Riders and drivers seem to have too much of a “them against us” attitude, and that makes it difficult for anyone to like each other. If we aren’t liking and respecting each other, there will be no productive end-result.
I was driving my truck downtown today and after pulling through an intersection, I noticed a commuter in my left side view mirror. I thought it was smart of him to position himself into my direct line of view. This is also the proper place to be when following a line of traffic since every one of us has to wait our turn. This is especially important when traffic is moving slowly.
Immediately after clearing the intersection, he moved over to the far right of the lane – where a bike lane would be should there actually be one. This too is fine. I don’t think there’s a problem for cyclists to pass traffic when they can get through faster.
However, he was trying to pass me as we both approached a stop sign. I had been ahead of him, and I knew that I would be accelerating faster, and we both seemed to be going straight, so I pulled out first to make it 20 yards down to the next stop sign.
Here comes the part that irks me…he shouts out, “Hey, share the road, huh?” He then turns left from the right side of the lane, allowing me to share a few thoughts within earshot of my open window.
The first thing that came to my mind, was “Are you kidding me?! I RIDE A BIKE TOO!!” I’m watching him this whole time, making sure that he’s got space, staying off of the brakes, and ready for him to do something squirrelly, and then I get to watch him get self-righteous because I didn’t let him pull out in front of me.
I’ve probably met the guy before, or drank beer with him at the same Bike Love party. I support SORBA, do trail maintenance, support the school mountain biking club, commute when I can, and teach my children how to ride safely through traffic. I quiz my kids in the car about traffic rules and road safety.
“You need to ride your bike as if you are driving a car,” I said to him, which I thought was accurate, forthright and non-emotional. “I ride a bike, too!”
I realize this blog is probably a lame excuse for me to rant over something that happened today, so I want to offer all of you a safe space to expel a little road rage. Please comment, and I really hope the guy I met today gets his peace too, because I’m really curious.