Checking on cycling related articles this weekend; I came across two that did not show cyclists in a good light, in fact I found them downright embarrassing.
These were “Opinion” type articles that were not the usual anti-cyclist rants; in both cases the writers expressed that they were all for cycling and an active lifestyle.
Rebecca Farrow who lives in the Murfreesboro area of Tennessee, wrote a piece titled “Bicyclists must learn to share the road, too.”
The lady was driving to work when she says she was nearly run off the road by a pack of cyclists riding towards her, four and five abreast. Not only were they taking up the entire opposite lane, but some were over the yellow line and riding in her lane as she approached.
Rebecca estimates there were over 100 riders; even if this is an exaggeration and there were half that number, in my opinion that is too many to be riding in a pack without an official escort. She then stated:
“I was surprised when bicyclists started using hand gestures to tell me to slow down and move over. I was driving 10 mph under the posted speed limit well within my lane and no bicycles were traveling the same direction as I was.
I continued to get hand gestures and dirty looks from bicyclists and started hearing people shouting at me in my vehicle to "slow down," "move over," and remember "three feet." I would have given the bicyclists three feet of clearance had they stayed at least two feet from the center yellow lines.”
I am sorry but I have to take the side of Rebecca Farrow in this instance. If the approaching pack of cyclists were taking only half the lane as they should have done, then traffic within the opposing lane that is driving at a reasonable speed should be of no concern.
It does not warrant signals to slow down and move over. WTF, it is the cyclists who should be moving over. It is exactly this type of arrogant attitude, especially towards drivers who are doing nothing wrong, that sours people against all cyclists.
The second article in the Philadelphia Enquirer, by Robert Kelley, tells a story from a pedestrian’s viewpoint.
As with the previous article the writer is sympathetic to the cyclists plight, having previously ridden bicycles and motorcycles himself; now forced to be a pedestrian because of vision impairment.
Robert’s beef is with cyclists running red lights at a high rate of speed, and he states:
“When it comes to bicyclists or motor vehicles, we're not all able to react as quickly as we'd like. In my case, I lost much of my peripheral vision and all of my depth perception because of a head injury, and I can't drive at night.
When I cross Center City on foot to my night job, I can see cars but must try hard to read the flow of other pedestrians. And I will often miss bicyclists running against the light.”
I urge you to read these two articles (Links are in the text.) and tell me if you agree that these two people are being reasonable and have a legitimate complaint against the cyclist’s behavior.
I make no apologies for always bitching about cyclists’ poor judgment and actions. It is pointless for me to complain about bad driving by operators of automobiles, that is not my reading audience.
However, I am hopeful that I can make an appeal for sanity to a few intelligent thinking cyclists who might happen to read this.
Start sharing the road and maybe others will be willing to do the same