06 August 2012

Bicyclists or The Blog That Made People Start Hating Me

First, for the purpose of this post, I would like to make a few things clear.  1) I actually really enjoy bicycling and I think it is an EXCELLENT form of exercise. 2) I will be using the term "most cyclists" and I mean most of the cyclists I have been involved with or seen.  If you don't fit into this generalization, or if you haven't had the same experiences that I have, that's great for you!  Please remember that I HAVE NOT SEEN ALL CYCLISTS and this is my blog, so if you disagree, write your own blog post about it because I am writing about my experience and you don't have to read my blog if you don't want to.  Pretty easy fix.  Right then.  On to the post.

My uncle was hit by a car this weekend during an annual bicycle ride my family organizes each year from Afton, Wyoming to Jackson, Wyoming.  He is definitely banged up, but thankfully he will recover.  Now, I don't know the specific details of the accident, but it serves to solidify and to provide evidence to my position which is that bicycles have no business occupying the same area as vehicles!!!  I don't care what anyone says, while the law states that bicycles are vehicles, BICYCLES ARE NOT THE SAME AS VEHICLES!  If you have a cyclist and a pedestrian who collide, they will both probably come out with some scrapes/bumps/bruises but the likelihood of a fatality or a serious injury is slim.  However, put a cyclist and a vehicle in a collision and the cyclist is going to get HOSED every single time!  I have come across the argument that motorcycles have the same problem as bicycles.  This is partially true, but they have more speed than a bike, they DO have more power than a bike, they are more grounded than a bike, and they are almost always more protected by their clothing because they almost never ride half naked like cyclists do at times.

Now, I realize that I may seem a little harsh or unreasonable but let me be clear.  I have a large number of family members and friends who are cyclists and I worry like crazy about them ALL OF THE TIME!!!  The biggest issue is that given how cyclists behave when I'm around, I would venture to guess that most cyclists haven't even taken the time and effort to read and learn what their rules of the road are!  Allow me to provide that link for you http://www.udot.utah.gov/main/uconowner.gf?n=55126312117091464 (The laws start on page 8 in case you are wondering.  Go ahead, read away!  I'll bet you never have before.)  When you finish reading them, let's talk about how I rarely have a cyclist signal what their intention is, I have nearly hit cyclists who go from sidewalk (where I frankly think they belong, even though it's not recommend or even legal in some places, so let's not even get started on that!) and dive straight into traffic, and cyclists who insist on riding down the middle of whatever lane they fancy and blaze around between lanes like they own the road.  Let's also discuss how on almost a daily basis I see cyclists ignore traffic signals and stop signs because they don't seem to feel like waiting for the light to change, or putting down a foot while they wait.  Because that's neat and totally safe!

Every single time I am driving downtown Salt Lake City, and I come to a stop light I am terrified that I'll go to make a turn and have a cyclist come flying up on my side and I will flatten them!  This is one of the traffic laws for cyclists that I find ignored with such a crazy regularity, it is scary!  I would like to quote:

"At busy intersections, do not advance to the stop line by passing cars on the right—unless you are in a designated bike lane. (Even if you are in a bike lane, be cautious of vehicles swerving into the bike lane to pass on the right.) If there is no bike lane, wait in the through lane or turn lane with the other vehicles."  [Last bullet point on page 8]

Really!?  I think I have seen that particular law obeyed one time.  ONCE!!!  I am talking to all of you cyclists!  Get with it!  We can't see everything at once, just like you can't see everything at once and you are a lot smaller than a car, so chances are you can see the cars better than they can see you.  Just saying.

I would like to make a point about riding at night.  It is difficult to see bicycles at night.  That is just a fact.  It is recommended/required that cyclists have reflectors and headlights/taillights if you are going to ride at night, but let me say this.  If you plan on having a super bright, strobe light on the front of your bike and you plan to ride into traffic (incorrect decision by the way, even though it happens ALL THE TIME) you might get run over.  If you do that right into my line of vision, I am going to have a full blown seizure and then I'm not going to feel nearly as bad when you are a pancake.

Now, I know that there are some situations where the drivers of cars aren't as courteous as they should be.  I'm sorry about that, but there is nothing I can do about that.  I do know, however, that I have had several experiences where I have had cyclists who have been particularly aggressive and or discourteous toward me.  Even in situations where I have been specifically looking out for them.  There was one situation where I nearly hit a cyclist, but it was an equal liability situation and I can say that I was genuinely SHOCKED at how she behaved.  It was a disgrace for cyclists and she should be ashamed of herself.

I'm not perfect.  I don't always see everything, but I do try very hard and I think I see a lot more than some people because I am always thinking how it could be my family or my friend who is in danger.  You know what though, cyclists need to start taking responsibility.  They need to start learning and doing, what they should be doing, and if you want the cars to share the road, act like it.  You are responsible for yourself.  I am responsible for myself and for you, so take that into consideration the next time you decide to be a colossal asshat by flipping me off and yelling profanities when I give you some extra space as I pass your sorry butt instead of riding on top of you.


marcus said...

Funny you posted this today! On my way to work this morning I was stopped at a red light, as it turned green a cyclist came flying down the right side of my car, cut all the way in front of me and then cut in front of the car to my left!

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