The other day I had to cross a busy road at a point where there was no light. I needed to turn left but there was a median so I could only go right. I crossed into the left turn lane and stopped to wait for oncoming traffic. Meanwhile, a van pulled up behind me and yelled that I should be using the sidewalk. Sidewalk? I wanted to ask him where this magical sidewalk was that crossed over all this traffic so cars wouldn’t be inconvenienced. I also wanted to ask why he was upset with me when it was oncoming traffic that was stopping both of us. I wrote of a similar incidence in my post, The Ignorant motorist. In that post, a women went out of her way to tell me I should be riding on the sidewalk.
I thought I would come up with a list of five things drivers should know about cyclists. So here it is:
- We own the road – You own the road too. With a few exceptions, we all pay taxes that build and maintain our roads and nobody has an exclusive right to use them based on what type of vehicle they drive.
- We help improve your life – For every cyclist on the road, there is one less person that is contributing to environmental pollution. We also help keep gas prices lower by reducing demand. In addition, we are reducing the number of cars on the road, which reduces gridlock. If enough people were encouraged to cycle rather than drive, these benefits would be increased. You would also see the cost of maintaining and building roads come down.
- Honking your horn at us does nothing useful – Some people have noble intentions and will honk to let a cyclist know that they are behind them. This won’t change the cyclist behavior except to possibly startle them and cause an accident. Others honk because they are mad about being delayed ten seconds. This just makes the driver look like a jerk.
- We don’t want to delay you – Yes, riding a bike is slower than driving. We all know that some drivers are being slightly inconvenienced. Unfortunately, until more cities start putting bike lanes on their streets, that is always going to be a problem.
- We are just regular people – Sure, some cyclists are super athletes, but I think most just want to get in shape and enjoy the great outdoors.
I actually don’t expect any non-cyclists to read this but you never know.