here for years.
I think by just brushing these pavement markers, electric car drivers can alert but not startle cyclists of their presence when necessary.