Friday, December 4, 2015

Not-so-Random Acts of Cycling Kindness

Some may say this is just road etiquette, some call it kindness. I say it is a simple way to respect each other. I know drivers and cyclists are perceived as arch enemies, but as Christmas approaches and everyone is talking about the season of sharing and caring, let’s be mindful of our everyday actions and the ripples they may cause.

    1.       Right of Way
a.       If you are a driver and you see a cyclist getting close to an intersection, don’t cut in front of them. Instead wave, say “hello” and let them continue their momentum. It is much harder for a cyclist to start at a light than an automobile, and even worse if there is a grade.
b.      If you are a cyclist and you are approaching a stop sign or red light, stop. Put your foot down. Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl” who is irritating or hazardous to drivers and don’t give the rest of us a bad name by disobeying traffic rules. Shame on you.

    2.       Pedestrian crossing
a.       If you are a pedestrian do not jaywalk in front of a cyclist. They may be going speeds you can’t even fathom on two wheels. Getting hit by a bicycle at 20+ mph is not pretty, for the pedestrian nor the cyclist. The cyclist could suffer life changing injuries but will have his head protected by a helmet. The pedestrian, on the other hand, will have no protection and will end up with unwanted tattoos that resemble tread marks in conspicuous locations.
b.      If you are on your bike and you see a crowd of people crossing ahead or sharing the path, stop and wait or get off and walk your bike. Keep everyone safe. Besides, flesh and blood do not look appealing on that magnificent piece of machinery.

    3.       Bike lanes and parked cars
a.       Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings and must be certain the path they are about to swing their car door into is clear of any moving traffic, be it cyclists, another car, a dog walker, or a skateboarder. There are no excuses for opening your door in the path of a cyclist. NONE. (This happened to me and I was one of the lucky ones. I walked away with minor injuries)
b.      Cyclists, on the other hand, have every right to take a lane and ride far enough away from parked vehicles so as not to be in the path of car doors. Do yourself and the vehicle operator a favor, take the lane. It also gives you more time to react if they start to pull out. At that point yell as loud as you can so they hear you. I tend to yell “WHOA!”, or “STOP!” with a trailing “you F**@%# Idiot” inaudible to the driver or the masses.

    4.       Bike trails and multi-use paths
These are the worst. I ended up with nine stitches in my chin on crowded a bike path.
a.       A high number of oblivious riders, undisciplined children on bikes, and people with small dogs on long leashes flock to these designated recreational areas. I don’t know what to say to each of them except parents manage your kids, owners manage your dogs, and newbies manage your bikes.
                                                               i.      Don’t stop in the middle of the path
                                                             ii.      Don’t park your bike, or your kid’s bike, on the path
                                                            iii.      Shorten Fido’s leash so it doesn’t become a booby trap resulting in a tangled mess of fur and spokes.
                                                           iv.      Don’t ride side by side on the narrow part of the path, especially if there are others approaching.
b.      As for experienced cyclists on these paths, why? Just kidding. I know they are nice, long routes away from traffic. Just be aware of who you are sharing the path with and be cautious of hazards, be they little dogs or little people.

    5.       Lastly, Riding in the Dark.
a.       Don’t wait till the holidays to light yourself up like a Christmas Tree. The moral of the story is to See and Be Seen.

I wish you joyful cycling all year long.


#seeandbeseen #treadmarktattoo #everydaycyclingripples #joyfulcycling #bikeetequette