Notes from a bicycle seat

Ten thoughts on cycling from a bike commuter

  1. The only time it makes sense to honk at a bike is if you are about to hit it with your car, and only if you have run out of ways to avoid the collision and are honking to let the cyclist know it is now entirely up to him.  Honking to get them out of your way won’t work, because they have nowhere else to go, and they’re going as fast as they can.
  2. Similarly, if you are angry because you can’t get past a biker and you are both on the way to a red light, you have anger issues unrelated to bicycles, and should seek professional help.

    It may not look like much, but it gets me where I'm going

  3. The space between the edge of the sidewalk and the car travel lane is where potholes go to die.
  4. As a cyclist, unless you know the street very well, avoid puddles at all costs.  Not because you’re going to get wet– if you’re biking in the rain you’re probably already wet– but because you have no idea how deep that puddle is.
  5. I understand that sometimes you just need to take your carpentry nails outside for a little sun.  Keeping them in a box is cruel.  I get that.  But after you have pulled them out and spread them along the breakdown lane, and given them their daily fresh air, please remember to take them back inside again.  Even if your nails are happier there, that is no place to store them.
  6. If we are at a four way stop and you have gotten there first, I will yield.  Please don’t act so surprised.  Also, don’t stop and wave me on, because I have already come to a stop.  It takes a lot less time for your internal combustion engine to pull your vehicle through the intersection than it does for me to cross from a dead stop.  Biking is all about momentum.  If I don’t have any, you may as well go.

    Just go around

  7. No, I actually don’t belong on the sidewalk, but thanks for suggesting it.  Sidewalks end and streets don’t.  Sidewalks are also full of pedestrians, and I am traveling 15-20 miles per hour.  And, it is illegal for me to bike there.  Yes, really.
  8. If you are a pedestrian about to cross the street in a place other than a crosswalk, do not step into the street first while looking to your right.  Traffic is coming from your left, and you just stepped in my way.
  9. If you feel the urge to shout HA! from the back seat of a car while passing me, you are either functionally retarded or an asshole, possibly both.  Further, I don’t comprehend what you’re shooting for here.  If you startle me– and you won’t– I may end up crashing into your car, and then you’re not getting where you’re going for a good long while.
  10. If you are biking on the road with me and you are wearing ear buds and listening to music, you need to get off the road and surrender your bike to the nearest available competent person before you get one of us killed.
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  1. Madison Woods on June 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle the dangers of biking in a city very well. Just being a pedestrian in Washington DC scared the wits out of me once.

    • genedoucette on June 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm

      I hear you on that. I was biking between a raised curb and an 18 wheel fuel truck this morning while crossing a bridge. Mildly terrifying.

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