I am a cyclist and I am a driver. I enjoy doing both.
When I drive, cyclists know that I’m a cyclist, too — not just because of the triathlon and USA Cycling stickers on my bumper, but because I pass other riders on the road slowly and give them much more than three feet of clearance when I do. They also know I’m a cyclist because when I see them breaking traffic laws or riding dangerously, I’ll offer some friendly advice about what they should be doing right — and yes, it’s “friendly,” because I’m not just a cyclist but a cycling coach, and I don’t want them to get hurt or reflect poorly on the rest of the cycling community. Sadly, I often (though not always) get a middle finger from them by way of answer.
When I’m on my bike, I ride as if my life depended on it — because it does. My head is on a swivel. My ears are tuned into the sounds of the road, not my iPod. I obey the laws of traffic (although I will roll through a stop sign, albeit slowly, if I don’t see any other cars standing at or approaching the intersection). I ride as if I’m operating a vehicle — because I am. Which means that yes, I’ll take the lane if no shoulder or bike lane is available because here in Maryland, where I live, bikes are required to do so. It’s the law. I ride with confidence in my skills, but with courtesy. Especially with courtesy. Because antagonizing motorists does nothing to promote goodwill on the roads — and it’s ultimately bad for one’s health.
I liked the writing in this essay, but I’m not so sure I agree with its sentiment.