I have been moved recently by the evil Bike Injunction being partially lifted. I was cruising up The Wiggle on my way home and I saw that the bikes in the road had squiggly arrows painted before them. Then up on Scott I saw a bike with blue bike lights all over it. I had a feeling something big was about to happen. At the light of Oak and Scott there was another bike with blue lights on it, and a sound system, along with the Bicycle Coalition Welcoming Committee. They were there in a pack of four or five just to tell passing bikers to enjoy their new left turning lane and green bike box, like Portland has (minus the big bike stencil that our city is lacking). I pulled over and saw a fellow bike polo player who was part of the jam. I hugged him a little too close because it was a huge celebration. A big win in safe cycling in the city. I started to cry as I heard the team announcing the new bike lane to fellow wigglers and them proclaiming extreme happiness. I admitted my burgeoning tears and Patricia and Marc admitted theirs earlier. What a good experience! I rode my bike the whole way home with an Obama-esque smile on my face.
Riding around the city I have been feeling a few things I need to get off my chest. Call them Bikettiquette or my own pet ppeves, but just hear me out.
1: Stop Signs
Dearest Cars, you cannot get mad at us bikers for running stop signs if you always let us go for it. I always yield at a stop sign, and if someone has the right of way, then I let them go. But if you just EXPECT us to run the stop sign, by you pausing, you are giving us the right of way. Which, I am thankful for because it takes much more personal energy to stop and go on a bike as opposed to pushing your foot on a small pedal. I think it is very courteous of you to give me the right of way. I just wish we could put it into law so we can all know what to do at the intersection in question.
This is not just for dorky commuters. While I don't see the need for signaling a stop unless I know some motha effer isn't paying attention, I see the true slick awesomeness that these alert signals have on my ride. Bikers: if you cant hear my chain coasting and you don't know I am behind you, take out your ipod because it's CODE BLACK:ninja time. Your life depends on it. But my life depends on your awareness. I am behind you and you are slow, but you are also turning right when I can pass you. If I know where you are going, I won't make you wish you wore a helmet.
Sometimes I signal if no one is there. It's good exercise. It's a dance. It's sexy.
3: Exiting your car
What the fuck. Seriously. Have you ever thought to look out the window? This is a city. Not the country. There are crackheads and tourists and, yes, bikers that have to survive in a treacherous 3 foot margin in between one ton metallic moving things. How in the hell can you be mad at a biker that you hit with your car door? Why is your first reaction to be angry at us? You didn't sustain the injuries for which we don't have insurance.
BIKERS: Why the hell do you think it's okay, in the heat of adrenaline before any of the aches and pains have set in, to NOT get the insurance information of the driver at fault? Listen, I know you are alive and you are thankful for that, but what about the chiropractic adjustments you need to get back to normal instead of sucking it up and having over 50 suck? What about a new bike because yours was cracked and is no longer safe? Seriously, you need to snap out of it and get out your show flier and tagging marker and at least get their license plate as they casually drive off.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DOORING! DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT!
Dear Bikers: PLEASE be thankful when a car stops opening their door when they see you.
Please be thankful for when a car lets you have the right of way at a stop sign.
Please be thankful for the car that goes into the other lane to pass you.
Remind yourself of all the good drivers and try to pay it forward.
Again, I may even break these rules from time to time, but I think we need to be on the same page and get a better groove going. We can coexist. It may be better with separate but equal streets. Why must you hold on so tight to streets when we could keep your car drives less stressful for you if we were free to swerve so slightly (that slightly that drives you insane) in our own boulevard?
It would be better if we didn't have to breathe in all the exhaust of the cars, ma