Rudeness

I ride my bike just about every day. I have a 9 to 5 job downtown, so I usually ride during rush hour. I share the road with cars and bikes. Everyone is in a rush and often impatient. I understand, as I don’t like to waste time on my commute. Somehow, I am continually amazed at how rude and thoughtless other cyclists are. It is true that pedestrians and motorists do their share of uncool things, but for the purposes of this rant, I think that I will focus on the lazy selfishness of other cyclists.

My daily commute follows a multi-use path that runs along the river. Most of the traffic is cyclists, but there are often a fair amount of walkers and runners. Much of the time, the everyone is fairly well behaved, with slower users keeping to the right and faster traffic overtaking on the left. The path varies in width and sometimes, when I want to pass someone, I might have to pause to allow someone coming from the opposite direction to pass. Sadly I often see cyclists make unsafe passes, buzzing between other cyclists or walkers, passing within inches simply because they are too impatient to wait for a reasonable opening.

This is one of those discourtesies that really confounds me. Cyclists often complain that motorists pass too close or crowd them, but nearly every day, I see cyclists doing the same thing to pedestrians. Sadly, I see it all through my ride. Cyclists pass dangerously on the bridges, pushing their way past. They weave between cars on the streets, dash past the painted lines and running lights.

There is this rudeness, as if many cyclists can’t be bothered to follow the traffic laws or be courteous to other road users. I suspect that many of these people behave the same way when they drive. For some cyclists, I think that they are simply lazy. It’s easier to roll through a stop sign than it is to come to a complete stop and then start up again. It is easier to skim past another person with barely any room to spare than it is to pass cautiously with adequate spacing. Sometimes it is just their selfishness, a cyclist doesn’t want to have to slow down for someone else, or maybe it is some kind of dominance game where they need to assert that they are stronger, faster riders.

I understand some of this. I’ve been a selfish jerk before. It is easy to ignore everyone else and pretend that they don’t matter. I’m out there every day, and I get annoyed by slow pokes that get in my way. On the other had, I’ve seen cyclists fall into the road because another cyclist made an aggressive pass. I’ve seen people have to push strollers out into traffic to get around cyclists who are blocking the crosswalk.

Now, I will admit that I’m a bit of a jerk myself. I have a tendency to yell at other cyclists when they run stop signs. When I am stopped at an intersection and they blow past me, I congratulate them on running that light or sign. Sometimes they turn around and give the ‘wanna make something of it’ face. I’ve actually been told to mind my own business. I guess it is none of my business when I see people that break the law. I guess that as long as there is no ‘victim’ then it doesn’t matter what you do.

That is a sad, selfish opinion. It’s not so hard to be courteous. It really isn’t that difficult to obey the traffic laws. It doesn’t even take that that much work to stop being rude. I promise that if you stop running stops, I’ll stop yelling at you for it.

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