Like many days prior, I was on my way to work, merrily spinning away… On this particular day the paths and roads were teaming with riders and pedestrians, it was the first nice day we’ve had in a while after all.
I’m lucky enough that there’s only one *major* thoroughfare that I need to bisect on my way to work, and for the most part the cyclists all behave in the same predictable manner – We all skirt across a few lanes on the red light and use the left turning lane to head off into the path system on the other side of the roadway.
When it comes to traffic and cyclists I think predictability and common sense are a pretty good combination.
Just like every other morning when we got our turning arrow, our mini-peloton predictably made our way through the intersection, rolled through the corner and dropped into the path system. Except, this day our progress was abruptly overrun by a blaring horn.
Being fairly vulnerable as a cyclist things like this have a tendency to catch your attention… I quickly glanced over my shoulder and saw that a 5th cyclist has blasted through traffic after the light had turned green – cutting off the two lanes of cars and resulting in the blaring horn.
Having jumped out in front of traffic he was going considerably faster than us and blew past all of us through a pretty high traffic location… All the other cyclists around me were a little wild eyed after that.
I had no idea what I was going to say to him, but something something had to be done so I dropped the hammer. When I rolled up beside him I managed to deliver my message in a pretty reserved manner:
“Dude, not cool! You gotta take it easy back there, you make all of us look bad when you do shit like that…”
Pretty tame I think. His mumbling reply was something along the lines of:
“Whatever… I had lots of time…”
I decided not to pursue the conversation any further – I know most times I’ve made a bonehead move I already feel bad – There was no point pissing the rider off, I just wanted to make sure he knew that in addition to pissing drivers off (obviously), he was pissing other riders off and making us all look bad. I didn’t real feel a desire to get into it with him.
Now I haven’t been commuting for an exorbitant amount of time, and I’m lucky enough to do it in a city where drivers are for the most part fairly accommodating, but I feel that every rider out there is a spokesperson for cycling – For the good, or for the bad. And when it’s the bad, I think it’s time we started doing something about it.
I know there are plenty of instances where the ridiculous drivers are the ones making the bonehead moves and putting us in danger, but that’s a little easier to combat (as a community) when cyclists aren’t overtly putting themselves in danger and aggravating those behind the wheel.
See somebody overtly pissing drivers off? Say something. See somebody locking their tires into every corner, eroding the trail all of us worked hard to create and maintain? Say something.
It’s up to all of us to keep the trails safe and advocate for bike safety, if you see somebody blatantly ignoring their responsibility, step up and do your part.