Friday, August 6, 2010

Letter to a Bicyclist

To the bike commuter in blue on Broadway this morning:

As I was getting on the bus at 7:45 (my bike is in the shop), I saw you veer into the center turn lane to pass the line of 4 cars waiting behind my bus. A few minutes later, the bus was waiting at a red light and I saw you stop (points for at least stopping first) and then run the red light. We passed you, and then a few minutes later as we were stopping for another red light, you passed on the left between the bus and a car, and then made a quick right turn onto 5th Ave.

Wow, that is a lot of law-breaking in the span of about 5 minutes! Not only is it illegal to do pretty much everything I just listed, but it's extremely dangerous. What if one of the motorists waiting behind the bus suddenly decided to do what you were doing and pass in the center turn lane? Do you think they would have looked back to see if a bicyclist was coming before pulling out? Nope, and you would have been creamed.

As for the red light running, in your situation, it was safe because you looked for traffic before going, but you basically were saying to all the motorists waiting at the intersection,"hey, look at me, I'm on a bike so the laws don't apply to me!" They are going to wonder why you are allowed on the road at all. And they may take it out on the next bicyclist they see, even one doing nothing wrong.

How can we expect motorists to take us seriously as legitimate users of the roads if we don't follow the same laws? Why do you get to run the red light on a bike, but not in a car? The laws are there to keep us all safe. It doesn't work if we pick and choose which ones and when to follow them.

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