First, thank you for biking. I love the fact that you chose a bike as your form of transportation. Whether you did it to save money, because it's faster than driving, or just because you love biking, it doesn't matter. I'm glad to see you out there.
But we have a problem, a big problem, and you need to help us with it. There is a huge percentage of our fellow bikers who don't get it. They don't understand that we need to be examples to everyone. Every day I see bikers flying through stop signs, ignoring traffic lights, biking the wrong way down one ways, biking without lights at night, and doing other things that are very dangerous.
I know some of these bikers. These are the bikers that will stop traffic to allow their fellow bikers to cross an intersection, even though they don't have the right of way. Bikers that think that just because they aren't driving a car they are better than people than those behind the wheel. This is the wrong attitude and we need to work on fixing this.
Bikers have a obligation. An obligation to show everyone around us that bikes can be a major form of transportation. We can all wish that the car would just go away and we could have the city streets to ourselves. But it's not going to happen. The solution to bike safety and acceptance is all of us biking smart.
Biking smart doesn't mean following every single traffic rule. I will roll through stop signs if there is no one coming, but I always slow down. I always stop at red lights, though I will cross the intersection when the light is red if it's safe to do so. Bikes and cars are different and I think laws should be adaptable enough to respect those differences.
But there are some things we need to start pressuring our fellow bikers to stop doing:
- Running red lights without stopping
- Not slowing down when entering a controlled intersection you don't have the right of way in, whether a car is approaching or not
- Not stopping for stop signs on bike trails if a car is coming
- Not signaling turns
- Passing every car to get to the front of a line of cars, you can wait behind the car in front of you
- Not taking lanes when you should
- Biking on sidewalks(there are a few places in town where you have no choice)
- Turning in an intersection from the wrong lane. If there is a left turn lane, get into that lane and turn from there, or cross the intersection and then cross it again going the other direction.
- Passing cars on the right side when they are stopped (even if they don't have a blinker on, assume they are turning)
- Biking the wrong way down one ways
- Biking at night without lights
- Biking with headphones in
- Biking without a helmet
Here's the deal. I know there are drivers out there that will dislike bikers no matter way, I know bikers have the same rights as cars do, but we need to take our role more seriously. We need to show cars respect, need to be extremely defensive, and we need to stop acting like we own the road. Learn and follow the rules and we'll be better off.