There are few things I truly enjoy in life, things that warm my heart and make me smile from ear to ear, things like hot oatmeal and coffee, cell coverage in San Francisco, back scratches and not dying. If I didn’t commute every single day on my bicycle, I’d likely put “bike riding” on the list too but it’s hard to be ecstatic about something you start and finish every workday with (except for maybe some recreational yelling). For about 25 minutes every morning and 25 minutes every night, I’m a cyclist in San Francisco, nothing terribly unique, I am one of many cyclists in the city during rush hour and I have been noticing some things lately.
First of all, let me address my fellow cyclists. Some of you (you hopefully know who you are) are unadulterated, complete fucking-assholes. I understand that you don’t need a license to ride a bicycle but you still have to obey the rules of the road. Among other things this means you should be courteous to those you’re sharing the road with which includes:
- Using hand signals
- Yielding (you can use the dictionary on the iPhone that you’re pulling out at intersections to look up what that word means). Despite the ironic t-shirt you’re wearing underneath your hoodie, you are not “King of the World”.
- Riding on streets safe for bicycle use. I know you love to ride down Oak St. and Van Ness in rush hour but it does nothing but piss drivers off. There are typically less trafficked streets adjacent to busy streets which are preferred for cyclist use (such as Page and Market St.).
- Stopping at stop lights. I’m sure Gavin and the SFPD have given you an exemption from basic traffic laws but the drivers coming into the intersection don’t know that. You are making things dangerous for everybody around you on the road; stop it.
Given the hours I work, I’m typically riding home in the dark, where I’ve noticed a group of people who don’t share the same love of “not dying” as I do. I’m going to call them the “Suicide Cyclists.” This group of morons never cease to disappoint, without fail you’ll see one or two of them riding down a busy street (like Market St.) with no lights and no helmet. Some vindictive part of me really would like to see a car accidentally hit one of them. I don’t want them to seriously injure or kill anybody, just a light enough tap to send them to the ground and bump their head just hard enough to knock some god-damn sense into it.
There are parts of my bike ride where I might even crash into one of these Suicide Cyclists, places where I’m riding on a two-way bike path (through a poorly lit park) or where I’m turning at an intersection. If through some unfortunate turn of events we crash into each other, the cyclist wearing a dark sweatshirt with no helmet or lights on their bicycle, and me, with my plethora of lights and hand signals, you can be certain that the next thing that’s going to happen is assault with a U-Lock against some poor schmuck who’s too stupid to ride on the right side of the bike path in the dark.
To be honest, I can deal with the immense number of drivers not paying enough attention to the bike lanes, red lights or speed limits, the majority of the time cars do not cut through intersections, sidewalks, parks and everywhere else. Their trajectories are far more predictable than some jerk riding his fixie with his corduroy bike cap where ever he damn well pleases.