I was almost run over by four bicycles this morning going to class.
This means only one thing.
Bicyclers should be banned from walkways. Or have to get a license. Or have speed limits. These incidents occurred in a single day. On average, I’ve almost been hit by bikes about… 0.669 times per day. That’s just me alone. If we’re counting people who I’ve observed almost/actually get hit by bikes, it becomes about 1.04.
What is really nasty is that they don’t kill you. At least when a bus or a car hits you, you die or get so horribly injured you separate from it all. Most of the time, anyway. With a bike, it’s more like a maiming. The bicyclers get pissed at you, of all people, because you broke his bike and injured him! How dare you! As your lungs are filling with blood due to the recent impaling by spokes, they’ll stand over you with their broken humerus indignant that you dare walk on a walkway!
They’re real jerks, too. They weave between cars on major throughways, acting smug due to a combination of their pluck in accelerating to twenty miles per hour (convert to metric) and a sense of disdain for those motorists polluting our precious atmosphere. In reality they’re a pain in the ass because traffic is sometimes brought to a crawl as they yield right of way to some slow cyclers who can’t seem to figure out where the dedicated bike lane is. And again, when they get smashed by a car, they are absolved of all sins despite clearly asking for it and in the chance they survive they sue the driver for not stopping on a dime because the cyclist swerved in front of him. Jerks.
Speaking of their smugness, I loathe it. “I’m holier than thou because I am riding a non-carbon emitting vehicle,” they will proclaim to you, the disinterested party, despite the fact that the rider him/herself is exhaling carbon, the iPod that is a permanent fixture in their eyes sucks up electricity from a coal burning power plant, and the steel used to manufacture the frames, bearings, and gears of their bicycle were made in some atmosphere destroying mill in China (they claim all bikes are ‘Made in the USA’, but what they probably mean is ‘some guy assembled the thing after all the parts were crafted and shipped from India’ thus they can claim it was made here when actually it was all but completed overseas). I’m not saying that automobiles get a free pass as they wreak much more havoc, but at least they don’t claim they are ‘saving the earth’ by ‘not using as much gasoline/diesel as a SUV.
What to do? If they won’t be responsible riders (and they’re damn lucky, they don’t have to apply for a bicycle license and learn all those silly regulations that are beneath cyclists), then they’re banned from at least walkways and major arterials. Since they’re tricky devils, we’ll have to lay spike strips along foot paths to shred their tires, and obstacles that only pedestrians can get through. Grassy areas will be loaded with pits that won’t obstacle the regular passerby, but get a bicycle stuck by being just steep and narrow enough to prevent escape. Dedicated bicycle parks will be made for those who truly won’t quit, and no one’s stopping them from riding around their local streets, just not on public walkways and major highways and roads. So no riding full bore down Chestnut Street and expect cars, buses, and pedestrians to get out of your way (and, as I’ve seen, have the ability to run red lights and stop signs).