Today’s Rant – Bicycles

I know – or at least think – I have shared before that I am NOT a huge fan of cyclists. You know, bicycle riders. Not motorcycle enthusiasts (a topic for a post another day). And I know that I am SUPPOSED to embrace bikers – they are cool and trendy and urban and green and leave a smaller carbon footprint, blah blah blah… Whatever.

Here’s MY request to ALL bicycle riders:

If you want to be respected by automobile drivers, be respectful back. Period.

Listen, if it were up to me, bicycles would be banned from any road over two lanes wide and/or with speeds posted of over 25 MPH for your own safety. Before I go any further, I apologize in advance to all the cyclists that do “obey the rules” and are mindful that they are not the only things moving on the road.

BTW – quick sidebar: I feel anyone OVER six years old caught riding a bicycle on ANY sidewalk should have their bike impounded for no less than thirty (30) days. I mean, the distinction is pretty easy – “wheeled” things go on the road and sidewalks are reserved for PEDESTRIAN, meaning FOOT traffic (strollers are permitted). Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Anyway,

Why am I on a tear about bikes on the road today? Well, this afternoon I ran about two hours’ worth of errands and saw cyclists commit every possible “crime” today during those two hours.

First up? Traffic laws… Remember these?

traffic lightCommonly called stoplights, these automated traffic control devices regulate the flow of traffic. Green means “GO”; red means “STOP” – unless you are on a bike. I cannot tell you how often I see cyclists blast through red lights (and four-way intersections) as if they were above the law/on a bike path in a metro park. Today was no exception. On three separate occasions, I saw riders blow thru traffic lights as if they didn’t exist. I personally believe cops should ticket bicycle riders the same as auto drivers when they run a red light, or commit any other “moving” violation. We ALL share the road, right?

Same road, same rules – that’s what I believe.

As if running red lights was not bad enough, one set of cyclists today not only did this but committed ANOTHER of my pet peeves – riding side-by-side abreast, down a five lane roadway with a 35 MPH speed limit. In fact, it was three ladies – not “silly teenagers” but three ladies, I’m guessing in their early/mid 30’s, just pedaling along, three abreast, clogging up traffic as if they owned the roadway.

Know when cyclists should be riding side by side? Events like The Tour de France:

cyclists side by sideAnd finally, as if this trio wasn’t annoying enough, this rolling road block of traffic law violators, not ONE of them had on a helmet. Not one. I guess maybe helmets “mess up their hair” – know what else gets messed up when you don’t wear a helmet and “go down hard” on a roadway? Your brain…

not wearing a helmetSorry for the graphic scrambled brain imagery but I have a friend who is an occupational therapist and she tells me that head injuries suffered from biking accidents are typically as bad – or worse! – than head injuries sustained in car accidents. Why you ask? Maybe because cars have air bags? And seat belts? And a reinforced steel frame around the passengers. Jeesh.

If you ride a bike, WEAR A HELMET.

Listen, I will do my best to peaceably co-exist with you guys and gals. But you have to meet me halfway – stop being stupid (arrogant?) and assume it is my JOB to make sure you have the best possible time while you are “Saving the Planet by Saving Gas.” It isn’t (my job).

Go on, ride away, but be RESPONSIBLE cyclists.

More and more cities are making distracted driving an offense – so do you think pedaling along with ear buds jammed in your ears is smart? I get a ticket if I don’t wear my seat belt but you don’t wanna’ wear a helmet? What? When I weave in and out of traffic, I get pulled over for a DUI check or maybe get a ticket for reckless operation. You are not a bike messenger in NYC. Chill it with all the radical lane changing. I get a ticket if I run a red light but I would guess that more than 50% of all cyclists don’t even KNOW the hand signals for left and right turns, let alone use them – I know, they make you look “dorky.”

Does this look “dorky?”

mangled bike

My two-wheeled friends: I think/suspect most of you can drive a car so you know what degree of concentration and effort that takes. May I ask that you apply that SAME level of concentration and focus to your self-powered, two-wheeled excursions? I cannot do the work for BOTH of us. Plus, I shouldn’t have to. Let’s work TOGETHER to make your outing – AND mine – as enjoyable, safe and uneventful as possible. In the end, we both benefit. Thanks…

And to the ladies riding three abreast on Richmond Road today at 2:20PM? I got my eyes open, looking for you three…

2 responses to “Today’s Rant – Bicycles

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Tim. Last week I was pulling out of a parking lot on a green light on to Euclid Avenue and a bicycle plowed into my right front fender as it shot down the sidewalk. Pedestrians had stopped on either side of the driveway because my green light, but the bicycle just sailed down the sidewalk and into my car. No one was hust, but the cyclist was incensed that I was moving into traffic across the sidewalk.

    • Similar story: When my store was on the west side, I walked outside only to be BARELY missed by a guy on a bike probably going like 20-30 MPH down the sidewalk. He was FLYING. And – to make it worse? He flipped me off and called ME an ass. Again, I suggest – wheels on the roadway, feet on the sidewalk. Always.

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