Cyclists Endanger Motorists?!?

the-geekFrom the reasoning of the Dawg name to the best comic book authors, from the history of the Hot to a timeline of industrial music, Cory has the trivia, and the opinions to mouth off about it.

Cyclists Endanger Motorists. That was the headline I saw floating around on facebook and elsewhere on the interwebs last Thursday. Some Some Jheri-curled asshat in Texas was slowed down for a couple seconds, passed bikes illegally, and decided his borderline nonexistent inconvenience was worth writing about. No big deal… until you get to the end and see that this jheri-curled asshat is the mayor of a little town in the San Antonio metro area!

This is what I was thinking about when I got hit by a car that afternoon.

Okay, maybe not at that exact moment, but the thought had crossed had crossed my mind on my commute home. The ride from Kona to my home is 12 miles with some high traffic roads, but never had I felt like I was endangering motorists, nor really even inconveniencing them. To be fair, We’re a pretty bike-friendly town, with mostly considerate drivers and mostly wide shoulders.

But on Thursday’s ride, right as I was approaching a red light, a car clipped my hand with its passenger side rearview mirror. I kept control enough to keep from falling, caught up to him, and banged on his window just in time for him to take off through the light. I wasn’t hurt, my bike wasn’t hurt, but it sure pissed me off. I also think the guy in his cheesy blue Mustang swerved over on purpose, then swerved back over a couple lanes to the left of me. Whatever happened, I sure hope I didn’t endanger him!

I obviously don’t know why the guy in the Mustang hit me, as he ran off before I could ask him. But I wonder if some of it didn’t come from this entitled and entirely wrong attitude that cars own the road, and bikes shouldn’t be there. This is obviously worse in some areas than others, and I still remember a police officer asking me in St. Louis, MO about a decade ago why I wasn’t riding on the sidewalks.

Jheri-curled’s column gets really fun when he tries his darnedest to employ some logic, and fails miserably. “When someone is dressed in their work clothing and using a bicycle to get to work, that’s one thing,” he wrote. “However, it’s another matter when someone is joyriding on an expensive bicycle all decked out in riding attire on probably the most dangerous roadway in the city.”

This gave me pause, because on my commute home, I am ‘decked out in riding attire’ and I was most certainly on an expensive bicycle, my nearly brand new 2013 Red Zone. I hope these two cyclists didn’t frighten Mr. asshat too badly as he was driving his Dodge Ram equipped with a HEMI engine. My not quite 16 lb. bike is terrifying, I’ll admit.

Of course, Mr. asshat, full of fear and rage, felt the need to end his missive with a threat. “The last thing we want to do is to start ramping up citations for the littlest infractions to get you to notice.”

Hopefully Mr. asshat feels justified in his threatened abuse of power. He has a lot of fear to get over, and his much vaunted office is the perfect way to assert that.

Happy Bike Month, everyone! Just remember that scared guy in big trucks and old guys in Mustangs running from cyclists they just hit are but a teeny tiny, more and more endangered species out there.