Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Note to the Inconsiderate Cyclist

You know who you are.   I was riding home this evening from Annapolis after the sailing races were called with no wind.  It was right at dusk.  I was equipped with lights, helmet and reflective ankle bands, frustrated that I'd forgotten my vest.

As I turned NE on King George St. riding with traffic, I saw you on the opposite sidewalk traveling in the same direction.  No lights and no reflective gear (did I mention it was at dusk?).  As we crossed College Creek you chased two joggers in to the travel lane and scared the heck out of a family fishing from the bridge, yelling for them to clear a path for you.  Did you notice that sidewalk is barely wide enough for one pedestrian? Are you aware it's illegal to ride a bike on a sidewalk unless it's specifically marked as a bike lane?

I suggest you join me in the street.  "There's no turnout lane and I don't want to get run over." you responded.  I'm sure the pedestrians you nearly mowed down felt the same way about you.  As we turned on to MD 450 towards Naval Academy Bridge we spoke briefly.  You complained that Annapolis was not a bike friendly city and told me a story about a cyclist ticketed in NYC for not using a blocked bike lane. Yes I saw that story,  but I'm not sure how it's relevant to our situation in Annapolis. I've never been harassed by police while riding in Annapolis and in fact have found them quite helpful on occasion.

You weren't done yet were you? Crossing over to the southbound shoulder on MD 450 to ride North all the way to Boulters Way.  I couldn't see well.  The light was fading and you were four lanes and a median away form me as we rode the same direction.  So I'm not sure if you terrorized any more joggers, or startled anyone pulling out of a driveway not expecting traffic in that direction.  But both are real risks with that stunt.  Did I mention you had no lights as it got dark? What do you think are the odds a driver pulling out of a driveway would expect an unlit bike in that shoulder?

Buddy - the problem is not with Annapolis streets.  Plenty of us get around on them by bike just fine.  You're not a friendly biker.  You were a menace this evening.  Those joggers and the fishing family likely all drive cars.  When they next encounter a cyclist while driving, I'm sure they'll remember you.  That's bad for all of us on two wheels. 

So now I'm going to ask you to consider one of two options.  If you'd like to find some friends to ride with and are willing to learn a little about the sport, please look us up at www.severnaparkpeloton.org.  But if whining about Annapolis streets and New York cops is the best you've got, then please sell your bike on Craigslist.org, NOW.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike
    I live in York England and have followed your blog going back a little. My daughter and her husband live in New Jersey. Each year we come over for a holiday and this year we went to Annapolis / Washington for the weekend before we came home. I really liked the city and saw lots of cyclists. It was nice to see some of the places you mention. College Creek, the Naval Accadamy bridge, the Hard Bean coffee shop. The weather at the begining of June was very hot as I am sure you know, so the little bit of cycling I did whilst over there was nice, as the spring weather in the UK has been poor.

    ReplyDelete