Monday, March 19, 2007

3/19/07 - GET OUTTA THE *&@#$^% ROAD!!!

Most of us live two lives - that of a cyclist and that of a motorist.

While driving home this evening, I spotted a cyclist riding down Highway 70 - riding down the middle of the road in the turn lane - DURING RUSH HOUR. From my vantage point behind the wheel of my car, the only thought that entered my mind was, "Idiot!" while I kept one eye on him and one eye on the cars around me trying not to hit either of them while merging into the cyclist-occupied turn lane to make a left hand turn. And this guy was a "cyclist" too: Nice helmet, team jersey, and Italian road bike - not some random "biker" on a Wal-Mart bike.

These are not the type of words you would hope to read on the website of an avid cyclist and cycling advocate - but here they are and they are mine.

I'm sure that when I am on my bike my experiences are no different than yours - I almost always have some sort of negative experience with a motorist of some sort while riding. And, if I don't, I spend much of my ride geared up for a fight - thinking about what I might say or do to the next motorist who yells, honks, or otherwise tries to start something.

Well, it's time for all cyclists to wake up - DRIVERS ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE UNTIL WE DO. Until we ride in a lawful, responsible, predictable manner we will continue to have trouble with motorists on our roadways. The Tennessee drivers code clearly states that bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as cars do. Click here for bicycle-specific excerpts Many cyclists are more than happy to take the rights, but don't want all the responsibilities - like our turn-lane riding example above. The thing is, until we demonstrate that we're responsible users of the roadways, we will not get the respect of motorists - however responsible or irresponsible they may be.
There is a true double-standard on our roadways, and it is not in our favor. The only way we can hope to change this is to change our own behavior and that of those around us. This time of year is when the number of cyclists on our roads explodes as the weather gets favorable again for most riders. Don't let each other do stupid things on the road that make us all look bad. When one of us does something wrong, it reflects poorly on all of us and endangers our ability to use the roadways.

I've said it once here before and I'll say it again: If you want to be treated like a car, act like one. Stop at stop signs and traffic signals, signal your intentions when you turn, ride in the appropriate traffic lane, and yeild proper right-of-way when it applies. If we accept the responsibilities of all users of our roadways, we'll all be happier and more widely accepted.
And if you hear another cyclist yelling at you, telling you you're an idiot - listen, because you probably did something to deserve it - and I'm probably the one doing the yelling... :)

1 comment:

  1. Ill willed people will always be there to incite someone who is in their way if they don't have to deal with the consequence for their actions. Sure cyclists do dumb things but the car always wins. Drive the speed limit and don't stereotype the situation for THIS will make you a hypocrite.



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