As a cyclist I just want to get home; and as a driver, you just want to get home. We’re all just stressed out trying to get home at the end of the day.
There are idiot drivers, and there are idiot cyclists. I’ve been both, never on purpose, but it happens. Its part of moving around in any city. I’d dare say most of the drivers that encroached on me, didn’t even see me, we’re preoccupied with something else, or worse, lacking education on how to handle a bike on the road. And I get it, sometimes you got a lot on your head, or you just zone out driving; shouldn’t happen and it’s wrong. So you blanked out and now you almost hit someone, and he yells at you. Acknowledge your fault, pay attention and move on. No need to get all violent and angry on someone because YOU almost injured or killed them. Can you imagine how much better traffic would be if we all just were paying attention to what we are doing.
Here are two scenarios, you’re behind me on your car, I’m on my bike heading home.
Scenario #1: You wait for an opening, I notice you and as soon as possible move to let you pass. You pass me smoothly, nice and wide. You go on your way, I go on my way. By the time each one of us reaches our destination, we won’t even remember it happening.
Scenario #2: You get angry for no reason at all other that you don’t like me being there. You rush by, passing to close for comfort so I yell. Now you’re angrier and yell back. Now we’re both angry and yelling. And now we’re dealing with road rage. Most of the time it’ll end up at that, both continuing our ways carrying around anger for most of the day. Yet, thousands of times it doesn’t end up like that, and that’s why we have so many ghost bikes all over the world.
Why get so pissed off over something so inconsequential to our daily lives as the vehicle of choice for the person in front of us?
I am honestly dumbfounded as to why someone would harbor such anger and hate at someone’s choice of vehicle being different from theirs. And I am doubly dumbfounded as to why someone would want to hurt or kill just because said vehicle is slower and vulnerable. An encounter with a cyclist on the road lasts a few minutes tops. We have 1440 minutes every day. Did I really cause so much grievance on your day to get run off or run over? I know I slow you down less than a Florida senior doing 25 with the blinker on for miles.
Now I’m not saying all drivers are bad and all cyclists are innocent. Honestly the majority of those I interact with are just trying to get from A to B and have a drive and let ride attitude, and that’s cool. It’s that constantly enraged behind the wheel populace that really keep us on our nerves, both riders and drivers. After all, I’m 75 kg and ride a 10.5 kg steel bike; my small car weighs 500 kg. It’s NO match, I’m squishy, the car is not, keep that in mind when passing closely.
Please just look out for your fellow man
A driver was looking left for a right hand turn and didn’t see me in front, hitting my rear wheel. A driver ran a red light, hitting me on my right side. Lost count of drivers that clip my handlebars from right hand turns and narrow street passes. Unfortunately witnessed a rider slam into the rear window of a parked car due to a car changing lanes without looking. I’ve seen scars, big full torso ones, from cyclists that went through door windows. And yeah, I’ve even had the heartbreak of loosing a cyclist friend and having to console a loved one.
I guess all I’m asking for, please acknowledge me. Please, focus your attention on the road. Be careful when opening doors. Leave problems, worries, phone calls, text messages, etcetera out of the car and just drive. Leave anger and hate outside the car, they can’t carpool with you anymore. At a red light, say hi or nod at me; with just that I know you see me and care. Trust me, as a cyclist I will do everything I can to let you pass. Any bike ride that gets me home safe and in one piece, is a good ride.
I’m here and I exist. I’m a living person on a bike; with hopes, dreams, family, job, bills, taxes and even a car. Look, I’m just trying to get home safe; just like you.