Wednesday, 23 June 2010

AN OPEN LETTER TO CYCLISTS . . .

Dear cyclists

(If you are a professional cyclist, or not one who goes out of their way to annoy others while getting from A to B, you can look away now. But if you are one of the cyclists who are a plague on the rest of us, pay attention, please!)

I have been planning to blog about this for a while, but then other more interesting things always come up for me to talk about. But reading a post by Amber where she talked about being a bit scared to cycle to work brought it back into the forefront of my mind. And the events of earlier today meant I HAD to blog about it like right now before I burst.

Why am I picking on you? I hear you ask. I'm sorry if you feel that way. It's just I've not had many good experiences with you.

My major peeve? Is of course the fact you change from motorist to pedestrian with the blink of an eye, or the same speed that Tiger Woods can drop his pants and shag another ladyfriend. (Both fast, obviously.) The rules of both the road and of pedestrianism (if that is a word) do not apply to you. You are impervious to both. You'll go through a red light if it suits you, despite of the fact that people are crossing the road because it's a GREEN light in their favour. You might not be a car, but you could still hurt others, and yourself, by doing that.

Or the way you'll suddenly drive up onto the pavement when you're stopped by a red light on the road. "Oooh," you think, "I'm wasting my time just waiting here. Let's just annoy the people trying to walk instead."

"In fact," you continue. "Let's ring my bell because they are all in my way! How DARE they all be in my way, despite the fact I'm on the pavement, a place that cyclists probably shouldn't actually be after they are actually GROWN-UPS." And then . . . "Well, I'll just drive over them if they don't move I guess! Oh well, it's their own fault!"

And, to add insult to injury, why don't you ALSO ring your bicycle bell to tell the pedestrians to get the fuck out of your way? You know, despite the fact that most of them are probably, I don't know, WEARING I-PODS AND WON'T HEAR YOU ANYWAY??? Didn't think of THAT now, did you???

You twats.

I spoke to a guy once who started cycling to work, and he admitted in his case, he DID become a different person when he got on a bike. Like, he thought it was okay to cycle on a really narrow pavement between scaffolding and then have a spot of pavement rage when some people walking in the opposite direction (walking? On the PAVEMENT? How very novel.) wouldn't get out of his way immediately. He said he knew he shouldn't have been cycling along there in the first place, he knew he was in the wrong, but he couldn't help himself.

So maybe it isn't YOU as such, perhaps it's the bike that turns you evil. Or selfish. Or . . . PERVY???

Case in point: this morning. I was walking over the bridge near to my work. It is a PEDESTRIAN footbridge. In fact, I'm pretty sure there are even signs which tell cyclists to dismount. Not that they EVER pay attention to those. I digress. As I was walking up onto the bridge I saw a cyclist riding on the footpath underneath, so assumed he was probably coming over the bridge too (and more than likely not dismounting.) All the same though, I made sure to walk along one side (the BUMPIER side! See, I'm nice like that, despite everything!) of the bridge so the guy could get past me okay without having to ring his bell or do anything stupid.

A minute or two later, I felt a presence beside me, floating along in my left line of vision. It was the bike. And it was cycling alongside me, keeping pace. Assuming it must be someone I knew trying to say hi, I turned. Only to find a complete stranger who looked me up and down in a way that was so creepy it gave me shivers and stopped me from producing my world renowned "Hairy Eyeball" dirty look in its full glory. After several long seconds of just LOOKING at me (and not at the bridge that he shouldn't have been cycling on) he continued to cycle on his way, occasionally looking back at me like he thought I was the One Who Got Away, only in a "You're the one who got away from the basement I tied you up in after I kidnapped you" sort of way.

Bleeeeeee!!! I feel dirty now.

So cyclists, I hated most of you already but NOW . . . I'm terrified I might run into creepy Mr CyclePath again (see what I did there?) Ironic he's a cycle path considering he doesn't know how to USE one . . .

Anyway, the moral of the story is . . . just stay out of my way and I'll try not to hate you TOO much.

I make no promises though.

Love from me xxx

18 comments:

  1. It's particularly funny you bring this up because just the other day I was walking to a store, on the pavement, with my ipod headphones on and some douchebag cyclist who was leading a pack of douchebag junior cyclists almost ran me over on the narrow sidewalk. He'd apparently called out for me to move over but I didn't hear him what with my music on and all, so he was pissed. So I said, "Excuse me for walking on the sidewalk!" I mean come on. Ride on the fricking road or bike path or if you must be on the damn pavement, at least realize you do NOT have priority.

    That is all.

    Oh no wait, it isn't. When I'm driving they infuriate me too by just cutting in and out of traffic and cycling the wrong way on one way streets. STOP DOING THAT!

    Naturally, when I'm riding my bike I am PERFECT.

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  2. Fortunately, I don't have to deal with that much here.

    But once, when I was walking my dogs on the sidewalk, some kids rang their bike bell at me to move out of their way and said, "Excuse me!" I just stood there for a second thinking, "Why are you riding on the sidewalk rather than the bikepath that was painted on the street specificially for you to ride on?" I didn't say anything and it bugs me to this day that I didn't!

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  3. Wow, this is a problem. I got hit by a car while biking the other day. I was in a bike lane and have reflectors on my bike and was obeying all the rules when a reckless driver turned and hit me while I was biking through an intersection.

    I understand that some bikers use the sidewalks and cause havoc, but most do not and I think this whole post is completely irrational. Everyone needs to be aware, both bikers and drivers.

    How about you stop relying on a car for transportion and start helping out the environment by giving biking a try? Just a thought.

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  4. Anonymous - how about you read my post properly and realise that 1) I have already said I am not aiming the post at all cyclists but at those who don't consider others and 2) at no point have I mentioned being in a car. I do not drive, I walk everywhere, and have nearly come foul of being hit by many cyclists who are simply not paying attention.

    I am sorry to hear that you were hit by a car and, believe me, I have witnessed many drivers doing really stupid things that could have caused accidents, running red lights etc, but my perspective is more from a pedestrian point of view.

    Thanks!

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  5. While I always hear that this is a small subset of bikers, I've found in my experiences that it's the majority of them. More troubling to me than the whole "riding on the sidewalk" issue is the attitude most bikers have; that, because they're doing the environment a favor by not driving a car, they're allowed to have the run of the land.

    I also walk everywhere. I would probably have a bike if I could fit one in my apartment, but I doubt I would ride it very often - more recreational than anything. However, I have a few friends who simply MUST ride their bikes everywhere; if we're going out to a bar twenty to thirty blocks away and are taking public transit to get there, they will ride their bikes there to meet us, as coming along for the ride and socializing is just out of the question. It starts to get a bit ridiculous when I've worked on projects with people who are squeamish about coming to a meeting because its raining and they don't want to walk with an umbrella instead of biking.

    Maybe I'm just friends with a really crappy group of cyclists, but I'm finding it increasingly hard to find bikers who are as courteous as the whole lot professes to be.

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  6. my position on that is:
    ring your bell at me whilst cycling on the pavement and you will find the bell you just rung stuck up your ass...
    nuff said I suppose... :)

    I ride on the road... and TRY to respect the rules... I expect the rest from others...

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  7. Wow - riding on the road is the only option!

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  8. Here in Oz its illegal for adults to ride on the footpath - although it doesnt stop people actually doing it, and i dont know of anybody who's ever been fined for it.

    But agreed, they can be annoying sometimes...

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  9. Fucking hell. Do you want an escort to work in the morning, or something?

    Cyclists in lycra worry me slightly. Purely because when I was doing work experience when I was at school I kept seeing the same guy every day, wearing lycra, who kept looking over and smiling at me while I was waiting at the traffic lights... *shudder*

    xXx

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  10. Haha! Whenever I cycle I obey all the same rules as if I was driving - it is tempting to switch to pedestrian mode at busy intersections though.

    Our bridges here are for cyclists AND pedestrians. Same rules as a car, stay to the right, pass on the left. Pretty simple.

    We also have a few paths here that are for cyclists AND pedestrians so with the bell and yelling "to the left", sure it might be annoying and seem lame. But it's also annoying when pedestrians suddenly take a massive sidestep in front of you and you have a collision. I've seen it happen!

    Since I'm a runner AND a biker I can feel your pain because I see the annoying-ness from BOTH sides!

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  11. I know a lot of cyclists and your description of the creepy one is surprisingly accurate half the time.

    Cyclists are NOT above the law. Not even cops that are cyclists. Unicyclists are fine though.

    Love your blog.

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  12. I could have written this post myself. That's what kills me too! Either you're a biker or a pedestrian, you can't have it both ways!!

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  13. My peeve is that cyclists think that the highway code doesn’t apply to them. A red light for example means go and cut across the paths of all of the turning cars....and you know who will get the blame if an idiot cyclist doing this gets hit by a car....the driver! I also hate when they cycle in unison side by side having a little natter taking up the whole width of the lane thus causing a massive backlog of traffic behind them and they are always completely oblivious or when they are cycling on the pavements and then decide to go on the road cutting up the car behind them and causing him to slam on his breaks. Luckily where I live we have country cyclists and country drivers so not much agro but I can imagine it being 20x worse in the city

    X

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  14. I'm a considerate cyclist and stick to the cycle paths and roads. I listen to ALOT of music and have headphones on 90% of my (working) day EXCEPT when i'm cycling.

    My hate is joggers on the cycle path. I don't have a bell on my bike I opt for a more courteous "excuse me" but it seems they feel the need to wear headphones and jog in the middle of the path...oblivious.

    Not all cyclists are evil...but they are out there, as are evil joggers.

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  15. I ride my bike a lot. But I ride along a designated bike trail that goes alongside a road, but never actually ON the road. It has hills that kill my legs.

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  16. As an avid cyclist who obeys the road rules, I'm totally with you. I hate seeing cyclists jump red lights, or flatten old ladies on the pavement. I do think it gives the rest of us a bad name and causes a number of drivers to be needlessly aggressive towards mild mannered (scared!) cyclists like myself. I appreciate that larger junctions/roundabouts can be nerve racking on a bike, in which case they should get off and WALK along the pavement.
    It seems that, as with everything in life, the inconsiderate few spoil things for the many.

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  17. Bahahaha! This one got me:
    "You're the one who got away from the basement I tied you up in after I kidnapped you"
    Creepy.

    I have the same hateful relationship towards those bikers. The ones who are professional about it and stay on the streets and obey traffic laws are fine in my book. Unfortunately most are not like that...

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  18. I had this EXACT CONVERSATION with my mother in law yesterday. Seriously, almost word for word (apart from Mr Creepy CyclePath *shudder*)

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