There has been a good deal of interesting talk going around since a local TV station did a piece on cyclists blatantly breaking traffic laws. Video showed them running stops signs, flying, through red lights, etc. A few of the cyclists who they tried to interview were somewhat obnoxious in their own right. Also, apparently several local groups were asked to be interviewed, but all declined.
Now, I will admit that the story was one sided and really made no mention of some of the things that motorists due to disrespect cyclists such as driving while distracted (just about everyone driving while talking on their "F" ing cellphone), yelling and cussing out the window, throwing things such as beer bottles, cutting cyclists off when making right hand turns, purposefully brushing by us on the road as to say "I wonder how close I have to get to really scare the shit out of this lycra wearing cyclist?" I think it's only fair that the local news show the other side of the story.
To be fair, I have to say that I have seen both sides of the coin. Last year I was nearly killed by a semi on county road 19 near Baker Park. I was riding off on the shoulder at the time. I've had beer bottles tossed at me up on the Iron Range. Two years ago, some fat ugly lady in her piece of shit van, who by the way was not even on my side of the road, but traveling in the opposite direction. She yells to me to "Get your skinny ass off the "F"ing road!" I was dumbfounded and pissed. I actually did another lap around Medicine Lake looking for this piece of shit van so I could kick out the "F"ing headlights. Our group has had riders struck with beer bottles resulting in fractured ribs, and one take down by a hit and run motorist resulting in a slight concussion and cracked helmet. With that being said, I also want to state that cyclists are not immune to traffic laws. There are places to ride fast and crazy, like a good stretch of single-track. Not on the multi use trails or city streets. Believe me, I've seen cyclists do some pretty stupid things that would piss off any motorist including myself. Like the stupid ass kid on the mountain bike who felt it was a good idea to play dodge car through one of the busiest intersections in Maple Grove. I'm willing to bet there were people in cars and on the patio of GC Brewery hoping this idiot would go down, myself included. Two words came to mind, "SF".
Last summer we were on a Wed. evening ride out MG Cycle. It was a beautiful evening, riding was great. We heading south to ride the Baker Park hills when a large, shiny, black Tahoe pulled up behind us. Now, we were riding two abreast, but this guy had plenty of room and there was no traffic coming the other way. He pulls along side us yells then cuts us off and hits his breaks. We were all pissed off. Two of the riders with us decided it was a good idea to exchange words and gestures with this guy in the large black Tahoe that weighed several thousand pounds. All I'm thinking is how stupid these guys were being. My thought was, "You're on an 18 pound bike and he is in a Tahoe. Who wins this battle?" There are motorists out there who think cyclists could make for a decorative hood ornament or stylish grill decoration. Why would you want to piss them off? We all need to follow the rules of the road and use some common sense. To motorists who think the road is purely for them...Bullshit! Check the laws. We have just as much right to the roads as you do. We are entitled to the right hand side of a traffic lane and you have to respect that whether you like it or not. Get off your "F" ing cell phone and pay attention to what the hell you're doing. You will eventually kill someone. Also, slow the "F" down and that goes for cyclists too. I've been out on city trails to have some ass on a bike fly by without warning. Cyclists need to make sure they are using good etiquette while riding the trails and I have seen many who do not.
Now, there is one more matter. "Critical Mass" two words "SF". It's America and we have a right to speak our mind and protest or whatever floats your boat. Critical Mass...wonderful concept, good idea, get the word out. However, your presentation sucks and it is totally misguided. All the Critical Mass group is succeeding in doing is pissing off more motorists while they get their picture on the local news. The last thing we cyclists need is more pissed off people in automobiles.
Enough said, time to walk the dog and get to work. Have a great day and be safe.
Nigity - "Always keep a smile in your heart."