Friday, March 26, 2010

Stupid People on Bicycles

I almost titled this entry "Cyclists" or "Bikers" but it's not that I hate all people on bicycles; I just hate the stupid ones. How do I know they are stupid? Here are just a few of the reasons:
  1. It's dusk or already dark and they have no lights on their bikes (which is a law).
  2. They are not wearing helmets
  3. They are wearing their iPods
  4. They are riding against traffic (against the law)
  5. They are running through lights and almost mowing down pedestrians (2 more broken laws)
If you are riding a bike, it is your responsibility to understand the laws that pertain to you, as well as some basic safety information to keep yourself from getting run over. I bought a bike a year and a half ago and before I got out on the roads I did a little research about the rules of riding a bike. For example, did you know that when riding a bike, you are permitted to ride on the sidewalk in a residential area but not in a business area? There are many other easily-followable laws that I see people people f* up on a daily basis. As a service to the public, I will review some commonly ignored laws and provide a translation of that they mean:
  • You must obey all traffic laws and regulations of the Commonwealth. Translation: You are a vehicle and must stop at stop signs and red traffic lights. Don't just go flying through a red light because you're a on a bike and cars are scared to hit you. It's annoying and stupid and dangerous for everyone. Trust me, if you do get hit by a car, those skinny emo hipster jeans you are wearing will not offer much protection.
  • You must use hand signals to let people know you plan stop or turn. Translation: You have to tell people where you are headed or when you are about to stop. I know drivers in Mass don't often use their blinkers, and bikers complain about getting cut off by turning cars, but telling the vehicles around you will give them more notice about your own intentions. Hand signals are not exactly rocket science. USE THEM PEOPLE. Not using them is annoying and stupid and dangerous.
  • You must give pedestrians the right of way. Translation: When the little white walk man pops up, it is not your turn to go. Again, on a bike, you are a vehicle. Not a pedestrian, and definitely not some weird special combination of vehicle and pedestrian. So don't ride across an intersection trying to plow down as many pedestrians as you can. It's annoying and stupid and dangerous.
  • You must have your headlight and taillight on if you are riding anytime from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise. Translation: When it is dark, put on lights so that people can see you. Not like a dinky little flashlight, but a bright-ass, visible from far away light. Blinking lights are even better for visibility. Not using lights is annoying and stupid and dangerous (Are you getting the picture that not following the law is annoying stupid and dangerous?)
As you may have been able to determine from the above entry, cycling safety is very important to me. A large number of cyclists have been killed or seriously injured simply because cyclists and motorists do not follow the appropriate laws and basic safety precautions. For more information about how not to die while cycling look at http://bicyclesafe.com and http://www.massbike.org/resourcesnew/bike-law. Remember, when you are on a bike, it's your responsibility to avoid getting hit by cars, because, while it may legally be the fault of the driver, you will still be the dead one. In Massachusetts we have some of the worst drivers in America (NY is the worst) so it makes sense to me--but obviously not to 99% of people I see on bicycles--to try to do everything to minimize your risk of being run over. As my dad always says, ride like you are invisible (as opposed to riding like you are invincible). So the next time you hop on your bike, just be smart and follow the laws so that I won't have to hate you.

Update 5/11/10: See this great article in the Boston Globe about cyclists needing to earn the respect they are asking for.

1 comment:

  1. Last year I lost a friend to a horrible bicycling accident when he was killed.
    Had he signaled properly this accident may never have occurred.

    Why turning signals are not a requirement for all bikes, I'll never understand.
    I purchased mine at safetybikesignals.com.

    ReplyDelete