I won’t presume to know what it must be like for cyclists to maneuver along roads filled with driver’s that seem unaware and ignorant of their presence. I have heard the stories of bike collisions with automobiles, and I openly admit that they have tainted my desire to pedal up, and this fear has probably trickled down to my children, as I’ve not been too quick to get them comfortable on their bikes either. And with gas prices as they are, when I mentioned to George that he could ride his bike to work, I was met with, “Are you kidding me?” a reaction based on the lack of respect that we’ve witnessed driver’s having towards those who make their way around Evanston on two wheels (or 4 if your count the Burley on the back).
So, before I continue this post (as you know darn well there is a “however” or an “and yet” coming straight at you . . . but you do have the choice to swerve away from this post if you must), let me admit that as a driver of one of those cars, I too haven’t always been the most patient of our cycling friends.
And yet . . . (ha, there it is . . . I warned you), there is a completely other side of the relationship between cyclist and driver that must be addressed.
And that, my friends, is the relationship between the driver and the idiot cyclist.
I was the victim of a little cycling road rage today. Funny thing is . . . I was following the rules of the road and my dear friend with the mouth and no helmet, was, well, not. It was a showdown of “Rules of the Road” vs. “Who Rules the Road.” And clearly, he thought he did, and thus he slung his expletive right into the open windows of my car to make sure I knew how he felt.
You see, ahem, sir, when two moving vehicles are traveling down a very narrow road, say, going East, and you are traveling on your bike towards those moving vehicles, say, going West, and there are parked cars along your path ON YOUR SIDE OF THE ROAD, impeding your route, it is generally accepted that one should wait until the moving vehicles (who, while in transit, have already reached the parked cars and are in the process of passing them) have actually cleared those parked cars, RATHER THAN MAKING THE ATTEMPT TO SQUEEZE YOU, AND YOUR BIKE, BETWEEN A MOVING VEHICLE AND THE PARKED CARS WHILE YELLING “THANKS, B&*^%!”
He just didn’t want to stop. And yet, had I stopped, he would have still had to maneuver in between me and the parked cars, as there was nowhere for me to pull over to the right. So, common sense would say, “Oh, there are two moving vehicles coming straight towards me, and my path is impeded by a parked car. I’ll just wait for them to pass and then I’ll move about on my merry way. La, la la.”
Nope. Instead, let me just spit some foul language, and endanger my safety by refusing to yield.
It’s situations like this one that infuriate me.
And not only did I experience this bozo today, but yet another cyclist who while actually waiting behind a line of cars at a stoplight, began to yell, “Let’s go, people!” the second the light turned green. Yeah, hi, first of all, they can’t hear you as their windows are up to keep in the A.C, and secondly, if you need to travel more quickly, perhaps you should think of driving. Or get a Vespa.
Wait, I’m not done. Then there was the kid on a bike who didn’t slow down or stop at the corner, instead choosing to fly into the intersection that I was approaching. And the family of four biking down the road; the children in helmets, and the parents without. Hello? Mom? Dad? You’re not much help to those children of yours with a head injury.
And this is why I get upset.
I’m all for biking. I’m all for saving energy and fuel. We are now a one car family for goodness sake. We get the reasoning behind having less cars on the road. We’re “in”. And yet, if biking is going to really make an environmental comeback, the rules of the road are going to need to be enforced, for, (and yes, I’m saying it), all accidents between bikes and cars are not always the fault of the one driving the car.
So, while I will stay off the bike lanes that have been placed in various places around Evanston, and will look both ways, and treat you, the cyclist, as I would any other moving vehicle, I expect the same from you. You need to stop at intersections, as I do. You need to follow the rules of the road, as I do. You need to curb your road rage, as I do . . . when my children are present.
We’re going to have to work together and watch out for each other. As there will most likely be more of you on our city streets as our gas prices soar to $5.00/gallon, and yet, those of us with cars aren’t going anywhere.
So, watch yourself, the road, and other drivers.
And get a helmet while you’re at it.