Bicyclists are ***holes. I am a bicyclist. Therefore…

I stumbled on this the other day.

Just another rant from an indignorant bike-riding driver who can’t understand why cyclists are such assholes. Not him, of course, or others like him who only ride on side streets or sidewalks.

But those other jerks. The ones who ride in street, acting like they actually had a right to be there, or have the audacity to move up to the front of the intersection at a red light. Or, God forbid, flip him off when he expresses his righteous indignation.

Riders like me, in other words. And possibly, like you — though I hope you have better control over your middle finger than I do sometimes.

Normally, I’d just click on another link, and move on to something else. But this one stuck with me, because he was complaining about exactly the same things I do every time I ride — the same things most bike safety experts tell us to do, precisely because they help us stay alive.

For instance, he can’t understand why cyclists insist on moving to the front of the intersection at a red light. Let alone why they get so upset when he tries to block their path with his car so they can’t.

Since he doesn’t ride his bike in traffic, maybe he doesn’t know that stopping behind a line of cars is one of the most dangerous things a rider can do.

That’s because the single most important thing any cyclist can do is make sure he or she is seen. And when you stop behind a line of cars — or often, even a single car — you’re completely hidden from oncoming traffic.

Which means that a driver waiting patiently to make a left turn may not know you’re there, and could turn directly into your bike once the car ahead of you clears his path.

It’s also likely that drivers on the cross street may not see you, either. And anyone coming up from behind probably won’t be looking a cyclist behind a line of cars, resulting a high likelihood of a crush crash that could smash your bike against the car in front.

Of course, you can easily avoid that simply by working your way to the front of the intersection where you can be seen by everyone. So by blocking cyclists from moving up, driver’s like him are willing to put the lives of their fellow human beings at risk.

Just because they don’t understand.

Then there’s his complaint about cyclists who ride in “the center of the lane…just because (they) can.” Except what he’s really complaining about is someone riding just three feet from the edge of the lane.

In other words, exactly where many experts would tell you to ride. Not in the gutter, with all the cracked pavement and broken glass. Not next to the parked cars, where you run the risk of being doored by a careless driver. But slightly into the lane, where cars can safely go around you when there’s a break in traffic.

Of course, I wasn’t there. Maybe the rider really was just an asshole. But I find it very hard to believe that traffic — through a park, no less — was so heavy that this driver did not have a single opportunity to pass for “a good three or four minutes.”

Obviously, this is just one guy, posting in another city over 6 months ago. Yet a simple Google search for the phrase “bicyclists are assholes” returns over 58,000 hits.

So the question becomes, how can we communicate to all these people that we’re not going out of our way to be rude just because we can, and there’s actually a good reason why we do the things we do.

Because they don’t read cycling blogs like this.

And they’re clearly not getting the message.


The new Flying Pigeon lands downtown; Bicycle Fixation drops in for a visit. Stephen Box reports Metro drivers think bikes must yield to big ass buses. The Anonymous Cyclist suggests that building your own wheels can be as relaxing as preparing for a tattoo. The old Freeloading Cyclists canard rears its ugly head once again. El Monte wants you to experience their Emerald Necklace — and discover riverbeds that aren’t lined with cement. Baton Rouge peddles pedaling paramedics. A lawyer discusses dangerous driving habits cyclists hate. Finally, it seems there’s real science behind rolling through stop signs.

7 comments

  1. disgruntled says:

    hehe – you seem to have set all your readers on him, poor sod! He’s probably wondering what hit him…

  2. LisaNewton says:

    You are so right. It’s often very difficult to deal with drivers who are ***holes. Ignorance isn’t an excuse.

    Thank you for writing this. I only hope the “cyclist” in question reads this and gets the message.

  3. Dave says:

    Hey, I just wanted to say that you’re referring to my blog ( http://davesays.wordpress.com). After reading yours however I have changed my mind about bicyclists.

    Please understand that I cannot classify all cyclists into one stereotype so if I came across that way I apologize.

    I now have a better understanding of things you do (like riding to the front of a line of cars at an intersection).

    You’re right, I mostly cycle on trails or side streets. I hate riding with cars because the car drivers (yes even me) can be clueless. I however do try to really look out for bicyclists and people on motorcycles because most people don’t.

    “So the question becomes, how can we communicate to all these people that we’re not going out of our way to be rude just because we can, and there’s actually a good reason why we do the things we do.

    Because they don’t read cycling blogs like this.” You just did my friend. I will change how I behave around cyclists after reading this. The Internet has a wealth of information and we should use it as constructively as possible.

    I thank you for taking the time to reply or even rant on my post, as it got me to thinking and got me to reading and is now helping me be less ignorant.

    I mean this entire comment as a compliment and I am not being sarcastic at all. It’s nice to know that other people can write a reply to something the disagree with and not be a total turd when doing so.

    Nice job mate!

    Here’s to safer cycling and better drivers. 🙂

  4. Dave says:

    Just wanted to say I still read your blog. I’m glad I learned something from you about biking.

    Merry Christmas from Ohio to LA. 🙂

    -Dave

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks, my friend — good to hear from you! I have to admit, I still check in with your blog from time to time as well, and use you as a living example that it really is possible for people to actually get along on the streets.

      Have a great Christmas, and all my best to you and your family for the New Year.

  5. b says:

    honest question:

    in LA, where should a cyclist be if he’s going straight, through an intersection that has a “right turn only” lane?

    last night a cyclist slapped my car because i apparently got in his way. i saw him the entire time, but he was on my right, and it was my understanding that he was supposed to be between the turn lane and thru traffic. not knowing what he was doing, and not seeing any kind of hand sign, i waited at a GREEN LIGHT to let him make his move. it turned out that he jerked left behind my car and then smacked my rear left fender as i made the turn.

    so i checked the CA Vehicle Code and found this:
    “21208. (a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a
    roadway pursuant to Section 21207, any person operating a bicycle
    upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic
    moving in the same direction at that time shall ride within the
    bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under
    any of the following situations:

    (4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.”

    your thoughts?

    • bikinginla says:

      b, I’d love to answer your question, but I need a little more information. The section of the CVC you mention refers to bike lanes, but you don’t say if the rider was in a bike lane or not; if not, CVC 21208 doesn’t apply.

      It sounds like you’re genuinely concerned about trying to drive safely around cyclists, and don’t understand why the rider was angry with you. If you could write back and tell me more about how the situation developed, like what you were doing — whether you were turning or going straight, if and where you moved into the turn lane — as well as where the rider was in relation to you and what he was doing — for instance, was he ahead of you, did you pass him, did he pass you, etc. The more detail you can provide, the better I can answer your question.

      Thanks for caring enough to ask — that’s more than most people would do.

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