What are you thinking?
All right, I know it’s hot, and you and your four fat family members–plus whatever you’ve got in that baby stroller–need to get across the street. I do. Goodness knows it’s probably well past grazing time at the local eatery and you’re probably low on energy, and the other side of the street is at least fifteen feet away and you’re probably out of Snickers bars to give you that extra oomph to make it across without getting dizzy.
But when you’re facing a Don’t Walk signal, please do not look at me, on my bike, heading through the intersection, shrug and start across, not when I have the light and there are a dozen cars behind me that also have the light. It’s going to take all of us thirty seconds, tops, to make it past you.
Yes, should I fail to stop, I will probably not kill you, but that can’t be the only matter under consideration here.
Look, I stop for pedestrians. If they have the light, or if they’ve already crossed halfway, I’ll cede to them. But as much as I hear complaints about how bicyclists “never” obey traffic laws, I hear hardly anything about the challenges the guy on the bike has to deal with. Other than the Fat Family Five stepping in front of me–just assuming I’m going to come to a halt in the middle of a five-way intersection with cars directly behind me when I have the light–there are:
…people on cell phones driving giant SUVs and drifting to their right while I’m right next to them;
…cars that are actually turning but wish this to remain a secret until they have nearly crushed the biker who took it for granted they were not turning;
…anything with eighteen wheels;
…people driving U-Hauls that don’t know how to drive anything that large;
…elderly drivers that can’t understand why I’m not on the sidewalk and honk repeatedly to express this opinion;
…drivers that take it personally when you pass them more than once, and see it as their mission in life to race you until they have proven their penises are in fact quite large;
…extended side-view mirrors;
…people who don’t know what a right turn hand signal looks like;
…cars that let out passengers on the right side while at a stoplight;
…sunken sewer grates that will flip you right over;
…smokers who like to extend the cigarette as far out of their car as possible at stoplights;
…and much much more.
I’m begging you
Really, I try to be reasonable about the ebb and flow of auto and pedestrian traffic around me. But seriously, next time you’re at a corner like that, Fat Family Five, pretend you’re me and think about what you’re doing.
That’s assuming you’ve ever been on a bike in your entire life.