Why we hate bikes in traffic ?

I recently saw an article about some bicyclist involved in an accident from which he was the one considered guilty by the police. In that article it wasn’t discussed if the bicyclist was guilty or not, but the bad ‘image’ that this might do to the ‘bike community’ who is struggling so much to obtain some rights from the city hall. This brought to my mind the struggle of the Gay ‘community’ who are struggling to obtain some rights, which is pretty sad.

The problem is deeper and it comes from the cynicism of people, we tend to pick random things to hate or feel annoyed by, with no particular reason, we just decide to hate or like things (too bad we decide to hate more than to like). Some people hate taxi drivers, some hate bikers, people without cars hate people with cars, some hate old people, some hate young people, some hate successful people, some hate lazy people, some hate others because of their faces, clothes, or voice, without even interacting with them, … we just pick a side (and sometimes switch sides).

I’m a biker too and I used to ride my bike only outside Bucharest in offroad regions and at competitions, because I knew/thought biking on Bucharest streets is dangerous (when I had to, I used the sidewalk, but there you are slower as you have to pay attention to other people, and there are also more bumps), also dogs bark at cyclist. Once, I had to meet a friend in the other side of Bucharest to ride the bike in Titan Park and I put my bike in the car and went there with the car (yeah I did that) because it felt safer.

The need ‘taught’ me that it is ok to ride my bike in the city (the need is losing my driving license for 30 days, don’t ask how :D) and I realized that I didn’t found any bad ‘accompaniment’ in traffic, I tend to have very good sense in not disturbing other cars, and drivers see that and I think they respect me for that, I also turn my head to drivers who might make a risky maneuver to see if they saw me, and this kind of makes them more aware of my presence. I’m also not afraid of dogs anymore, this comes mainly from my confidence that if a dog barks at me I will stop and ‘convince’ him that it’s not ok to bark at cyclists … ever … (if we all do this, they will start running from us instead of barking).

I live at 3,5 km from where I work and it takes me 7 minutes to get to work with my bike, around 20 min with the Bus (I do take the Bus when it rains or when I’m dressed more elegant than t-shirt) and 15 min by car (driving like in NFS and using all the shortcuts). These are summer times, because in the rest of the year you can sometimes double it. When I arrive at work I’m full of energy, I can carry a backpack with clothes for gym or with food (if I pick to eat at the office) and I change my T-shirt. At the office we have a special place for tying our bikes and there are many people arriving at the office by bikes, which gives you a better feeling not being the only one.

As these ideas aren’t very tightly related I will tell you the conclusion for bikers (or future bikers) and for bike haters (or future bikers):

For bikers:

special places to tie our bikes safely will increase the number of kilometers rode by bike by people daily

– if you are polite when riding your bike you will get positive feedback from drivers

– fuck dogs

– we all know the benefits of doing some sport daily, but the biggest benefit is that you arrive faster where you want (and cheaper), if we only had confidence that it’s a safe option, more people will come into this

For haters:

– if you were normal people walking, you weren’t in your car and the biker wasn’t on his bike, would you punch him ? if not, then don’t accident them in traffic, because they aren’t protected and the damage you will do won’t do any good to you or him

– even though our hate is artificial, when you see a bike in traffic you should thank him for letting its car at home so that the traffic is lighter

– using the bike is far less cheaper, the probability of being involved in an accident is smaller (if you drive like me :D), you feel more good about yourself and a sport like this can attract you to other sports, so the benefit will grow exponentially. You don’t have to be fit to ride a bike, all kinds of people ride bikes. Bikers greet other bikers when they meet, comparing to drivers swearing at other drivers (or basically at everything/everybody) when they meet. Cars make you bad, because you’re nervous because of the traffic, the parking place, the costs. On the other hand the bikes cheers you, because you feel free, you feel energetic, you got the power

– you don’t have to ride your bike every day, you can take the bus, you can go with your car, but if we find the best balance we can manage to live in a big populated city in harmony (without traffic jams and dumb nerves)

Bottom Line:

“When you see a biker on the street thank him for letting his car at home.”

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