I’m not going to say something irrational like, “cyclists suck and we shouldn’t have them on the streets”. Bicycling is a great workout, and for people that want to use bikes as a mode of travel, well, you’re certainly allowing me to breathe cleaner air and buy gas at a cheaper rate. Thanks! But often there are major problems with the whole “Share the Road” campaign.
How many times have you seen the following? Cyclists with NO helmet, NO blinking light, and BLACK clothing riding through town at night. Because keeping your fauxhawk perfectly groomed is much more important than making yourself visible to vehicle traffic. Or how about this? An “intense” bicyclist (Lance Armstrong wannabe) shooting through intersections and screaming “on your left!” to peds. A few more of my favorites are wear-a-skirt-that-is-dangerously-close-to-the-bike-chain girl, fixie-bike-messenger guy ducking and weaving through cars, and mother-with-bike-trailer slooooowly climbing a hill with 20 cars behind her.
It’s not the bicyclists fault that they are so stupid. Oregon law makes it incredibly easy for them to be ignorant. Many people move to Oregon from other states to take advantage of our “bike friendly” culture. But there are few mechanisms, minus a nice instructional accident, to inform newcomers of Oregon’s bicycle laws. In Oregon, bikes are treated as vehicles in the eyes of the law. Fair enough. That’s why bicyclists are required to wear helmets, pass safety tests for licensing purposes and carry insurance. Oh wait. They actually aren’t required to do any of these things.* But yet, they are allowed and encouraged to share the road with motor vehicles. This is so nonsensical. And bikers are obviously not smart enough to realize that they are at a disadvantage in the whole scheme of things.
The reason drivers are required to carry licenses and insurance and conform to certain safety standards is the simple fact that objects moving around in the same area will inevitably bump into each other. Add bicycles to the mix, and it is only a matter of time before a collision. And guess what? Even though drivers/cyclists are about even when it comes to fault, big car will smash small bike every time. I’m pretty sure every driver who has hit and killed a bicyclist, even if it was the bicyclists fault, feels really horrible about it and is traumatized. That is why driver’s get so pissed when a biker pulls a stupid move. The bikers have the same liability, but no conditions to enforce responsibility.
*Exception being helmets required for children under 16. The minute you hit 16 years old, your life is in your own hands! But don’t try to vote or drink.