Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Haters on Parade

Ah, springtime. There’s nothing quite like April showers, chirping birds, and lame ‘exposes’ by local news channels on scofflaw bicyclists.

More troubling than the pure gooey grah of such exposes is the viewer feedback on such hard-hitting journalistic glories. Skimming the comments, we have the usual cast of characters:

  • Cyclists don’t pay for roads and facilities and should show more gratitude to all those people who do pay for them by using them and staying out of the way. I’ve commented on this previously. Hey, the 7 bikes in our garage weren’t free, and we didn’t steal them either.
  • Related silliness: It would be so much safer if we had mandatory sidepath rules or allowed sidewalk riding. (Note: commenter doesn’t call it a mandatory sidepath rule, but that’s what a cycling advocate would call several of the commenter proposals).
  • Usual insertion of rants that cyclists ‘obstruct’ vehicular traffic. Bicycles ARE vehicles under state code! The interpretation being given by the intrepid commenter on said statute is that even when following the rules, bicycles impede traffic and thus are in violation of 169.222, section 4c.

There are a number of quality comments, such as the observation that Minneapolis bicycle paths are 10mph zones (and in mostly dreadful shape), and pointing out that while ignoring signals is both illegal and dumb, use of a lane and use of a road is fully legal in Minnesota. Even some of the cyclists, though, are espousing the bicycle as chiefly a toy that should be used in ‘play areas’ (aka paths), rather than considering steps towards traffic calming and vehicular cycling.

Many League Cycling Instructors discuss the need not just for cyclist education, but for better education for ALL road users. Comments like the ones on the ‘news’ story cited above emphasize it. The only question I have is if there’s an openness to learning, or if an attempt to teach will just drive these people to further bile?

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

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