|Yeti Come in Various Forms. This One Doesn't Look Like a Cyclaris Vehicularis|
I have been watching carefully during my commute to Alliance Airport for well over a year to see others riding this way. I’m sorry to say I have never seen a single one in thousands of miles of my commute. I’ve seen people riding on sidewalks and shooting across intersections. I’ve seen people riding the wrong way on busy roads. I’ve seen people riding in the dark without lights. I’ve seen people make left turns from the far right edge of the road without looking first. I’ve seen people hugging the fog line or curb in lanes too narrow to share with any four-wheeled motor vehicle; sometimes while riding very quickly. I’ve even seen them hug the curb on a busy road while riding with no hands on the handlebars. And that’s not even counting the signal/sign violations that motorists complain about in newspaper comments. The more I see, the more I marvel that few people on bikes suffer painful and bloody deaths. It seems we underestimate the competence of motorists, or overestimate how aggressive motorists are towards cyclists. Perhaps we do both.
|Cyclaris Vehicularis. Not in a Texas Summer|
IMO, the scofflaw majority seems to be a major factor why many motorists are skittish around cyclists. Mostly, motorists see people on bikes doing clueless, unpredictable, and dangerous actions. If I never see any operating according to best practices – and I’ve been looking, why would a motorist expect different? If you have never seen a cyclist stop for a stop sign or control a lane, it can be momentarily confusing as to what to do when one DOES. I consider it fortunate that the motoring majority “get it” and instinctively understand the “behave as a vehicle and be treated as a vehicle” principle. They just never see it. If they DO see it, it occasionally scares them.
Bike Education has a very long and steep hill to climb. If I criticize the Bike League education program, it is not for the content of the education, or the enthusiasm and ability of its instructors, but rather its failure to solve the problem of how to reach the masses of cyclists who could be helped.