Wednesday, September 3

Cyclists That Annoy Me: Sidewalk Riders

With the high price of gasoline, and finally multiple consecutive days of nice weather, people are riding their bikes as much as possible, before it gets too cold. This is good--I like seeing people on bikes. The more people on bikes there are, the more drivers and everyone else are aware, which is safer for everyone. Mostly.

Every rider is like a critical mass of one, and they can either be conscientious and set a good example, or they can be a total ass-hat, being a danger to themselves and others on the road.

For Example:

I work as a doorman at the Red Door. My job mostly entails just standing outside the door on State Street, which is one of the last roads in downtown Portsmouth on the list to get redone with the nice wide brick sidewalks and such. That is to say, it has a narrow sidewalk--more than three people couldn't walk abreast.

To paint the scene, I'm standing there, outside the door, and I glance over to my right, up the street, with a sense of puzzlement bordering on alarm at the sound I hear coming towards me. Suddenly I see this dude come charging at me on his mountain bike. I'd estimate that he was going about 17 miles an hour. I was leaning against the wall, so I wasn't directly in his path. He blew right by me. I didn't have the presence of mind to body-check him off the bike, but man, that really pissed me off.

There's a bountifully wide two-lane one-way street with a nice, low speed limit of 20 less than ten feet away, and this jerk feels like it's a good idea to go bombing down the narrow sidewalk. A narrow sidewalk with a dozen businesses and people entering and leaving. Then there was the intersection about 30 feet to my left--a driver isn't going to expect anything to come off the sidewalk at that speed. An accident is almost assured. Not riding the sidewalk in a situation like this shouldn't even be common sense. It should be natural instinct.

dorky dangerous bicycle kid dork idiot riding on sidewalkAside from riding on the sidewalk like that being dangerous, it just looks stupid. you're not seven years old any more; why don't you ride in the street like a grown-up? Because, seriously, you look like a doofus. It's cyclists like these annoy the heck out of me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you want the rights, you need to accept the responsibilities of being a cyclist. There's no license, no written test, no three-week educational course--the only requirement for riding a bike is to demonstrate your ability to balance using the gyroscopic effect of a bicycle in motion. But really--please use common sense, okay?

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