Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Open letter to cyclists

Sometimes you just have to get stuff off your chest, so here I go.

If you're a cool, I'm riding my bike but I realize that I am a small piece of what is sharing this highway cyclist, then this isn't for you.

If you're one of the mountain bikers who we never see on the roads, this isn't for you.

If you're one of those cool road bikers who travel by bicycle everywhere and understand that the edge of the road, right of way strip, bike lanes, walking paths, and (yes, ahem) SEPARATE FREAKING BIKE TRAILS are there for you, just...you.  Then, this is also not for you.


If you are that total flipping rude nut job kind of cyclist who I watched try and play some crazy sort of reverse-highway-chicken, you-can't-pass-me game, with my husband while he was driving a dump truck AND towing a camper amounting to about 27,000 pounds of steel carefully along a narrow, 35 mph, curvy, mountainous, blind spot-inducing, nowhere-for-anyone-to-go road, then this is definitely for you.

I get it.  You own the freaking road.  But seriously, really, sweetheart...so do we.  So, in love, please, could you move over a scosh so people can at least have the option to attempt to pass you safely without killing you, us, and the oncoming drivers!?!! This woman actually made me scream in frustration.  I don't think I've ever seen anything so rude from a cyclist. 

Here's this woman riding down the MIDDLE, and I mean the M-I-D-D-L-E of our lane on this windy, narrow, blind corner, busy road, on her bike.  Pedaling along like whatever, I'm riding here.  And she totally can see (and no doubt hear) my husband's big red 2-ton diesel truck pulling a 30' camper come up behind her, with two cars also behind him.  We're all patiently following her, politely waiting for her to notice and inch over so we can try to get past and continue our day. Eventually we realize, after like 5 miles of random curves and straight stretches...it's not going to happen.  Does she remotely attempt to let traffic by, safely, so we can all share the road?  No.  She looks over her shoulder, speeds up her pedaling a little (really?), and stays right there in the middle of the lane.  She passes numerous places where she could safely have let us by.  She passes numerous places where she could have pedaled along beside the road entirely for a stretch.  She would probably have passed a complete bike rest stop without any attempt to move or let anyone by.

Finally the minivan behind me takes his life (and all of ours, and hers) in his hands and passes ALL THREE OF US, me, the 55' of truck and camper, AND the cyclist and goes flying off down the curvy narrow road, also narrowly missing my husband, who had catiously turned on his signal to pass the cyclist, only to suddenly find Mr. Minivan right next to the camper, forcing him to swerve the whole setup BACK into the lane behind this lady.  On her bike.  I helpfully honked at all of them, couldn't even help it.

I'm watching all this from two cars back.  And still, she cycled on.  In the middle of the lane.  With a giant Dodge growling right behind her, dragging 13.5 tons of metal.  She would NOT let us past. What if she'd crashed?  We'd have all driven right over her.  Stunning.  I wish I'd taken a picture of this lunatic, cycling along down the middle of the road with a truck, camper, car, and minivan all patiently winding around behind her. 

Finally there was a small gap with some visibility where my husband was able to take his and my daughter's life (and the cyclist's I suppose) in his hands and carefully drag the whole 55' of truck and trailer out in the oncoming lane and get past this woman.  She kept cycling right down the middle of the lane.

Is she blind? Deaf? Angry? Suicidal?     Can anyone seriously be THIS FLIPPING RUDE????

I'm behind them like, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW????"

I passed her as well, but my question is what. the. heck??  People, move OVER.  I'm not talking about, oh, any minute now, when it's safe, she'll give us some room.  I'm talking about someone acting like I'm totally within my rights to be here and I will literally stay in this lane right in front of you for the rest of this entire road if I feel like it because I am a biker, and I can be here if I feel like it, and today...I feel like it.  So screw you, all of you, in your cars, trying to drive.

As I passed her, I had to say to her (loudly enough for her to hear me), "WOW".  Couldn't help it.  And you know what? She flipped me off.  Nice.  Probably because she's been yelled at ALL DAY, but really, get a clue woman.  This road was one of the most dangerous places I can imagine cycling.  You couldn't pay me to ride a bike down this road.

I can totally see how road rage happens, because I'm a non-violent, polite, give everyone the benefit of the doubt kind of person, but this woman came close to having me stop the car and kick her off her bike myself.  Especially after flipping me off for being annoyed with her.

Hopefully she didn't cause any accidents on the rest of the 15 mile road out to the normal highways (with--what?-- scenic bike trails everywhere, clearly marked), because she was putting her own life in danger, along with everyone else on that road today.  I can only hope she had no choice, no car, no friends to drive her anywhere, no money for a cab, and it was a matter of life and death that she get down that road, right then.

I still can't believe it.  I've seen some rude cyclists, but this one topped them all.  Bar none. 

So as a public service message from drivers to bikers.  Please.  We get it.  You pay taxes and by golly you can bike wherever you freaking want and that's legal.  Whatever.  Do it wisely, is all I want to say.  We're all used to the fact that we have to slow down and try and squeeze past your elbows on narrow country roads here and there, and we try to ignore the fact that if we have the sun in our eyes or we glance for a split second away from the road, we could kill you there on your bike, and we'd have that on our conscience forever, but for the love of Pete please give us at least a chance to get PAST you, so we can ALL enjoy the drive.

Just in case you are a cyclist like this, and you write me a nasty-gram about how bikers are misunderstood and victimized, and the nitpickity details of the legality of cycling and rights of way, etc., be assured I will happily delete it.

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