Photos: How not to be a dickhead on Bike to Work Day
Editor's note: In honor of Bike to Work Day 2013, we're re-sharing Jef Otte's timeless advice for drivers from 2011.
Big photos below.
Used to be, the only adults who rode bikes were either weird fitness freaks or those with multiple DUIs. Times have changed, however, and more bicyclists than ever are taking to the pedals and jockeying for road space against drivers in an atmosphere of barely contained and increasing animosity. And the problem isn't going to go away.
[In 2010], Denver Bike to Work Day drew out some 30,000 riders, and this year's event (coming up on June 22) is expected to attract even more -- meaning the only question is, in the immortal words of Rodney King, "why can't we all just get along?" Answer: because a lot of people are being real dickheads about it.
As a daily bike commuter myself, I tend to sympathize with the terrifying, irritating and sometimes just downright confusing situations bicyclists get put into every day -- but I also own a car and drive in the city, so I'm well familiar with how annoying bicyclist's frequent habits can be on the other end. So in the interest of fostering a community of peace and empathy where riders and drivers alike can hold hands and sing songs about harmony and shit, here are a few guidelines for cooperative behavior that people need to start observing immediately, whether their vehicle has two wheels or four.
Use your turn signal
This thing has an excellent use!
Here's the thing: When I am riding a bike, I'm not occupying an actual lane of traffic; rather, have a few feet of lateral space toward the side of the road. What that means is that, when you're turning right, you're crossing directly into my path. The moral: I really need to know if you're about to turn right. It is imperative. It's nice to know if you're turning left or going straight, too, so I can avoid having to adjust my trajectory.
Don't wantonly run red lights/stop signs
But let's be honest: When you're stopped at an intersection and I'm coming up on your right, there's a good chance I'm doing that because I'm about to run a red light or a stop sign. And it's totally a bullshit habit, I know. There's nothing more nerve-wracking for me as a driver than having a dude on a bike dart out in front of me, so please: I know we don't want to lose that precious momentum and everything, but let's all agree that blowing red lights -- even on a bike -- is bad.
Continue for more ways not to be a dickhead on Bike to Work Day.