Saturday, August 29, 2009
An Open Letter to Cyclists in Cambridge, MA
Dear Cambridge Bicyclers,
I want to start by thanking you. You are doing a wonderful thing by biking wherever it is that you are going. You are taking care for the planet into your own hands, and you should feel proud of that. While other schmucks (like myself) are buzzing from place to place in our air-conditioned, planet-killing, obesity-inducing death pods (otherwise known as cars), you are zipping around on your pollution-free, fitness-creating 10-speed. For this, I commend you and the ozone layer and polar ice caps thank you.
But I have something else that I absolutely must say to you: could you please, please, please, please, please, please stop being such oblivious, knuckle-headed assholes? Now, before you stop reading, please know that this is for your own safety. Even though we don't know each other well, I'm a fairly reasonable and compassionate person (at least I think I am) and I would very much prefer not to kill any of you while I'm going about my daily business. And I'm assuming this is something you would also prefer. So let's get together on it.
You see, when you whip out from the middle of no-where or run a red-light without looking or ride in the crosswalk or ride the wrong-way down a one-way street, you really stress me out a bit. Because I'm not expecting you to do any of those things (mostly because they are illegal). I don't expect things to come out of nowhere. When I watch for things in the crosswalk, I am looking for pedestrians, who move differently and more slowly than bikes. I, usually, assume that traffic will all be moving in one direction on a one-way street, just like I expect cross traffic to stop when they have a red and I have a green (do NOT get me started on bikers who will yell at me and make nasty gestures when I get in their way while they are breaking the law!).
If you are assuming at this point that I am just another oblivious driver who hates the environment and cares nothing for bikers, you are mistaken. I appreciate bikers. I watch out, as best I can, for their welfare. I always give them a wide berth when passing. I ALWAYS look for bikes before turning, making sure not to turn in front of them. I look for bikes before I open the door of my car into the street. I don't drive because I hate the earth, but because I have a complicated work life. And I'm terrible at biking (story for another time.) And, as I said, I am grateful for what you are doing. But that doesn't mean I will always see you or that I will always be able to react quickly enough. And it certainly doesn't mean that you can do whatever you feel like, not wear a helmet and be okay!
I'm just asking, can't we do a little better at sharing the road? I'd like to both remain alive and go about our daily routine with a little more respect for each other. Don't you?