Don't get me wrong, I can't stand cars anymore than the next cyclist, but there are certain people in the cycling population that give us a bad name. I understand that there are different types of cyclists that fit different types of cycling environments. The following list pertains to the city environment:
1. The "hearing impaired" or as the guardian.co.uk refers to them as "zombie cyclists"
This type of cyclist chooses to turn off one of their senses. Usually it's their hearing. At least once a ride, I see a person with earphones and think to myself "that better be the best indie-rock song." What's scary about this is that there are a lot of cars that speed up when they don't see traffic. It's those cars that wont be able to stop in time if a "deaf" cyclist forgets to check before changing lanes/make turns. I've seen a lot of close-calls this summer, and the "hearing impaired" were involved in a lot of them.
2. "Red light runner"
I get it, you have to get to work/home. The last thing you want is to miss those "precious" moments of starting your day in a cubicle, or finish your day passing out on the couch while watching Simpsons reruns. Come on people, red means STOP. I don't care how good you are at timing traffic patterns. What if your bike completely breaks down in the middle of the road? Yeah, you got NOTHING!
3. "Lane jumpers"
"Oh no! The car in front of me stopped moving forward for some reason! Maybe I should suddenly change lanes...right...NOW!" At least, that's what it seems like they are thinking. These lane jumpers don't give much of a heads up to cars and other cyclists when they know they are changing lanes. I feel for them too! When you are cycling and you have a good rhythm, the idea of stopping because a car can't make up its mind is just unacceptable. But I'd rather get stuck behind a bad driver than get hit by one.
I'm no hater. I urge everyone who is able-bodied, to figure out a way to ride a bike to work instead of a car. Sometimes, the people who take the leap into cycling don't have the best bike, or aren't in the best shape to conquer the north-bound, (literally) up-hill battle on Charles Street. From the inner harbor, up until the Washington Monument, the street is very narrow and full of buses, end-of-day cubicle zombies, package delivery trucks, and happy hour pedestrians. Riding up the street at one-mile-an-hour will not make it any better. Please, just get off your bike, and walk it up the side walk. It's safer and, well, it's SAFER!!
I'll stop there before I piss off every Baltimore cyclist. Just in case I already did: I have, or still do, fit into each of these ;)
Hello Fall weather!