But it’s a post about something I care deeply about so I hope you’ll grant me a little leeway today.
My dad rode his bike my entire life. Mostly because we only had one car and he had two jobs and there was only one way for him to get to work. But he was always on that bike and it didn’t matter if it was sunny or snowing. He rode.
We all fought cycling because of this. I took up running in my 20s and ran a few marathons and countless races. My little (younger, he’s way bigger than me) brother, Austin, had a running scholarship in college, where he raced nearly every weekend.
And then we both woke up (me because I’d had too many scopes on my knee and him because he was bored) and started cycling.
I’ve only been cycling for about six years (I think this is my seventh season, actually), but it’s my true love. I probably wouldn’t have loved it as much had I started from pressure from my dad. But I love it now. It’s like brushing my teeth. I can’t really go a day without a ride.
Cyclists On the Road
I don’t ride to annoy people driving in their cars. I don’t ride to hog the road. I certainly don’t ride because I have a death wish.
But there are many, many, many people who get behind the wheel of a car and become different personas of themselves. They think cyclists are there as moving targets. They think we ride just to annoy drivers.
For instance, on Saturday, I rode 43 miles. In that 43 miles, I had a woman open her door into the bike lane, nearly taking me out. I had a woman turning left into the bike lane so she could turn right a few blocks down. I had a mailman speed past me, only to brake hard so he could turn right in front of me. I had a convertible go around me as the guy behind the wheel flipped me off. I had a guy tap my back wheel WITH HIS CAR because he thought I was going too slowly and he wanted me out of the way.
Mind you. I was in the bike lane for all of this. And this was only one day. Also keep in mind that, for most of the riding, the speed limit is 25 mph. I averaged 19.85 mph on Saturday, which meant, in some cases I was riding the speed limit or even speeding with the cars around me.
Rules Of the Road
There are rules of the road. If the bike lane is blocked or impaired, cyclists have a right to be on the road. If there isn’t a bike lane, cyclists have a right to be on the road. Cyclists can ride two across. It’s the law. But we also have to obey traffic rules, which I know isn’t the case for all of us. It makes me angry when I see a cyclist running a light or moving through traffic against the flow. He makes it bad for all of us.
But the fact of the matter is, no matter how you feel about it, cyclists have as much right to be on the road as cars.
So, the next time you have to make a split decision about making that turn before the cyclist crosses your path, wait the extra three seconds and don’t risk his or her life. I thank you on behalf of the cycling community around the world.