I got a new bike this spring. Not the kind with a motor, I have no desire for one of those, but a pretty purple and yellow one with a basket on the front. I LOVE it. We only live two miles or so from the grocery store, and several places to eat, so, quite often the kids and I go get groceries on our bikes, and even more often Aussie and I ride to get milkshakes or a cup of coffee. I enjoy it. I think it is relaxing, it’s good exercise, it saves gas (even if it is just a bit).
We can avoid most the “big” roads by taking a round about way through the housing additions, three of them. Not much traffic, people who say hello and wave at us. The little traffic there is tends to give us plenty of room, and it is much appreciated. Unfortunately, there is about a quarter mile stretch that is on a fairly large road, with no shoulder. When the kids and I ride, we walk that section, down in the yards on the other side of the ditch. When Aussie and I ride (and I just found this out) he rides behind me, but off the the left a bit. I ride on what little shoulder there is, and he rides on the road. By doing this, it forces cars to slow down and wait for space to pass in the lane coming towards us, rather us both on the shoulder, and cars flying by, while almost hitting us with the mirror, if we’re lucky.
I grew up hearing my dad complain non-stop about people not riding single file, how stupid it was, etc. All of a sudden, I understood why they did it. So, I decided to try to explain this to my dad, you would think I would have learned by now. But no, apparently I am a glutton for punishment. (Off topic, I goggled “glutton for punishment, and one of the top 5 pics was a cartoon pic, of a guy with green hair sucking a girl’s toes. I am confused as to how this applies. I almost wanted to click and see if I was missing something, but, I really don’t want my boyfriend to come home and in the history find anime porn.) Anyway, back on topic, I explain this, and he says “if there isn’t room for a car to pass you, then you shouldn’t be riding. If there is no sidewalk for you, then it’s your own fault.” I explain, that technically bikes are not supposed to be on the sidewalk, they are considered vehicles. He says that is stupid and he doesn’t care, bikes need to stay off the road. I try to explain again, he shouts “Fine, but if I hit you because you’re an idiot, it’s your own damn fault. Maybe you’ll learn your lesson.” My father is a very empathetic individual, as you can see. He goes on to tell me that there is no reason to ride my bike when I have a perfectly good truck in the driveway. I’m annoyed at this point, and I tell him, first of all, being fat is dangerous as well, so, if I’m dying of something anyway, it may as well be trying to get healthy. Second, if he hits a bicyclist, and it is his negligence, he will be doing jail time. And, if the person on the bike is riding, on the road, in a straight line, in the correct lane, it will be the cars fault. (you know, that whole with great power comes great responsibility thing. You’re bigger, be careful, not a bully.) Third, Aussie and I pay taxes, for the roads, we get to use the roads, legally. And finally, unless your name is God or Officer Dad, it’s not your job to be teaching lessons.
My favorite part of this is that my dad rides a motorcycle. How would he like it if a car decided he needed to be on the shoulder, and tried to pass him in the same lane? how would he like a car to “teach him a lesson”? Google “Hate motorcycles” or, I’ll do it for you…https://www.google.com/search?aq=1&oq=hate+motor&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=hate+motorcyclists. It’s scary how people feel about them, I’m glad teaching people on motorcycles a lesson is illegal. Though it doesn’t stop them. Like this article:http://jalopnik.com/lane-splitting/ that talks about how people actively try to take out their anger on bikers. I bet my dad has a problem with THAT though.
Anyway, please share the road. Please, even if my dad can’t do it for real, pretend that that person you just passed is your kid, or someone you love. And please, don’t be so closed minded that no amount of logic can get into your imaginary “right way”. You don’t have to agree with everybody, but when you call your own kid an idiot and imply you’d stand at their funeral and say “she deserved it”…well, then, you’re a jerk.
Finally, this article is on topic, and I thought it was interesting. It’s basically talking about why all the hatred for people on bikes and how to change that (Spoiler…get more people on bikes!)http://grist.org/article/2011-02-24-why-do-people-in-cars-hate-people-on-bikes-so-much/