I’m an incredibly judgmental and self-righteous bike commuter. Clad in my fluorescent shirt, with my various flashing lights and my ostentatious turn signal hand gestures, I have a lot of disdain not just for bad drivers but for bad cyclists. In that spirit, I offer the following suggestions to both…
1) First, for the motorists out there:
Please don’t actively try to kill me. I know that might seem like an unreasonable request, but think about it for a moment. Do you really want a death on your conscience? I’m just asking ’tis all. Some of your actions can, frankly, only be interpreted as part of an active intention to end my life. Admittedly, I tend to operate on the assumption that all drivers are homicidal, but it’s fairly clear that some really are.
For example, please don’t pass me by quietly sneaking up right behind me, honking your horn as you’re right at my back wheel, and then aggressively speeding past me at a high rate of acceleration, barely missing my handlebars. If you can avoid doing that it would make things much easier. And safer. People actually do this sort of thing.
2) For cyclists:
Wear a sodding helmet! I know, in a way, that it’s none of my business, but biking without a helmet makes you look bad. And it makes me look bad by association.
Don’t bike with headphones on. Or iPod earbud thingies. What are you, some sort of moron? There’s really no excuse for that sort of thing. How are you going to hear the motorists who rev their engines loudly after sneaking up to try to kill you?
And don’t, for the love of God, bike into traffic. What the hell?! A lot of people tend to do that. Why? Were they told that it was safer when they were five and just sort of stuck with it? Biking directly into traffic not only makes you – and, by extension, all cyclists – look like a complete bonehead. It also means that occasionally you will bike directly into me. Just stop it, okay?
On the other hand, DO smoke while cycling. People who smoke while cycling are cool, because it means that they’re biking for transportation purposes, not out of some sort of bourgeois leisure impulse.
Okay, I think that’s all the ranting I have in me today. Consider yourselves warned.