Stop Other-Side-of-the-Street Comments Drivers!

What is it about people who feel the need to say whatever they want to cyclists?

There is just so much rage against people who ride their bikes daily.

I am not saying cyclists are angels or anything, but NOBODY on this planet, as far as I know, is an angel.

Yet, still, some people, who are not even in the flow of traffic with a cyclist (a cyclist who is probably following traffic rules), feel the need to yell from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET at a person on a bike.

This is absurd and immature.

And…it neither accomplishes any goals nor encourages dialogue.

In fact, it just adds to the stress of being on the road. Cars cause damage. A bike really will not in an accident. This means that the driver has a great deal of power – which also means they must rise to the occasion and specifically act like extraordinarily responsible traffic users. This is so because even if a cyclist has done something stupid or selfish on the road, it will not be the driver who gets hurt, it will be that cyclist.

Yes, it might be stressful for the driver to have to “worry” about how to get past a cyclist on a busy road, but one must realize that the cyclist has to worry about getting across every foot of that road at all times.

Yelling at that cyclist from the other side of the road adds unnecessary stress to a situation where none need be added.

Please avoid this habit.

If a cyclist is not in your path, and no such negotiation of road space must be worked out in that moment, you really don’t need to worry about them being there.

This way, everyone can be free to be where and how they are on the road.

Thanks for reading.

Jesse.

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Fixed Gear on the Roads

Yes, I ride a fixed gear in the DMV.

But I ride it with a break.

I do not blast through intersections with a feeling of self-entitlement.

But I do believe that I am entitled to ride on every road (except for those few that are set aside as high-speed transportation zones for motorized vehicles.

Don’t speed by me exhibiting your own entitlement because this is reckless, illegal, unethical and scary.

Don’t role down your window and scream at me because I have the right to use the same roads (except where otherwise noted) as you to go to the exact same destinations.

If you, drivers want to be left alone, we cyclists want to be left alone at least as much.

In all situations, the pedestrian is given the highest safety priority, the bicyclist comes next (who is really just as vulnerable as peds) – the car comes last. Sorry, But drivers are just not as vulnerable as pedestrians and cyclists. Fender benders are a hassle and expensive. But any bump to a pedestrian can easily become harmful or fatal to this vulnerable population.

Respect that.

I am sure we can work it out on the roads together in a truly civil fashion.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

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Left-Bike Lanes in Washington, DC.

I must admit I don’t really understand the left bike lanes in DC

They don’t jive with how cycling is done in every other place ridden (the rules change for bikes and for cars which cannot be safe).

Plus, they cross over left-turn lanes into which cars routinely pull into and then sit so far away from the curb that they are in the bike lanes. This is not safe either.

Please, someone tell me all the justifications for the left-justified cycle tracks in DC.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

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Bicycles go with Traffic

Aggressive driver today.

So I realized after he drove around me aggressively, forcing me to slow down and brake in order not to be hit by the rear of his flat bed truck, he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting another car that was ahead taking a left.

But right after that, he pulled into a parking lot to park his truck.

So I went right up to him and asked, “hey, what are you doing, driving so aggressively around a cyclist?”

His response, he said I was supposed to be on the other side of the road, riding INTO traffic (wha?doubletake).

I couldn’t believe it. He said he knew the laws and that I should look it up.

In other words, not only was he wrong, he thought that since I “was wrong,” he could thus justify his nearly hitting me on purpose.

I made a report to the trucking company today with the caveat that if it happened again, I would call the cops (I thought it would be the politic thing to do). Everyone deserves a chance. I am not going to do any disservice to this chance by naming the trucking company involved. But if it happens again…

The lesson, bicycles go WITH traffic, are to be given 3 feet of minimum passing distance and are to given the same rights of all road users.

Indiana rules here.

Ft Wayne propositions.

And a good article at the News-Sentinel about safety for bicyclists in Ft Wayne.

Be safe.

Thanks for reading.

Jesse L.

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No Honking Please!

This is just a short note to the world, those who spend their transportation energies and time driving, specifically those who have ever seen a person bicycling in the road.

These cyclists, myself included, just want to get safely and quickly from A to B – the same as the driver.

Please refrain from honking behind cyclists. Just pass the cyclist like one would pass any other vehicle on the road. Give enough space (in Ft Wayne, IN, this means 3 feet of passing space). Most drivers don’t go around honking at cars. Please show the same respect for cyclists because we are already on edge in traffic, vulnerable and honking increases one’s stress instead of decreasing it.

Please read this article about safety goals for bicyclists and bicycle riding in Ft Wayne, Indiana and this one from BicycleIndiana.org.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

 

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Clarity of Vision

The Winter of 2013-2014 has been cold and snowy in the DC Metro Area. As a result, visibility has been reduced due to shortened days (less actual daylight) and due to rain & snow. That is obvious. And of course, drivers should know they can not speed around bicyclists at the same speed as “normal” – which is probably already too fast – during the season when the roads are wetter and more slippery.

But I also want to draw attention to another small point about winter-specific safety for all road users, but one which could really adverse affect the safety of cyclists in traffic. I am referring to dirty windshields that inherently reduce visibility of the world outside the vehicle.

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(Image, “Dirty Windshield Reflection,” Copyright Grant Montgomery at Flickr <accessed 15 Feb 2014>)

I know everyone who reads this will understand exactly what I’m talking about. We have all been there when we realize that we can’t see traffic well, the light change up ahead or the like. Of course, unfortunately, the habit is to continue even though we are in fact blind to our surroundings. But imagine, there is a cyclist there on his or her bicycle riding in traffic that does not get noticed and the driver rams into that person. “I couldn’t see” is not a good excuse because we knew it and continues nonetheless. The truth is that even as a consistent bicycle commuter (year round), I have noted to myself that my visibility through bicycle glasses is greatly reduced when they get fogged up. The effect is the same. And this is even with clear lenses or those amber lenses which greatly magnify light in overcast and wet circumstances.

          I just ask that we each try to pay attention to this and act accordingly for the safety of everyone.

          Thank you for reading.

          Jesse L.

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New Twitter Handle

In some of my older posts, you will find an older Twitter handle.

twitterlogo

I changed that handle, my main one, to @jlibraryist.
I am also available on Twitter @bikeroller, but that handle is mostly used to tweet content from this blog and to follow bicycle related feeds. My main interactions on Twitter do take place at @jlibraryist.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

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