Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This kind of stuff really gets me...

"Driver Allegedly Used Bus to attack bicyclist"
As a fairly active cyclist and sometimes-bike-commuter I am keenly aware of how poorly cyclists are treated by the motoring public. I haven't been hunted down and run over by a bus or car like this rider was but I have had other things happen.

Once while cycling along a relatively busy street in town within a foot of the curb a car full of guys came up behind me and the one in the passenger seat leaned out and screamed at me as they drove past. Luckily I heard the car approaching and was ready so it didn't surprise me. I guess they didn't realize that even a slow cyclist like me can cruise almost as fast as in-town traffic. I caught up to them at the next light and returned the favor by leaning in the passenger window and screaming in his ear. He didn't see me coming, though. Nearly jumped out of his skin. The other guys in the car got a big kick out of it.

Most of my traffic encounters have been due to the fact that most drivers just don't pay attention what with the cell phone / makeup / music & anything-but-driving distractions (I'm trying real hard not to call them morons but there are a few of them out there too). Mainly I guess people just don't realize that bicycles have a right to the road just like cars.

Here in Texas they are recognized as a vehicle and permitted to take up an entire lane. The law says cars have to give cyclists the same right-of-way they would another car, including no passing if traffic does not permit and no crowding when they pass.

ON THE OTHER HAND: This puts a tremendous responsibility on the cyclist...he is supposed to obey traffic laws just like any other vehicle. I see too many cyclists who ignore traffic signals, signs, and right of way, thus contributing to the problem and making it worse for the rest of us. The guy in the article probably could have avoided the incident had he not 'tapped' on the side of the bus.

One positive of cycling over driving: your hands are generally too busy holding onto the handle bars to get you in trouble by giving the 'Your #1!' salute to fellow travelers...

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