30 May 2008

Originally posted at my old blog geekcyclist.blogspot.com

With gas prices at or above $4.00 a gallon there have been more cyclists on the roads than I have ever seen before. Some ride like they have been commuting for years, and others clearly have no idea how to ride safely or legally. There are two things I see frequently that really annoy me:

  • Running Stoplights, especially in the busy downtown area; and
  • Riding on the left, facing traffic.

I feel like each of these are egregious enough that given the chance I will try to (politely) discuss it with the offending cyclist. For light jumpers I point out that not only is it against the law and dangerous, it makes it difficult for motorists to predict what the next cyclist is going to do. It also irritates many motorists and cyclists alike. For wrong way riders, if I have time, I point out that it is more dangerous, cars don’t expect you to be there, and that in an accident the cyclist will most likely be found at fault and recover nothing. Most people will either respond politely, or make it obvious that they are going to ignore me.

So the other day I was riding home on a two lane road with bike lanes in each direction. There was another cyclist on the opposite side of the road, riding in the bike lane but against traffic. We were almost matched in speed so I slowed down a little, waved, and said, “Great day for a ride.” When he responded I said, “I don’t know if you know this, but riding against traffic is against the law and very dangerous.”

You would have though I had insulted his wife, mother and firstborn. He reacted to me with a violence almost physical, suggesting that I have an inappropriate relationship with both myself and my mother, among other things.

Maybe I should take his advise and just mind my own business. I know that since then I have seen two offenders and not said a word. That bothers me as well. Somehow, as a body of ‘transportation’ cyclists, we have to find a way to politely yet effectively educate new or oblivious cyclist about riding legally and safely.

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