What a week! I am totally burned out from these elections, we will see what the future holds for cyclists under the new Presidency.
The vitriol between both parties reminded me of two conversations that I had with two of my co-workers regarding cyclists.
My co-workers know that I ride my bike to work and that I am also a mountain biker and a roadie. The first conversation I had was with a male co-worker when he found out that I like to mountain bike at night:
“Last night I had an encounter with some of your brethren, I was driving home and one rider had a light that was powerful enough to almost blind me. Too bad I did not have a front bumper guard on my Jeep or I would have ran them over”
I simply responded “You are willing to commit murder because you were accidentally blinded by a cyclist’s light?” He was baffled by my response, he then went about how some cyclists are assholes and should not be on the road at night. Now, I do agree that some of the lights that we use are quite powerful, 1,000 lumens can easily blind the shit out of you when mounted on a helmet and pointed directly at you. Since I ride with both a handlebar light and a helmet light, I make sure that I keep my helmet light at a low level an only turn it up when I’m riding off road away from vehicular traffic.
Although my co-worker was partly right about being blinded by inconsiderate mountain bikers, it is the fact that he said that he was going to run them over with an anger tone and he actually repeated his statement that he wished he would have run them over.
My second conversation was with a female co-worker who happened to see my handlebar mounted mirror. She asked me if I ride on the sidewalk or on the street, I responded that I always ride on the street because sidewalks are not safe. She asked me why is it that some cyclists ride on the middle of the lane instead of a sidewalk, I said, because we are allowed to use the entire lane when it is safe to do so. She then went on to say how she yelled at two cyclists to get “the fuck out of the way” and then proceeded to do the “punishment pass” to teach the cyclists a lesson because they were riding towards the middle of the lane.
I looked at her and asked her if it was worth killing or maiming someone who is a father, mother, son or daughter because she was inconvenienced by 10 seconds. She looked at me puzzled and I guess my statement sunk in.
I think that it is hard for drivers to understand what we go through because they have not been on our shoes (or pedals). My experience as both a bicycle and motorcycle rider has taught me that we are more vulnerable on the road and I give riders and pedestrians the space they need when I drive my car around them.
What is the solution? Education and tolerance. Cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers must be educated on the rules of the road and be more kind to each other.