Monday, September 07, 2015

Vicious cycle

As an avid cyclist, I want greater awareness and better infrastructure for riders. I’ve hit a car on my bike and rolled over its hood. Likewise, I know what it’s like to worry about hitting a cyclist with my car, even when they are riding responsibly, because sharing the road can be a dicey proposition (and the stakes are so stacked against the cyclist).

Anytime I’m out riding, I obey traffic laws and try to be considerate in general. I also assume at any given time that any pedestrian, animal or other set of wheels on the road is going to do the worst thing conceivable at any given moment. That mindset has undoubtedly kept me alive both behind the handlebars and behind the wheel.

I know a lot of drivers/non-riders who see cyclists as nuisances, which in turn informs all of their feelings about bikes sharing the road. I try to set a better example on my bike and be patient in the car. Because it’s up to both drivers and riders to make such commingling work. When one of the sides fails at it, everything falls apart.

The linked video shows several cyclists going the wrong way down a street, at night, with minimal signaling and with some appearing to lack headlights altogether. One gets directly (and purposefully) in the path of a stopped car, and he and others harass the driver. Several other cyclists then obstruct the vehicle and tempers flare to the point that someone finally shatters a window with a lock. If the goal of Critical Mass is to raise awareness of cycling on the road, it's mildly put to say they didn't meet that objective here.

Cyclists do deserve more latitude on the road. But they have to act in good faith as well, to ensure that everyone gets where they’re going.

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