Monday, May 21, 2012

America the Stupid: Bicycles in Crosswalks

I go walking a lot, usually 4 miles per day, 5 days per week or so. I often find myself sharing the sidewalk with bicycles. Now, where I grew up, bicycle safety was really drilled into you. In order to legally ride a bike in Whitehall, Ohio, you had to have a license. And you had to pass a test to get it. We learned that a bicycle is a vehicle, and as such, needs to follow the same rules that cars do. This means, no riding against the traffic, and no riding on the sidewalk.

The stupid! It burns!
But I understand why people ride on the sidewalk. It's less scary. It's safer. And with morons who text and drive (I still can't wrap my brain around what could make a person that stupid), even daredevils may want to get up out of the way. So, while it's against the rules, I get it. But all of that safety is cancelled out, and the bicycle riders are rendered almost as dumb as our driving texter when. . .

They ride their bicycles through crosswalks.

On three occasions I distinctly remember, and very likely more, I have almost run over a bicyclist in the crosswalk. I looked left, looked right, I looked left, and hello! ZOOM!, right in front of my car. A few fractions of a second different, and my life--and particularly their lives--could be utterly changed. . .or ended. And it's even worse if you're at an intersection turning right, and they come from behind you, zooming across the walk on a green. Who thinks it's necessary to check the rear view mirror when making an unobstructed right turn?

So, I'm putting this out there as a plea to the universe. Especially, a plea to bike riders. If you're riding your bicycle on sidewalks, when you get to the crosswalk. . .walk your bike across! You are not a pedestrian, you are on a vehicle! You have negated the safety of the sidewalk by being as stupid as a texter! Stop it! Or, I might kill you. . .

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