Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Making the rest of us look bad

I will never claim to be a saint when it comes to cycling. I'm not a 100% VC guy, I drift through both stop lights and signs, I only signal turns at a few spots...you get the gist. There are a few things I avoid at almost all costs: I don't ride on the sidewalk, and I don't ride against traffic.

Today I was walking to my car (meetings make me drive) and was almost hit by a cyclist. This guy was:
  • in full spandex
  • going the wrong way on a one-way street
  • riding on the sidewalk
  • using a gear that would have been more at home scaling Alpe d'Huez than riding on level ground
He made a slight noise that might have been "Left" as he went by, but I only figured out what he said as I saw him going past me. I'm not a narrow guy, so it was a tight fit for him to get by, and I had a wall on the other side. About a block after passing me he went into the street, sliding around the parked cars, and kept on going - apparently playing chicken with any oncoming traffic.

These are the cyclists people remember. His bright red jersey, the spandex shorts, and riding the wrong way and on the sidewalk. No matter how many of us ride the right way, no matter how many of us ride civilly, it's the guys like this people remember whenever there's a discussion of bike infrastructure.

And we wonder why we usually lose those votes...

1 comment:

  1. Joel, sounds like we have a pretty similar riding philosophy, although I typically respect stoplights.

    On a note related to your post I got chastised by a guy in a truck on Monday for not signaling a left turn I made off an arterial onto a side street. It was a last second decision because of stopped traffic a couple blocks ahead and I didn't cut him off, but he went out of his way to honk at me, roll down his window (it was a cold morning) and yell something about giving a turn signal. I was well into the side street at this point and I'm not proud to say that I responded with a one finger salute in my irritation with his car-righteousness.

    Technically the guy was right and I probably should have signaled, but I got the feeling that he was one of those drivers that go out of their way to find fault with cyclists. I rode away feeling frustrated with the situation and how I had responded.