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Dear person who honked at me:

Look, a car horn isn't really the best communication medium there is. I guess we could try morse code, or set phrases like the general 10-codes, but outside of that I don't really know what you're trying to tell me. Of course, I have some guesses.

Maybe you're trying to tell me that you think I should be on the sidewalk. Funny thing is, that's actually illegal in a lot of places. Bicycles are considered vehicles and as such, we're supposed to be in the street. And moreso, people like me who regularly commute via bicycle tend to cruise along at 20+ mph when we get going. I don't want to collide with a child or a family pet when going that kind of speed. It wouldn't end well for anyone.

So nothing personal, but I don't know you well enough to be willing to break the law for you, grievously injure someone's kid, or put myself in the hospital.

Maybe you're trying to share with me that you're really annoyed there's a bottleneck where cars can't go zooming around me, an I'm impeding your progress by up to thirty seconds. You'll have to forgive me if I don't have much sympathy for that. You can make up time a lot better than I can with just my quads and a couple of wheels to power me along.

Maybe you're trying to tell me that you saw another cyclist do Terribly Assholish Thing X, and you now hate all cyclists. Look, I'm sorry that someone was a jerk to you, but that doesn't mean I'm a jerk or deserve to be punished for their mistakes. When I was little, a dog bit me on the face. I still have a scar. But you don't see me going around and being mean to every dog I meet because I got the crap scared out of me once.

Maybe you're trying to tell me that you don't want to share the road with me. Tough shit, it's my road too.

Maybe you're trying to share the important information that your car is equipped with a horn. Well, that's nice to know. Good for you.

But this is the thing. When you honk at me, I can't hear any of that nuance. All I get out of it is: Just wanted you to know, I'm an asshole.

Hope that's what you were trying to convey.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
idemandjustice
Aug. 18th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
You know, I really appreciate bicyclists like you who actually follow the rules, who ride along with traffic, stopping at stop signs, using hand signals for turning, etc. I cannot agree with you more. They need to stay off the side walk because it's dangerous for the cyclist and the pedestrians. And, as the person usually driving the car, it frustrates the hell out of me when I see someone riding a bicycle on the side walk. Or, even worse, on the road but against traffic. I kinda think motorists and cyclists alike would really benefit from some massive education on the rules.

So, anyway, thank you for being awesome.
katsudon
Aug. 19th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
I think it's terribly dangerous for cyclists (particularly ones on road bikes) to be on the sidewalk. Maybe not if you're going like 5 mph, but even then it's really easy to get into an accident if someone darts out in front of you, which little kids and animals tend to do. But I do sympathize with being afraid of being in the street in certain areas... I've had people try to run me off the road and such before. Drivers really need to be more responsive and less aggressive. Someone did run my brother off the road once and he ended up having to get five stitches in his chin because of the accident it caused.

I am just MYSTIFIED by cyclists riding against traffic in the street. I think it must be a latent suicidal urge.
gookachu
Aug. 21st, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
i don't think bicyclists belong on the streets. if you can't go the speed of traffic, you shouldn't be there. mopeds can't go on roads that have a speed limit higher than 40mph, why should bicyclists be allowed to?

furthermore, even though i've never seen you bike, i've _never_ in my entire life, seen a bicyclist obey any traffic law. they go through redlights, don't stop at stop signs, weave in and out of traffic. especially in the DTC during rush hour in the morning, they're a bloody menace. i've seen more accidents caused by bicyclists acting like assholes than i've ever seen with just cars.

if there's a bike path, they should be on the bike path. the DTC is full of bike paths. they don't belong on the roads.

and, as for why ppl bike against traffic, that's what we were taught at children. that law didn't change until was an adult, in the early 90's. until then, if you didn't have a bike path or sidewalk, you rode against traffic so cars could see you.
katsudon
Aug. 21st, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Funny, all the people I bike with here obey traffic laws. That's not really much of an argument for banishing people from the road, because then there shouldn't be cars on the roads either. :P

You're not going to get any agreement from me for this. I use bike paths whenever I can, but sometimes streets are still better because the damn pedestrians take over the bike paths. (Or because there isn't a good route, which is often the problem in Houston.)
gookachu
Aug. 21st, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
cars get pulled for not going the speed of traffic, yet bicyclists don't. cars get pulled for running red lights (i know, for having been ticketed), yet bicyclists don't. cars get ticketed for tailgating, aggressive driving, running stop signs, yet bicyclists _never_do_. i've watched cops ignore bicyclists blow through red lights on the DTC blvd/ulster intersection too many times to count.

there's a stupid law in boulder that says cars have to give bicyclists 3' of lee-way, but bicyclists don't have to do that on bike paths with pedestrians?

if pedestrians hog the bike path, slow down, ask them to move, and then get ahead of them when they move aside, or when there's space. should cars take over sidewalks and bike paths cos bicyclists are hogging the roads?

bicyclists demand, and get, special treatment. end of story. they get their cake, and eat it too, and then spit it back on drivers, as they speed through red-lights, giving us the bird and laughing at us.

(if you don't believe me, hang out some time at the intersection of ulster & DTC boulevard. it's a daily occurrence.)
katsudon
Aug. 21st, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
There isn't three feet of leeway on most bike paths.

If bicycles hog the road, slow down, then get ahead of them when they move aside or when there's space.

Sorry the cyclists are assholes in the DTC. That doesn't mean I have no right to be on the road.
texasfanboy
Aug. 20th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
In Texas, bicycles on the sidewalk are illegal. No exceptions.

Houston drivers will sit on their horns until you do what they want you to do, even if your plan was to go in a different direction. Real-life examples that I experienced in my 6 years as a Houston driver:
1) Kirby Lane at Hwy 59. I'm planning to pass under 59 and turn right half a block beyond the light, so I'm in the right hand lane in the red light at the access road. Car behind me sits on his horn, motioning that it's clear to turn....except I'm not turning AT the light, I'm turning onto a side street AFTER.

2) On any highway (this has happened multiple times), in the right hand lane (which is where you're supposed to be if you don't plan on driving beyond the speed limit), car zooms up behind me, going at least 20 over. The left lane is completely clear of traffic. Does he use that lane (appropriately called "the passing lane") to pass me? No, he rides my bumper and sits on his horn.

6 years of driving in Houston made me an incredibly safe driver. If you can survive five years of commuting to school/work on Highway 59, you could navigate the apocalypse with ease.
katsudon
Aug. 20th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I feel like if I survived here on a bicycle, nothing can kill me.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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