Sunday, April 10, 2011

Life With Bicyclists: The Stupid Factor

A week ago P.J. O’Rourke provided the unwashed, those of us trampled by the bicycle stampede, an analysis headlined, “Dear Urban Cyclists: Go Play in Traffic.” Into the second sentence O’Rourke got the words “innocent,” as in motorists, and “sanctimonious,” as in cyclists.
In O’Rourke’s spirit, I offer four observations of cyclist behavior in my neighborhood. With these four, what is called “the stupid factor” seems in play. Of course, maybe these folks aren't stupid, just arrogant.
The first came a couple of weeks ago. The others bunched into a period of a few days.
1. I am on a residential street, heading west, slowly due to just having entered the street from a driveway. I see a cyclist ahead of me, also going west, but very slowly, hardly moving at all, actually. His front wheel goes back and forth, helping maintain balance. Lacking the slightest clue as to this jerk’s intent, I drop into major caution mode.
Then, suddenly and without the slightest signal, he does a 180° turn towards me and goes into a driveway.
2. I’m at a red light. The two streets are two-lane. Two cyclists are stopped at the red light, headed the other way. While the light is still red, one comes across the intersection.
3. I’m on a four-lane road with a 40 mph, with bike lanes on both sides, and where drivers sometimes go well over 50 mph. A cyclist going the other way in the bike lane see some congestion on the sidewalk, but not in the bike lane. With no hesitation and certainly with no signal, the cyclist pops into the driving lane to avoid the congestion.
4. On the same four-lane road, two cyclists are riding along side one another. One cyclist is in the bike lane. One is well into the auto lane. Fortunately, at the moment, there was no auto traffic affecting the pair.
O’Rourke’s commentary was in the Wall Street Journal.

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