Slightly omitted from yesterday’s post (I admit to being sorely distracted, haha) was an important safety message: be nice to bikers on the road.
In cities especially, many people have been yelling, swearing and honking at us. Just to clarify, the law in Michigan is that bikes have the same rights as motorcycles and cars. We stop at stop signs and traffic lights and use hand signals to indicate turns. But there’s a reason that I don’t ride on sidewalks, and that’s because they’re a safety hazard.
Think about this: when you’re driving, and considering making a turn, you look at traffic. What you might not see is a biker 20 feet up the sidewalk that you could hit while turning. Also, as a biker I often can’t see up a perpendicular street. When someone comes from that street and stops blocking the sidewalk, I can’t rely on being able to stop fast enough to not plow onto a car waiting to turn or cross.
I know, you’d think riding in the road would be dangerous. And hell yeah it’s a little scary – that’s why I stay to the right and wear reflective clothing and hold my breath every time a semi truck goes by. But don’t be the asshole that yells or honks. We’ve been honked at on roads where a sidewalk wasn’t even available. We’ve had a whole row of cars shout reasons about how we should “get off the fucking road” even though there was a passing lane. And today we had a dude honk twice and then get out of his car to lecture us on what he thought was safe.
When I’ve been riding more than 50 miles with all safety and legal regulations in mind and you honk at me because it took 5 seconds out of your 10 minute car commute to yell at and pass me, I’m pissed. So be nice to those bikers (or even better, be one of them!).