downers: bike commuters
To get your eastside Portland bona fides, you need a bike for you and every member of your family. Per the usual, I put the cart before the horse a few years ago and got a bike rack for my car–a super burly one that, once fitted onto the vehicle, suggested that my weekends are spent at the mountain, when in reality they are spent at Trader Joe’s eating samples. Turns out I wanted the bike rack more than the bikes. I planned to buy the bikes shortly thereafter, but only got as far as my older kid’s bike. So it was that we drove off for a summer vacation in Bend with a single toddler bike teetering precariously off the end of that burly four-bike bike rack.
Every time I want to buy bikes, something else comes up that requires my money. Like bills. And it’s ok, because in the time that has passed, I have built up a loathing for bike commuters and everything they stand for. I realize I risk offending 80% of my readership with this post but what it comes down to is this: if I have to follow traffic rules in my car, so do you on your bike. I don’t care how cool your bicycle saddlebags are or how neat your jeans look all rolled up on one side with the ironic sock underneath–if I have to stop at a stop sign, so do you. Especially since the City of Portland is actively taking steps to remove all car lanes and replace them with those annoying green bicycle boxes, and refusing to let you turn right on red lights for fear that you might hit a bicyclist sitting in your blindspot. Hello! if you know you’re sitting in my blindspot, get the hell out of it.
Cars have rights too, ok? Especially new cars, like mine. They need room to move and go places, and they can’t do that when you’re leisurely peddling your bike in the middle of the lane at 5 MPH. And it doesn’t make it better if you get a friend to join you so that there’s two of you riding at 5 MPH, side by side. 5 MPH + 5 MPH does not equal 10 MPH, and even if it did, you’d still be 15 MPH under the speed limit in a 25 MPH zone. Newsflash: you look ridiculous, and you are impeding the flow of traffic. I mean, a driver can get a ticket for driving too slow–I looked it up during a debate with Tom about the arguable legality of his driving–so why can’t a bicyclist?
Even worse than the middle-of-the-laners are the bike commuters who make a big show of shifting over to one side and waving at you to pass them, all with a put-out expression. Hey, since you’re such a giver, how about moving over enough to actually let me pass without hitting oncoming traffic? I like to follow these people really slowly, for blocks on end. Eventually they will get exasperated and pull over altogether. Great success! When they do that, it means I’ve won the road.
Let’s hear it. I’m a dying breed. My new car is a monstrosity. I’m just jealous I can’t fit my head into a regulation size bike helmet. What have you got? Because here’s what I’ve got: bike commuters who don’t follow the rules–you get me down.