09 January 2010

A Message to My Bicycling Friends

Three cheers for our fellow citizens who commute and run errands on bicycles! They are not only helping keep their own bodies hale and hearty but they are vastly reducing their own carbon footprints. Like people who walk places and take public transportation, bicyclists are urban heroes.

But I feel compelled to address my two wheeled friends on several issues of importance. These by no means apply to all cyclists. Indeed the majority of bikers show common sense and courtesy when pedaling. This is to the others.

Small children and the riding of your bike are mutually exclusive. The safety of your child comes first. I've seen some (I'm going to go ahead and use the "i" word) idiots who ride their bikes down busy streets pulling their small tots in little carriages. For protection the child wears a helmet. Yeah, that ought keep 'em safe if a car swerves their way. One wonders if Child Protective Services shouldn't be involved in such cases.

Almost as frightening is the bike-riding parent who has their wee one on a little seat right behind them. Again, the vulnerability of that child is spine tingling and not in a good watching-a-scary-movie type of way. More in the oh-my-God-what-if-there's-an- accident way.

Next we come to those cyclists who don't feel the rules of the road apply to them. Perhaps flushed with pride at their contribution to reducing greenhouse gasses, they feel entitled to flout the rules of the road. Red lights, stop signs? Those are for cars, they seem to reason. Why some even ride against traffic. Be careful, be safe and be sensible. You're to be applauded but not to be given exemption from traffic laws.

Lastly we come to my pet peeve. Those morons who ride their bikes on sidewalks. Please note the name: sideWALK. You have no more of right to ride your bike on walkways than a car does. If you're on wheels you belong on the street, can't have it both ways. Sidewalks are the sole province of people on foot. You can't imperil pedestrians by zipping along sidewalks. And the next time one of you on your bike is behind me and impatiently tries to get me out of your way, I'm going to foreswear my prohibition on violence and wallop you.

I conclude by reiterating that we all owe a debt to those who choose to bicycle rather than motor. It's a shame a few dolts give you lot a bad name.

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