Chicago Sun-Times

Bicycle Anarchists

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I'm a frequent bike commuter. I think it's great exercise and a great way to clear your head before and after a busy day. I'm frequently irritated by car drivers who think bikes have no right to the road. However, I'm also irritated by bicyclists who think the rules of the road don't apply to them...

I see it every day -- bikes running red lights at busy intersections, bikes racing into the path of cars turning right, bikes on the wrong side of the road. On the weekend, you can see goofs in spandex, who have probably just rented "Breaking Away," treating the lakefront path like it's the Tour De France and bearing down on pedestrians and moms with strollers.

Just as I've never seen a car ticketed for being in a bike-only lane, I've also never seen a bike stopped for running a red light. It's hard for us, as cyclists, to convince drivers that we belong on the road if we won't follow the rules. How can we demand respect, if we don't earn it?

It seems like some bicyclists regard themselves as "Superpedestrians" -- they can be on the road AND they can run red lights AND terrorize walkers on sidewalks -- whatever works. Maybe they do this because they feel cars don't respect them, so why should they respect rules made for cars. Or maybe it's just a spirit of anarchy -- I'm a biker, free and easy, sticking it to the Man.... Maybe it's because they have no fear of being ticketed.

Anyone have any theories?

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3 Comments

Thank you, Rob. If we ride our bikes more safely and predictably, and we avoid actions that may endanger others, drivers and pedestrians are more likely have some consideration for us. It doesn't always work, but it helps. Karma is a BIG factor here.

As the Executive Director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, I ask everyone to drive/bike/walk with courtesy. Stop for pedestrians. Drive as if your own life depended on it -- with predictability, visibility and care. Thank you.

It is frightening to bike or drive these days.
Maybe when bicycles have proper infrastructure and are treated as part of the traffic system, cyclists will be more likely to act in kind.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Wisniewski published on May 13, 2008 4:27 PM.

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