This is a love letter to the bad bike riders out there:
Stop it. You’re making the rest of us look bad.
Or go away. Maybe this is a “Dear John” letter to you. Ditch the bike and just walk, OK?
Here’s what happens every time you do something stupid on your bike: You piss off a driver of a motorized vehicle. That driver still remembers that stupid thing you did down the road when he or she encounters another person on a bike.
That other cyclist down the road is the rest of us. And in car vs. bike accidents, the car always wins.
So stop being a jackass when you ride your bike.
But if you’re committed to ruining it for the rest of us — the rest of us being the people who hope cyclists and drivers can all get along, kumbaya — you should do the following:
One way is for cars
Those one-way stretches downtown on Walnut and Spruce? Those are just for cars, not bikes.
Which part of riding your bike the wrong way on a one-way street brings you the most joy? The confused looks on peoples’ faces? The excitement of the near head-on collisions you’re causing? Or the idea that you’re sticking it to the man by going the wrong way?
That’s bold subversion. For your next act, why don’t you print out an email you don’t need to print. And then don’t even recycle it.
Blow stop signs, red lights
Here’s another good way for you to be a jackass on your bike: Ignore all stops on the road.
Once your bike is in motion, it stays in motion. You can’t stop for four-way stops, red lights. It’s just physics. Ask Newton. Duh.
Stops are for cars and little girls. (And cyclists who don’t want to get mowed down by a truck.)
I once watched a friend cruise through a red light on a ride, and his subsequent explanation was: “I’m from New York, that’s just how we roll.”
How I roll: Not using “that’s how we roll” as an excuse for doing things that would make Miss Bike Manners cry.
Sidewalk to road
The beauty of riding a bike around town is that you can go from sidewalk (in some places) to road at will.
This is confusing to people driving cars — especially when you are switching back and forth, from sidewalk to road and back again.
Do this in congested areas. Where there’s no shoulder. And jump into the road from the sidewalk without looking. Basically, be as inconsistent as possible. Drivers like not knowing what the hell you’ll do next. It makes them happy, yay.
If a car accidentally hits you as you dart out from a sidewalk, say “that’s how I roll” when the EMTs scrape you off the asphalt.
Perhaps the best way to be a total jackass while riding your bike is to be blissfully unaware of your surroundings.
So try: riding with your iPod blaring, riding while talking on the phone, never looking both ways, never looking over your shoulder, singing to yourself “la la la!” if you don’t have an iPod.
Or, sing Kumbaya.