Rant time. I love that there are many more cyclists now that the weather has turned, and it’s great to see that cycling is becoming more widespread and popular. But… Every time this part of the year rolls around, cyclists and pedestrians that have been hibernating all winter come out in droves. I do have a bone to pick with some of them.
· Take the complete car lane when passing. If you’re going so fast that you need to pass me, good for you for being strong and light and swift, but this isn’t a velodrome — these are the streets of Cambridge. Don’t pass me with inches to spare. What if I signal that I’m turning? Or dodge a pothole? Take the car lane, you can do it! It’s far safer, and when we crash, my steel juggernaut will fare better than your crabon fiber road frame. Especially don’t pass BETWEEN me and a car. There’s not enough room for all three of us to ride abreast on Hampshire Street.
· I’ve been contemplating mounting a bottle of tri-flow on my handlebars for quick access. You’ll have an easier time mashing your way around the city with a little lubrication on that chain.
· Hand signals go a long way towards communicating your intentions.
· Helmets do not look cool when they are too small, worn too far back, canted at an odd angle or the straps are unbuckled. Just take it off if you don’t want to wear it. Wearing it properly makes you safer in an accident. Wearing it improperly means that, in an accident, it either does nothing, becomes a projectile, or gets tangled up in something that can drag you around by your head.
· Yes, lots of cyclists are running red lights. I’m not, so don’t nudge me out of the way to pass when I’m stopped. Or push my arm aside so that you can run the red. And if you’re running the red, and I have a green, yield. But hey, if you’re running the red, why should any other traffic laws or common courtesy apply?
· There are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots.
· The painted ideogram of a cyclist with a circle and a line through it on the sidewalk means ‘no cycling’.
· The sidewalk is more dangerous to ride on than the street. I know that you are concerned for your child’s safety. They really are safer in the bicycle lane, with you guiding them, than on the sidewalk with pedestrians walking out of shops. That’s counterintuitive but that doesn’t make it untrue. Teaching them safe cycling habits will prepare them for a lifetime of riding safely.
· The bicycle lane is a separate traffic lane than the car lane. Treat it like one. That means, motorized bicycles and other cyclists, that you should be signaling lane changes. Cars, please pull all the way to the right when waiting to turn right at a red — even if that means blocking the bike lane. You can cross the bike lane when you’re turning. This will discourage cyclists who don’t know any better to avoid trying to pass on your right as you turn.