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Fittingly Mad: We ALL Need to Share the Road

I lived without a car for years. I biked to work. I biked to parties. I biked to the grocery store. I biked everywhere. After almost getting door-ed (when the person in the driver’s seat of a parked car opens his/her door just as a biker is coming to pass) repeatedly I became a very defensive biker.

The best way to protect myself was to be super aware of my surrounding as I rode the busy city streets. I used my voice a lot, even screamed so drivers would notice me. I took bike routes whenever possible and avoided traffic heavy streets whenever possible, which I found relatively easy to do. I thought the public service announcements that read “Start Seeing Bicycles” were great and I still love them. Drivers need to deal with the fact that cyclist are around and share the road, use their turn signals, hang up their phones, pay attention to the road and look for bikers before opening their car doors. I definitely got a little hot under the helmet when cars didn’t give me the right of way at four way stops…hello driver you will get to wherever you are going faster than I will reach my destination since I am just pedaling and you are merely pressing the gas pedal.

Now, I own a car but live in a bike friendly town, with lot of “Bicycle Boulevards.” Streets full of pretty purple signs guide cyclists through the town on different routes. These signs are cheerful reminders for drivers to share the road. The streets are painted with an image of a biker (wearing a helmet of course) just to remind those in cars to share the road. These dedicated streets are plentiful. Yet, I still see cyclists on streets with heavy traffic, biking at night, in dark clothes with no light, on a street without a bike lane, when a street with a bike lane, a more quiet street is one block away. I want to yell at them SAFETY is one block away!!! Wear a helmet? Where’s your light?

My driver self knows I need to share the road, and stay calm and keep my crazy mother voice to myself. But the cyclist in me wants these bikers to share the road too, to bike defensively, to use the roads dedicated for biking. I think cars and bikes can get along. We all just need to stay aware of one another. We all need to share the road.

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kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Cams - I find it interesting that you won't stop at a red light or stop sign just because nobody is around. What would things be like if everyone did that (CARS and bikes)? I am still bound by law to stop at these two traffic signals. In most states I do believe that cyclists are bound to follow all car laws too. Just sayin'.
sls1825 sls1825 9 years
Sometimes I don't think bikers realize the danger they are putting themselves and others into. So many are just not careful here in Chicago. Mine and my husbands summer was ruined last year when he went for a leisurely ride along the lakefront and another biker walked right out in front of him and a few other riders on the bike path. My husband broke both his right hip and shoulder. It was not fun.
Arthur Arthur 9 years
I've been biking to and from work for years and actually love biking in traffic. AND I STILL DON'T always check for bikes before I open my door!! So take the hint and assume that no one else will either and NEVER bike where you can hit a door. EVER. Other things I assume: The car in front of me is going to make a right and not use his blinker. If I cross an intersection next to a car and fall behind a bit, a car I can't see is making a left and will run right into me. I have to admit that I don't follow the rules. Just like if I am walking, I'll cross a don't walk or red light if no traffic is coming. I've gone so far that I have rationalized this as safer because I have a chance to get up to speed before the cars at the red light get to go.
cereal_please cereal_please 9 years
I'm glad you posted this. Though some bikers might be annoying/in the way, we do need to share the road with them. My dad is an avid bike rider, riding anywhere from 15-30 miles a day. He mostly sticks to the trails, but does need to ride on the street to get there. He got doored once and it gave him a sore back and giant bruise running down his leg. He now wears a helmet and I remind my friends to be careful around bikers because that person could be my dad for all they know.
cams cams 9 years
I dont know how it is in other states, but in Texas, bikes have the same rights as cars, but we have to be on the right side in the right hand lane. I follow the rules 99% of the time, but I am not going to stop at a stop sign when no one is there and I dont cut in front of cars. I get so pissed when people dont move over! its so rude! Here I am, doing my part to reduce CO2 emissions so the 8 kids in the back of your Ford Explorer have a planet to live on when they grow up and you cant even freakin move over 2 feet. ugh!
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
Yep, I agree about the bicyclists. By my work (which means freeway, highway, exit, highway, a couple business side roads) - I see a few of them. One minute, they are in with traffic and the next, they are cutting around cars to get through red lights. Like, they follow the 'rules' as long as they are convenient. (I say 'rules' because I'm not even sure about them. I have assumptions on how they should behave, but I don't recall ever learning how one should react to a bicyclist in the road. Maybe some of them should get that message spread out a little.) Now let's talk about motorcyclists, huh? When I see that "Start SEEING Motorcycles" bumpersticker, it makes me want to ram their car. Seriously. I grew up in a "biker" family - the good old HOGs (Harley Owners). They were all in it for the love of the road. Nowadays, you have these stupid idiots on crotch rockets and I swear at least ONCE A WEEK, I see one of them pass on the shoulder, go in between two cars (b/t lanes), or otherwise risk their life and whomever else's that will end up swerving to avoid running them over. I actually called 911 one day on a group of guys that were doing these things (and, of course, the wheelies and burnouts or whatever) and I told the lady "I just don't want to watch them die." Sad when a complete stranger cares more about your life than you do, eh? Whoo-eee. Long rant. Sorry.
poetess poetess 9 years
Bikers, cars and pedestrians can all get along!
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
I don't mind bikers one bit...I think it's great if you can do it. BUT Renees3 is right. Bikers still need to follow the rules of the road. They often don't signal themselves and cut in front of you without warning. Also, it seems to me that some bikers (a lot actually) slow waaaaay down and ride smack in the middle of a lane just to piss off drivers because they have a grudge against the ones who don't watch out for them. This is the kind of behavior that gets them a bad rap.
SeaFoamGreen215 SeaFoamGreen215 9 years
i just hit a guy on a bike a few weeks ago, and it wasnt my fault. he came out of nowhere. long story short im in a hand cast hes in a back brace and all cut and bruised.unfortunately he didnt wear his helmet. we are becoming very good friends andim not mad at him even though i tend to get annoyed with bikers; but im scared to drive again because of bikers and pedestrians.
atomicanne atomicanne 9 years
In Savannah we would call that a Door Prize
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
While I agree that people need to share the road, I will admit to getting pretty pissed at bikers on MANY occasions. Where I live they often don't follow the rules of traffic (driving on a one way stree going the opposite directions) and bike 3 wide so they can have a conversation and I can't even drive past them. I am always cautious of people on bikes because I realize even if we do collide they will be much more injured than I. But it would be a lot easier if they were just as cautious
amandaaa amandaaa 9 years
i meant "door-ed".
amandaaa amandaaa 9 years
haha "door-red"
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Totally agree with you. My husband used to bike to work when we lived in Portland and he would come home SO mad sometimes about close calls with drivers. But, at the same time, there are some crazy cyclists out there who endanger themselves and give other cyclists a bad name.
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