Inspired by a car with a Support Our Troops bumper sticker that made a left turn ahead of me, I made one of my own.
But seriously, folks, I fear $4 gas may lead to reduced civility on the roads between drivers and cyclists as we become more judgmental about the Other's choices. I've witnessed more aggression from drivers this year than ever before.
Yesterday, our five-bike cohort sat patiently at a wide intersection waiting for the light. The signal interval was insanely short, and with five of us in single file, starting from a dead stop, we had not all cleared the intersection before the light turned back to red.
A driver, who was not slowed or inconvenienced in the least, yelled at us: "Heed the law!"
Virtually every ride when I am on the road parallel to a bike path now, a driver honks and/or waves me toward the path. No matter the path is posted at 10 mph and I may be traveling close to twice that speed. No matter that cyclists have a right to the road.
Cars can't use bike paths, therefore, bikes must.
Most drivers are careful and sometimes courteous to a fault. And it's true that too many cyclists on the road are unpredictable — some through inexperience and others through arrogance or inattention, just like drivers.
Here are few personal rules for reducing my unpredictability to drivers.
- When cars are present at an intersection, I obey relevant signs or signals.
- If intersections and approaching cross lanes are clear, I use the Idaho stop.
- When stopping, I drop a foot to the pavement so drivers don't have to guess whether I'm going to go.
- I signal my turns.
- I assume no driver sees me until the driver indicates otherwise.
On the same grocery run today, as I pulled up to the store, a silicone Bambi was disembarking from an Escalade. She was wearing a skimpy see-through swim wear cover-up over a tiny bikini.
About ten minutes later, as I left the store, the Escalade and driver still sat in a no-parking zone, engine running. If they were just grabbing a bag of charcoal or robbing the bank inside, maybe I could see it. But she was still in the store... not that I was watching or anything.
Like I said, I'm getting judgmental about the Bambis and Lances. Maybe he took my slow roll past his Escalade as a critique of his lifestyle. But I didn't yell and point.