Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sharing the Road . . . Not!?!?!

*NOTE* - This is going to be a rant, so if you aren't in the mood don't read any further!
And it isn't going to be politically correct either - this is my blog and I am going to vent.

You always hear "Share the road." when it comes to bicycles. I always felt okay about that and it always bothered me when I read about a bicyclist getting hit by a car. But things change and that changes our mind. And of course, we all know that the bicyclist are never at fault, it is always the big, bad car drivers are always wrong. I mean let's face it - they pollute the air, they have created the hole in the ozone and anything else you can think of. In case you can't tell I am being very facetious. Yes, there are bad drivers out there just like there are bad bicyclists. I encountered three today. And it just wasn't little things it was things that could have ended very badly.

Bicyclist #1 (Female) - wearing a helmet, dressed in all the correct clothing to be the next Lance Armstrong and seemed to be doing well. Then, she came to a crowd of people (this was on the Plaza in Santa Fe where there was a 5K run and Arts & Crafts Shows going on) where she barreled through a crosswalk full of pedestrians crossing the street. Two people jumped out of the way and just missed being hit. The bicyclist never slowed down and didn't even look back to see if anything had happened. The pedestrians had a few choice words and hand signals for the bicyclist.

Bicyclist #2 (Male) - again wearing a helmet and looking like a professional bike rider - whatever that is. I was parked in a line of cars trying to exit a parking lot and there were all these cars on the street that had a stop sign ahead. So they were stopping and moving and then every now and then would let one of the cars out of the parking lot. When I was the second car in line the car ahead of me was turning left out of the parking lot (the car on the street had stopped to let him turn) and all of a sudden stepped on his brakes and stopped int he middle of his turn. I wondered why! And then I saw a bicyclist come around the car in the street that had stopped and just kept going weaving through the cars ahead. Boy let me tell you that big bad car that was turning could have killed that bicyclist if he hadn't seen him and stopped.

Bicyclist #3 (Male) - again this was a bicyclist that had all the clothes and gear you see at the Tour de France. I was at a three-way stop and I was stopped. There were no other cars around. Directly ahead I could see a bicyclist but he hadn't quite made it to the stop sign. I start to turn right and low and behold the bicyclist turned left right in front of me - he didn't even slow down much less stop at the stop sign. Luckily I wasn't going fast and slammed my brakes on to avoid hitting him. I did sit on my horn for a good 30 seconds (secretly hoping that the noise would have scared him and he would have fallen off his bike). The road we both turned on is a 25mph road, so I was going slow and that meant that I didn't need to pass the bicyclist. On this road are four stop signs at street along the way and then you get to a signal light at a major intersection. This bicyclist did not stop at any of the stop signs. He even went around other cars that were stopped at the stop signs. Just before the signal light he put his left arm straight out to turn left onto a side street. He cut in front of the car in front of me - he never looked back to see if it was safe. I would say that the car and the bike were pretty close seeing how fast the car put on their brakes.

My point? I have had enough of this sharing the road crap and always hearing how bad the cars are. Roads were meant for cars not bikes. Roads are paid for by cars not bikes. So here are my thoughts and I don't care if you like them.
Since anyone driving a car needs to take a test and get a driver's license I feel that every bicyclist that wants to ride on the road should have to take bike safety lessons, take a test (written and practical), pass the test and pay for a rider's license.
They should also have to register (yearly) their bike and get a license plate for the bike (and pay for that as well). Someone has to pay for those bike lanes and it shouldn't be the cars (we already pay for our driver's license, license plates and gas which go to the roads). I don't mind paying for that since I use the road but I don't want to pay for bike lanes. These idiots today really pissed me off - you could tell just by their actions that they think they own the roads - they didn't want to share, they wanted everyone (pedestrians and drivers to yield to them).

If they want to share the road then they need to obey every traffic rule and sign that cars have to obey. Stop at every stop sign and only go when it is clear. Stop at pedestrian crosswalks (especially if there is someone crossing). Use turn signals at all time (and I will reiterate this for cars as well). Etc., Etc., Etc.! If they break these rules they should be ticketed just like a car would be if caught.

This is how I feel and I am glad I vented - if you want to share the road then practice what you preach. I realize that not every bicyclist is bad and it would be nice if bicyclist would realize that not all drivers are bad. When an accident happens it could just as well be the bicyclist's fault not the driver's fault - I witnessed three acts of reckless bicycling in the span of about an hour so my guess would be that there is a lot more of that going on.

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