Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Car and bike: Observations

I've cycled with cars for over 40 years. These days I commute by car most days, by bike weekly. This is what I believe ...
  1. My idyllic bicycle commute is significantly riskier than my car commute. It's not mountain climbing or even motorcycling, but it's a risk I knowingly assume. As the average age of Minnesota drivers heads north, so will my risk.
  2. The main reason many drivers hate cyclists is we push our risk onto them. To a certain level of cycling injury, regardless of fault, I'd rather be be the cyclist than the driver. If the driving fault were mine, I'd choose death. We cyclists choose our risks, but we make drivers assume comparable risks.
  3. Another reason some male drivers dislike male cyclists is we make them feel guilty and inferior. Given what #1 says about our judgment that's illogical, but we're talking about guys here. I feel inferior when I'm in my car and I see a real woman cycling through the snow and ice.
  4. All my life I have been frustrated by black active wear clothing. I suppose it's black because young ones buy active wear and they wish to attract mates. I am not seeking a mate. I am trying to stay healthy. I want more lime-green-yellow reflective clothing. My 4-5 high intensity flashing and probing bicycle lights are offset by black wind pants. I'm hoping this will improve as cyclists age. Ortlieb, to their credit, sells red and yellow bags.
  5. The biggest car-bike problem I face in the age of the bicycle lane is passing a line of stopped cars on the right. Drivers in the right lane hate being passed on the right side. Right side mirrors positioned for driving don't work well for detecting a passing bike. On the other hand, as a cyclist, there's no realistic alternative to passing stopped cars on the right.
  6. It is illegal to cross over a double yellow central line, even to pass a slow vehicle. I believe Minnesota women over 25 prefer not to cross this line. On the other hand, guys like the excuse to be rogue and rough and to feel, for a moment, almost young again. I believe that is why the cars that pass too close to me on a narrow road are usually driven by women.
  7. Inline skaters are to cyclists as cyclists are to drivers. Have mercy on skaters.

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