If you’re sick of traffic, support bicycling

Thanks to Bike Fed member and guest blogger Dan Tyler for this post. Dan has his own blog Tri Therapy  and has published a book by the same title.

 

No, Dan does not compete in triathlons in a tie, but he does bike to work in one on occasion.

If you don’t like being stuck in traffic, support bicycling.

If you don’t like long lines of cars waiting in a traffic jam, don’t worry that a few bicyclists go by on the shoulder to the front of the line – otherwise we’d be in cars, in front of you, and you’d be farther back in a longer line.

If you don’t like to ride a bike, no problem. You don’t have to. Don’t worry, cars aren’t going away and neither are roads; they’re in American DNA. (I have a car, too; I know what it’s like to drive, from 18 years of practice.)

The more bicycle lanes and paths that get built, the more we can ride in one space and you can drive in another. If you get frustrated when someone bikes in front of you, support bicycle infrastructure.

If you want more gas for your car – and if you think that gas prices are related to supply and demand – support bicycling. If I can get places without using any, there will be more for you.

If you want lower health care bills, support the people who are working on their healthy lifestyles.

If you like clean air, support the people who go out of their way to emit less than their fair share of carbon emissions. If you like quiet, support the people who move silently along the streets. If you like neighborhood cohesion, say “hi” to a bicyclist as they pass – they can hear you and say “hi” back.

Even a simple bike crash can be serious, so I’m careful. I use my ears and my wide range of vision – sensory advantages over using the car – and I’m not on the phone, listening to the radio, or texting. If a car crashes into me, I could be killed, so I try very hard to avoid crashes. If I crash into a car, the driver is almost completely immune. Even if a bicyclist sometimes seems like a nuisance, they’re seldom a threat.

Before you stereotype bicyclists, please don’t forget that some folks in their cars cut others off, honk horns, drive drunk, rev engines, blare music, and act annoying at best and deadly at worst. It’s not bicyclists who are mean, or drivers, it’s mean people.

Some bicyclists aren’t polite, don’t ride legally, and make a bad name for everyone on two wheels. I regret that. People in your community are working hard to make that better. If you consider yourself a good driver and you want other drivers to be safer, are you volunteering to help teach safe, considerate driving? Because I do that with fellow bicyclists.

If you don’t like the wasted time, the noise, or the smell of traffic, please support those of us who bust our butts trying to make it better.

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