Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cyclists: The Scourge of Our Roads

Like most Americans, I got my driver's license when I was 16. I had my learner's permit a year before that. That being the case I lost total interest in riding a bicycle when I was 14 and a half. I understand this is not the case for many Americans. Look at Lance Armstrong and how we halfheartedly lift him up as a sports hero. We glance over the fact that he has one nut. No one has the balls to make fun of him because he is a cancer survivor, and has gone to France many times to remind the Frenchies we can kick their ass at just about anything. That's admirable, so I'm not going to make fun of him either, but I will say I don't celebrate him nearly as much as I would because he has generated more interest in adult cycling. Why do I see this as a problem? It is a problem because I gave it up as soon as I was legally allowed to begin driving. I learned the proper context for roads in America. We don't have miles of paved roads for bike jumps, stickball, and playing basketball on. We have roads so motor vehicles can move around efficiently. Cyclists seem to like to use Saturday and Sunday morning for their group rides, and I sometimes use Saturday and Sunday mornings to drive places. Therein lies the conflict. They must know where they are in the road. The only thing they have to look at is the road in front of them so they must see how far over in the lane they are. They are mostly of legal driving age so they must know at some point this road made for cars may be occupied by cars and that they may be in the way of progress by riding their bike as if they own the road. You want to exercise- great! Ride a stationary bike or ride somewhere besides a road. They make mountain biking trails also. Here's who I say can ride bikes in the road: Tour de France or other significant road race where a detour route has been setup for cars to use, a road that has a huge bike lane, kids more than 6 months away from getting their learner's permit, people who can't afford a car but take up as little road as possible, people with a suspended or revoked license. That is all.

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