I like you guys. You always look so friendly, whizzing along on your bikes, little backpacks on or with saddlebags or baskets. Earth-friendly, healthy, energetic. I like this. I am almost jealous, especially feeling like a horrid person driving around in my car (not much of a gas-guzzler, but I could still do better). And the cyclists busting ass look pretty awesome in their little sponsored athletic wear thingys.
But here’s the thing. You’re on the road. I’m on the road, too. And I do NOT want to hit you guys. Because I know that, tiny though my grad student poverty-ridden car may be, if I hit you, I will probably be unhurt, and you, assuredly, will not. I do not want to hit you. I don’t think I could ever forgive myself if I accidentally hit someone on foot or on a bike (well, injured anyone, really).
So here’s the deal. When you are on a bike, and you are on the road, YOU ARE A VEHICLE. You are not a happy little kid on a trike and this is NOT your neighborhood or a parking lot. This is a divided road with an effing median, stop signs, stop lights, and a speed limit of around 35. It’s downtown. It may be busy. And there will be lots of people driving much bigger cars than I am driving, and paying much less attention than I am. I don’t want to hit you, and I don’t want any of them to hit you either.
When you are on the road, you are a VEHICLE. This means that you may not:
1) Run stop signs
2) Run stop lights
3) Make left turns where there is no left turn
4) Go the wrong way on a one-way road
(The above four perpetrated by the same bike in about 100 yards).
5) Make turns without signaling
6) Whip across three crowded traffic lanes, assuming the cars won’t move
7) Ride going against traffic
8) WEAR A GORRAM HELMET. I don’t know how much they really do, but something is better than nothing.
Please. Follow the etiquette of biking on the road, or stick to the sidewalks and neighborhoods. If you can, find a bike lane (though I know they are not always available). Please. I do NOT want to hit you. I want you to get where you’re going. I want other people to be inspired by you and bike to work or school as well. But for this, we need to make a deal. I keep an eye out for you. You bike as safely as you can.
I yell because I care,