If you're new to Cycling-Through, please take a second and read some of the "Posts of note" in the list to the right. Then, if you see others that you appreciate enough to recommend for that list, let me know.
Also, please feel free to comment - even anonymously if you must.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sharing the Road

Here I am back on this topic again...

I followed a cyclist the other day as I was in my truck heading toward home. A few turns before I was to get on the highway, he cut across in front of me, ran a stop sign, and crossed the intersection in front of 2 waiting cars making a sweeping left turn the direction I was planning on going.

He was not what a lady at my church refers to as a "neon spandex" type cyclist. This was your typical commuter, though obviously very familiar with his ride, and visibly strong.

Well, being timid like I am (sounds of clearing throat inserted here), I caught him after he had blown through the second stop sign (this time at least there were no cars waiting) and rolled down the passenger side window to chat with him.

"I'm a cyclist," I started. He slowed and actually recognized my presence and allowed me to go on. He was a little taken aback.
"It's hard for us to get any respect from cars out here," I went on, knowingly dumping on "cars" since I was driving a 3/4 ton pickup, and owning no other "car," just the SUV that my wife drives. He continued to listen.
"I just watched you blow those 2 stop signs back there... You gotta help us out. Cars hate us." (Speaking with a bit of hyperbole) "When you do stuff like that it doesn't make it any better."

At this point I waited for a tirade, flowery language, and other verbal abuse. I agree, it really wasn't my place to reprimand him, so I was willing to take whatever came. I was in the distinct advantage though, and could move out of a bad situation much easier than if the tables were turned.

He looked at me a second, and then in a humble and kind tone he said "I hear ya." and indicated that he understood my drift. I said "ride safe," and "have a nice day," and drove on bedazzled by a glint of courtesy and common sense.

Thanks dude. Whoever you are, you made my day.

But, the more I think on this, the more I realize that there is a much bigger issue here. Isn't it really more about common courtesy? None of us owns the road entirely - though I gladly accept my portion of it by means of my gracious donations to our civic and federal coffers. We are all surviving our daily commute because others are at least acquiescing to a minimal understanding of an established code of conduct. Staying in a lane, or coming to some resemblance of a stop are all essential parts of moving along the roadways in harmony. However, it's a desire to go beyond the minimums that can make the experience more enjoyable.

Sharing the road can literally mean giving way to another who may be infringing on your virtual mobile personal space - and not blare the horn. Some may not realize this, but in the process, you don't have to say nasty things, or even think nasty things. You can actually wish them a good day and pray for their safety on their erratic journey. And yes, I realize that this even applies to me while cycling, relating to the jerk - uh - gentleman that just tried to brush me with his mirror.

We all can be a lot more understanding and a little less irritable. A little more amicable and lot less frustrated.

Have a Happy Commute!
I will!