I tell people to ride their bikes like the vehicle it is by obeying the laws and taking their place in traffic. Their response is usually something along the lines of "I'm an experienced cyclist, and automobile drivers are mean to me. They honk at me, they crowd me off the road. It's too dangerous. I need my special space."
But my friends (and I) who ride in the way I describe seldom (if ever) have those experiences. Sure, we get honked at every now and then, but then so do the drivers of other vehicles. Life.
But for Bike To Work Month, I have a new suggestion. Drive your car on the streets the same way you ride your bike.
For me, that wouldn't be too different, but for the guy who recently complained "Dallas is bicycle-unfriendly because I got a ticket for running a stop sign at White Rock Lake" (true story), his trip to work "riding" his car the way he rides his bicycle might be something altogether different.
"Riding" your car the way you "drive" your bike, you could:
- Drive as close to the curb as possible,
- Stay out of the way of overtaking vehicles,
- Drive in the parking lane and on the shoulder of the roadway,
- Move in and out of traffic and parked cars,
- Make turns without signaling,
- Run stop signs and red lights if the intersection looks clear of on-coming traffic to you,
- Drive as if the laws that apply to other vehicles operators don't apply to you,
- Drive on the sidewalk at times, taking advantage of the ADA ramps at street crossings,
- Drive on the wrong side of the street when it suits you,
- Drive without lights at night.
So there's your dichotomy. Cyclists who drive their bicycles like vehicles have a far better (and safer) experience on the roadways than do people who ride their cars like their bicycles. You get what you ask for, but asking people to change their behavior is perhaps asking too much.
Especially when there is so much MagickPaint™ available.