Got my bike out yesterday. Yes, it’s February. Yes, my own street is ridiculously perilous. But it was only just below zero out and the weather was sunny and blue skied and it was great. Well, the way to work was great. The way home, on the other hand, made me think that everyone from the Douchebag Academy was out on a day pass.
One of my translations of the Golden Rule, as I have briefly mentioned before, is ‘ If you are inconveniencing someone, stop. If you can’t stop, at least be apologetic about it.’ This has never particularly applied to anyone I’ve encountered on the road. In my 17 years of driving, I’ve probably only see the wave of contrition/’sorry, I’m a total dick’ a couple of times. Most of the time, people barrel on with no consideration for anyone else on the road. But then, I find that the oblivious rarely apologise.
Here are some fun rules that y’all might have forgotten about. Rules in place for safety, but also to minimise douchebaggery:
- Looking both ways before crossing the street. I realise that most of us were four years old a very long time ago, but this is the most important rule of all, since forgotten. Residents of Centretown are especially amnesic about this one. I will shout at you if you get in my way sometimes, but not always, because I will have to stop to do so. Like you, I have places to go. Unlike you, I have the right of way on my side.
- Walking on the sidewalk. I had to ding my bell at a couple who were walking in the bike lane. And ring it again. Then say ‘BEEP’. then yell ‘BEEP’. Then shout ‘EXCUSE ME’ twice. Only then did they get out of the way. And not apologise. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you don’t want cyclists on the sidewalk, then pedestrians shouldn’t walk in the bike lanes.
- Seriously, cyclists, don’t bike on the sidewalks. THIS IS WHY THEY HATE US.
- Bike lanes aren’t for parking either. One of the dudes from last night gets extra points for actually being in his car, seeing me, and still not getting out of the way. No, I did not bang on his car as he went by. It was a Porsche and I don’t know if my insurance is that good.
- Oh, hey, traffic lights apply to EVERYONE. Including slow cyclists who pass me, then slow me up because they only bike at one speed: Turtle.
- Speaking of lights, you don’t get to turn left the instant one turns green, unless it’s one of those little arrows. Especially if someone is coming straight through from the other direction. In last night’s case, the other vehicle was a car, but I get this on my bike. A lot.
- People should use the turn signals. All modern cars come equipped with them!. They will help stop me from dying when you pull into a parking space right in front of me.
- Here’s a fun fact: Most of last night’s ride was spent watching parked cars/cars parking because dooring is an even bigger risk on narrowed-by-snowbank streets. Even if you don’t see a bike, you should at least be checking to see if, say, a car or something that might hit you as you exit your vehicle isn’t coming. See rule #1.
Seriously, people, be kind, don’t just rewind, be mindful of your fellow man/woman/motorist/cyclist/etc. We can’t live our lives in our own thoughts all the time; tunnel vision doesn’t suit anyone.
BE FUCKING CONSIDERATE, DAMMIT, and everyone will be a hell of a lot happier.