Friday, 25 October 2013

Cletus Asks Cyclists #4

Why are bicyclists so selfish?

Not everyone who bicycles is this selfish, but some are and really need to read this!
I live on a two lane highway with no shoulder AT ALL yet people come from all over to ride on it because it's a beautiful, scenic place. I have numerous times had to put my truck in the ditch because a logging truck was in the other lane and the bicyclist was just pedalling away in the middle of my lane. Bicyclists should ride responsively! It just plain rude and dangerous to ride on this kind of road- dangerous for drivers' as well as the bicycle. Parents: please teach kids to only ride on roads that are appropriate and safe for bicycle traffic.
I'm more than inconvenienced by this- I'm frightened. At the least, I will have expensive repair bills for my truck by flying into ditches. People have already been killed. I'm worried a child will be riding on a bad stretch (in a lot of places, it's big river on one side and steep mountain on the other) and will be killed because a driver can't get out of their way. This is a 70mph road with a lot of big trucks heavily loaded who cannot stop quickly.

My response:

You have "had to put your truck in the ditch because a logging truck was in the other lane and the bicyclist was just pedalling away in the middle of 'your' lane"?

How about instead of acting stupidly, you SLOW DOWN!

The lane is not 'yours'. It's every road user's - including cyclists'. Ownership of the road does not depend on the type of vehicle you choose to use on it. When a cyclist is in front of you, it's technically 'his' lane, by the rule of priority. Didn't you learn this in Driver's Ed before you got your license? You are required by law to slow until it's SAFE to overtake. Attempting to overtake while a logging truck is in the oncoming lane is not safe.

Cyclists use the whole lane when it's not wide enough to share - precisely so that impatient motorists are prevented from overtaking. This is for the cyclist's protection.

The speed limit of the road is irrelevant: if cyclists are allowed on it, they have every right to take measures to increase their safety - one of these is taking a central position in the lane - this makes the cyclist as visible as possible to other road users and prevents unsafe passes. Besides, the speed limit is an upper limit, not a target speed. Speeds are limited by the vehicle in front - another thing you should have learned in Driver's Ed.

For your sake (and for the sake of all the road users who might be unfortunate enough to be using the road around you), read and commit to memory your Driver's Handbook. The rules are in there. It's not rocket science.

By the way, if trucks cannot stop quickly, they should modify their speed so that they are following the vehicle in front at a safe distance so that they have room to stop in an emergency - this is a legal requirement.

The post and all the responses, good and bad, were at Yahoo Answers but as is often the case with questions like this, it was deleted, presumably by the person who posted it. I'm guessing this happens because the questioner either is getting too many answers he doesn't like, or (less likely) he realizes his question/rant makes him look ignorant.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Thought for the Day

Motorists: just do what's expected of you, A.K.A. "Don't fuck around".

Today as I was riding home, a car pulls out of a driveway to my front left and backs out towards me. Nothing wrong with that - perfectly normal. I'm 100 yards away and the driver has plenty of space to complete his/her turn. There are no other vehicles or pedestrians around. I ride up behind, slow down and wait for the driver to complete the maneuver.

Then the driver sees me and, presumably, panics.

Instead of just completing the turn and going forward, he or she pulls into the oncoming traffic lane and just stops. All that was needed was for him or her to apply gasoline and go, but no. Now I'm presented with a situation that is not a part of normal road usage. Do I stop and wait? Do I overtake on the right - moving into the blind spot of a car whose owner clearly wants to move forward into my lane? Maybe this bozo is on a cellphone, in which case anything could happen.

Eventually, I rode past, very carefully on his/her right, and sure enough, the motorist pulls into the lane behind me. The motorist was waiting for me, because as every motorist knows, acting stupid out of some panicked sense of courtesy is precisely what a cyclist wants to see motorists do.

If I stop for you, I'm fricken waiting for you to go. I am not waiting for you to stop to let me go.

Trust me, motorists, I already think you're incompetent. You don't need to prove it to me every single day. Give some days a miss, okay?

I mean, am I crazy, or should the road be simpler than this?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Who's Crazy?

Although we were called 'crazy' yesterday for cycling in the rain, my daughter had an absolute blast cycling home in the torrential rain this afternoon. At the first crack of thunder, she yelled 'Woo-hoo!' at the prospect of cycling in a thunderstorm (but that one rumble was all we got). Cycling through what she called 'flash floods' (3-4 inch deep rivers of rainwater), and past what she called 'waterfalls' at every storm drain made her day. She turned our neighborhood streets into an imaginary rainforest.

Yeah, every bit of us that wasn't covered with a rain cape got soaked. But we
had an adventure.

And most cyclists actually avoid cycling in 'bad' weather. That's what I call

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Chuckin' it dahn

On this morning's commute to my daughter's school one of the other parents called us crazy for cycling in this weather - it was, as we Yorkshire folk say, "chuckin' it dahn" (raining really hard). Still is, actually. Probably will be for the rest of the week and next week too according to the forecast. And I'll be out there actually experiencing it every day, unlike 99.9% of the folks around me, who are apparently afraid to get a bit wet. Why? Because when I get an excuse to experience real actual life on this Earth, rather than sitting in the dead, dull, sterile and uninspiring air conditioned environment that we've built everywhere for ourselves, I take it.

I wish I'd had the presence of mind to tell the parent who called us crazy that I thought she and all the other parents are crazy for NOT cycling to school. Life is for living - it should be an adventure, and adventures sometimes involve doing stuff that isn't all that comfortable. There's weather out there in all its glory, and it's at its best when it's experienced at first-hand, with (at most) a rain cape, not through a car windscreen.

Not that I don't like comfort - I do - too much. And so does pretty much everyone else. But unlike most folks I realized that our desire for comfort is not all that healthy. So I denied myself one comfort - just one - the automobile. Never learned to drive, never will, because occasionally we need to live life rather than sleep through it.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Thought for the Day.

Motorists, if I'm traveling at 25mph on a road with a 25mph speed limit, you don't 'have' to overtake me. You'll arrive at a road with a higher speed limit soon enough. Then you'll be able to overtake me without looking like a total wanker.

But if you do decide to overtake me, for goodness sake COMMIT! Don't pussyfoot around wondering if you should accelerate while you drive next to me in the oncoming traffic lane for ten seconds. Call me crazy, but I've heard that the oncoming traffic lane can contain oncoming traffic.