Tag Archive for the need to be seen

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.

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