Now that I’ve been a cyclist for a few months, I know the group of people on Earth I hate most are other cyclists.
My disdain for my two-wheeled counterparts falls somewhere between Libyans’ hatred of Gadhafi and New Democrats’ hatred of Christie Blatchford (a tight squeeze, I know). But it’s true: You can all bike at full speed under bridges with four-foot clearances, for all I care.
The only positive thing I can say about the lot of you is “Thanks for making me feel unique.”
Because I am apparently the only Canadian cyclist who follows the rules of the road.
I stop at stop lights (gasp). I signal my turns (shock). I do not assume “shared trail” means “cycles moving at 40 km/h and human speed bumps leaping out of the way.”
The other day I approached a crosswalk with a person in it. The wheel-shocked pedestrian, accustomed to years of (the cycle of) abuse, went into full duck-and-cover mode, like a Brit during the Blitz. When she looked up from her huddle to realize I had stopped, she looked baffled, then sheepishly said, “Sorry!” as she passed in front of me.
I yelled after her: “DON’T APOLOGIZE! YOU HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY!”
You know you’ve become a cyclist-hating cyclist when you start yelling positive things at pedestrians.
Conversely, rarely a ride goes by without me yelling something slightly less positive at another cyclist – usually something like, “THE LIGHT IS RED, YOU [profanity] DOG [obscenity] EATING [vulgarity]!”
Then I spend the rest of the trip cycling slow so I don’t catch up with that guy.
I’m not asking for puritanical devotion to the rules: I’d just like more cyclists to stop riding as if they were in a Farrelly Brothers movie called Blind Cyclist, where our hero ends up covered in newspapers and dead birds as he plows through crowds of people, a strip club and a perfect wedding.
We live in a society where anything that slows cars down, including ambulances and inertia, is deemed part of the “War on the Car.” Bikes are No. 1 on the list of irrational targets. When I argue back to motorists, I’d like to have some moral high ground.
So, please, let’s stop the cycle of abuse together. And if any cyclists don’t understand where I’m coming from, I’d recommend wearing your helmet at all times. You probably need it.