Friday, October 11, 2013
Beware of Cyclists
It was a normal Saturday and I was running errands. Coming to a four way stop that I'd encountered hundreds of times, I stopped, pulled forward, and almost hit a person on a bicycle. He skidded and swerved around me and once past my bumper, he turned and yelled, "Watch out, f---ing asshole!"
I am an asshole at times. I may even be a f---ing asshole at times. But in this case, the asshole was wearing a bright green jersey and coasting downhill on a Trek road bike. He was immune to all traffic laws or at least determined that none would ruin his built up kinetic energy.
To be clear, I'm a fan of cycling. I used to own a Bianchi road bike and follow professional cycling. As a kid, I spent countless hours on a ten-speed, pedaling around Kansas City. I still get out on my bike 2-3 times a week to hit the trail near my house and have even considered buying a bike to commute to work.
Just like motorcycles, bicycles belong on the road. But they must follow the rules. I know from experience that a lot of motorists don't see cyclists, or crowd and try to intimidate them. The problem is that cyclists also play their intimidation games or do things that are just plain stupid. I've seen them weave in and out of stopped traffic, ride between two cars, blow through stop signs and traffic lights, and even grab hold of bumpers to get a free ride.
What it comes down to is this: If you are driving a car, look out for cyclists. Give them room and treat them like you would any other vehicle on the road. And if you are a cyclist, assume you're invisible, ride smart and be on the defensive. And above all else, follow the rules like you were driving a car and don't be an ass.