Dear Baby Boomer Pedestrians of Vancouver,
I regret to inform you, but I will not, in fact, stop biking on the curb just because you have pointed your index finger somewhere out in the general direction of the road. You see, I understand that the curb is primarily for pedestrians, and as a safety-minded cyclist, I fully understand your wish to go about your day unhindered by the ticking of my wheels or, I don't know, my ability to completely steer around you.
You must understand. I'm not doing this for the thrill of going much slower than it would take for me to not steer around you or have my speed reduced by pavement bumps. The thing is, I am not safe cycling on the road where we currently are. And I very much like the state of being not dead or mangled.
That white diamond you pointed out to me on the road on East Broadway? That is not a bike lane. That is a bus lane. And I do not wish to become a human pancake for the next 99 B-line sweeping up behind me. Up on the curb I go, because too many motor vehicles think “yield” means “everyone yield to me for I AM CAR, and I am steel and leather and the roar of hydrocarbon dragon's breath”
And I am so, SO sorry that you need the ENTIRE triple-wide pavement of Main street to walk your tiny rat-dog in its fashionably tiny rat-dog sweater. And I am not a monster, dear baby-boomer. I see your rat-dog and I swerve around your rat dog and I take a few moments after deliberately choosing not to flip you the bird for yelling at me to appreciate your long woolen overcoat. It gives a nice fall flair.
Perhaps you should form a club with the man who called into CFOX radio station the other day to complain about a cyclist at the roundabout of 10th and Glen “Whipping past me without stopping!”
At a roundabout! On a designated bike lane! “And if I had not looked, and accidentally hit that cyclist, well, I would have been the bad guy, there. So those cyclists need to pay more attention to the road.”
Yes, dear baby boomer, we cyclists, protected only by our helmets and our gloriously toned thighs must pay more attention to entitled truck drivers who listen to CFOX as their radio station of choice because if we are not careful, those truck drivers might not remember the rules of the road and do something completely dangerous and illegal in a roundabout and they MIGHT LOOK BAD. On a designated. Bike route.
God forbid I ever try to turn left at a busy intersection.
And so until delivery trucks and luxury cars stop seeing “bike lane” as, like, just a suggestion, whatever, I am still going to raise myself up those precious six inches and bike on your consecrated concrete dedicated to human footfalls.
Because it's safer and I have places to be.
I love you all. Biking is fun.
Because when you step on them, they bleed.
I grew up in a bike-friendly city in Germany and am currently living in Mexico City, where there literally are no traffic rules. I can do whatever I want, and 90% of the times the cars are stuck in standing traffic, so no danger of being chased down. Dream!
As someone who lives in downtown, I see all too often what happens to people that choose to stay on the road. As always it's typically not the cyclist, it's the crazy drivers here that jump lights at every given chance.
Luckily there is the sea wall and various bike paths to jump onto, so not so bad around here.
But yes, completely relate to your post
(Chickens occasionally escape a house that lives nearby the bridge and they end up going up and down the bridge, and sometimes chased into the traffic)
I strongly suggest two more pieces of safety gear to add; an air horn (I used an electronic one meant for soccer fields), these are loud enough for cars to hear over their radios/road traffic noise and it scares the crap out of pedestrians who jump out in front of you, mine had a strap so it hung from my handle bars and could be reached with ease. Bike bells are perfect for use on pedestrians and everyone should be courteous enough to signal every time they pass someone.
Second, cameras. GoPros are a good investment but almost any sports camera will work. Put one on the front center of your handlebars (or on your helmet, but for me the extra weight was annoying), the other behind your seat. This will save you a lot of grief should you get hit as they will catch the make/model/color and most often license plate of the car. It also provides you protection if someone chases you down, as has happened to me. Police will take you more seriously should you ever need to make a complaint if you have more proof than just your word against theirs.
At night, lights fore and aft, reflective vest, and never leave the sidewalk. I also carried a flashlight in my hand so I could point it, the flashlight also served as a weapon should the need arise.
Never been brave enough to cycle downtown. Ended up in a cast all summer once when I was younger, but I think I showed that SUV what happens when you hit 160 lbs of idiot teenager and bicycle at highway speeds. I actually don't remember how I survived that...
I fastidiously stay on streets with less traffic and wear the most obnoxiously bright clothes. It's a bit ridiculous that even when provided bike lanes, we aren't safe.
In the streets: "GO IN YOUR DESIGNATED BIKE LANES OR I'LL ROLL OVER YOU AND OPEN MY DOOR TO MAKE SURE I DON'T MISS YOU!!!"
In the designated bike lane: "HOW DARE YOU CROSS THE STREETS! ROADS ARE FOR CARS ONLY, I DON'T CARE IF IT CROSS YOUR BIKE LANE"
(All while people are taking walks in bike lane with, just like you said, the rat-dog and all)
On the curb: "GO BIKE IN THE STREETS YOU FUCKING PUBLIC DANGER!"
But no one ever try to consider that we should build our cities so that we would never need our cars in it!
Especially now that I'm in an appartment where I don't really have any place to put it except if I want to give it to the first thief with a pair of pincers
So the bike stays at my parent's home where it is safely locked in a shed.
But I sure do pay caution to people on bike when I'm the one driving my car. I know their feel
Anyway, my advice is liberal use of the middle finger. Everyone already hates you if you're on a bike, so you might as well make yourself feel better.