Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Aggressive On A Bicycle

Stop me if you've heard this one. Comedian Tom Segura has a motorist's perspective on bike commuters. From his 2010 CD Thrilled, he talks briefly about how adults on bicycles are basically assholes. Search for it and have a listen.

Riding a bike as child, most of us naturally moved out of the way when we heard a car coming. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, we developed a sense of entitlement and an aggressive attitude  on how the road should be shared. So now we're caught in this negative cycle (pun intended) of us-vs.-them attitude.

From time-to-time, I'll see the very kind of cyclist that Segura describes in his joke, the ones who yell at motorists, "Hey! You don't fucking see me?! I'm on my bike!" The response, unfortunately, is also similar to the joke, "Yeah, man. Don't you see me? In my car? The thing that will rupture your spleen if I tap you with it?"

Can't we all just get along?

I bring this up as a sort-of follow-up to my review of Grant Peterson's Just Ride. In chapter 18, Peterson writes about being "carefully unpredictable" while commuting in traffic. He suggests utilizing a safety swerve, by which a rider, upon anticipating a motorist approaching from behind, jerks further left into the lane. The thinking is that this sudden move will give the impression that you may be inexperienced and alert the motorist to give you more room.

Bad idea, if ever there was one. I don't know about you, but I don't want to gamble with my safety and count on the odds of a driver to do the decent thing. If anything, the suggested safety swerve may be just the excuse for some aggressive driver or someone's who just had a bad day to take a shot at you. "Officer, there was nothing I could do. He swerved right in front of me!"

So if you're aggressive on a bicycle, considering changing you ways and represent cyclists as a respectable group of people. If you're aggressive in a car, get on a bike once in awhile and get another perspective.

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