Dear Mr. Car, Please Don’t Kill Me.
So I get it. We’re all in a hurry these days. Gotta get to work. Gotta get the kids to school. Gotta read that latest text message. Gotta buzz that annoying cyclist and show her who’s boss.
Yeah, I was with you until you started playing with your phone. And scaring the living daylights out of me for sport. That part sucked.
So let’s talk, and let’s get real on both sides, because I really feel like we can make our relationship work. Cars and bikes could totally get along, be friends even. We’ve just gotta put it all out on the table. So here goes.
Let’s start by stating the obvious. Bicycles aren’t bad. I realize the whole spandex thing is a little goofy to non-riders. We wear funny socks. Lance Armstrong was a turd. But let’s put all that stuff aside. Cyclists are really, truly some of the coolest folks, and you’ve gotta think of the person not the spandex. We’re parents. We’re newlyweds. We’re college kids. We’re statistically very proactively involved in our communities. We’re people, just like you, trying to stay healthy, enjoying these amazing Lancaster County roads we’re lucky enough to live on, and we really want to get home to our families. So see us. Relate to us. Give us a four-foot cushion when you’re passing us, and if we’re really offending you, ask yourself why. Then give yourself a good, long pep talk about how funneling your anger onto us really won’t solve anything.
And to the guy in the Lincoln who buzzes me at 60mph every time I ride Peters Road in the morning – you, sir, are a very small man. So. Small. To the woman who came right at me the other day because she was so busy texting she had no idea she’d crossed the center lane. Shame on you. And for the cyclist who texts when he’s the driver. No words. Seriously? And the guy who hit Chris Froome the other day…I mean. Whaaaaaaa?
Okay, I got a little heated there for a second, but I’m calming down now. I have another point I’d like to make.
Cyclists, a few of you are bad apples. Stop making it rotten for the rest of us.
At one point in my life I was a runner. During this dark time in my life I might have made fun of cyclists a bit. And this ridicule may have been born from bad experiences. I never wanted to run over a cyclist, but a few times a cyclist almost made me a murderer. Like when a cyclist blew through a stop sign and almost into my old, glamorous Toyota minivan. Or when a group was riding in the middle of the road and was totally uninterested in letting me get passed, even in the opposite lane. That stuff is uncool and if we want the respect of cars, we’ve gotta give them respect, too. Please stop.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Cars aren’t all bad. Not at all. Not by a long shot. So many awesome drivers give me tons of space when passing. So many give me a wave and make sure I can safely cross an intersection before they head across. So many stop when they see a cyclist down and do everything they can to help out. And doesn’t it feel good when you get that space as a rider? Or when, as a driver, a cyclist gives you a wave of appreciation?
It feels awesome to be kind. I know, I know, I sound like the mom I am right now. But here’s the one simple truth about life I hope my children learn sooner than later. It might take a bit of effort to do the right thing, but man it makes for a happier life. It might not be the fastest way. It might mean waiting a few seconds to pass a rider so I can give her the cushion she deserves. It might mean not bombing through an intersection on my bike so I can get that Strava QOM. But if I wait those few seconds, it won’t keep me up at night. I won’t regret being safer on my bike. But being dead would suck. Killing someone would suck even harder.
So let’s just agree to be the good guys, on four wheels and two. Cause the thing is, neither of us are going anywhere. And here’s what I hope everyone will realize. More bikes on the road is a win for humankind. Bikes mean healthy people. Bikes mean clean air. I’m just gonna go right ahead and say the world would be a better place if more people rode bikes, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Not even a little.