“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” ~Mark Twain, Taming the Bicycle
Warning: This is going to be a bit of a gripe session so feel free to tune out at will (it’s also meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek so don’t get too crazy if you write to me…relax).
One of my biggest pet peeves is the attitude of some bicyclists on the streets of Ahwatukee. Yes, I know how green they all are and they aren’t contributing to higher health insurance costs because they’re so fit!
I’m sorry but those feel-good factors for the positive column don’t come close to balancing out the negative side of the equation. I’ll elaborate and share the things that bug me most about many (not all) city cyclists.
They’re road hogs. Many city streets now have bike lanes designated strictly for their use (and go largely unoccupied because there is a relatively small part of the population using them). However, I frequently have to make dangerous maneuvers into the next lane to avoid the guys who always ride just on the white line. It strikes me as arrogant and inconsiderate. New bumper sticker: Share the road with a car!
They disrupt the flow of movement away from red lights. They take up position in the middle of the street (along with motorized vehicles) at traffic lights. When the light turns green they begin to peddle at speeds much slower than surrounding cars. This presents a hazard for nearby automobiles.
They remain in the bike lane (when it’s convenient) and blast past slow traffic as well as intersecting side streets. It’s really difficult to see them coming when making a right turn and they’re approaching from the rear at a great rate of speed on the right. Blind spot!
Even the goofy bike attire annoys me. It just screams, “I’m a real cyclist…I’m not an amateur…and I’ve got the tacky, pricey clothes to prove it!”
They don’t pay their fair share. Taxes and fees related to driving a car help pay for road maintenance but cyclists use it for free. Drivers pay for accident insurance. Statistics on auto accidents caused by cyclists are sketchy, but based on the many near-misses I’ve witnessed; I’m convinced there have to be a significant number of them.
They disregard traffic signals, often going through red lights and running stop signs. I’m sure it’s inconvenient to come to a stop and have to put the effort into restarting but isn’t the effort and workout a part of the enjoyment? Traffic laws are for everyone, not merely a suggestion.
I know there are drivers who can be total jerks to cyclists as well. They honk and drive too close to the bike lane adding fuel to the flame of discord that already exists. That’s unacceptable, but I’m not one of them. I follow traffic laws as well as rules of common courtesy. I’m working on a kinder attitude about this … but on my way home recently (once again) a cyclist darted in front of me at an intersection then gave me a one finger salute accompanied by words I won’t mention when I had to slam on my brakes to avoid a collision. I’m hoping God will soften my heart toward this issue (forgive me, biking friends) and will protect me from a cyclist-related accident. Any near-misses you’d like to share or other pet peeves to vent? Comment at www.ahwatukee.com In the spirit of fairness I invited a cyclist to write a rebuttal post on my blog. See it at http://dianemarkins.com/?p=153