Ode to the Cyclist
|3 min read
RobynRose's avatar
By RobynRose   |   Watch
17 49 145K (2 Today)
Published: October 28, 2015

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.

anonymous's avatar
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OrangeJuicePorcelain's avatar
They are not called rat dogs, but bloodhounds!
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!
atomisis's avatar
I have mixed feelings about sidewalk cyclists.  As long as they are cautious and safety conscious I'm fine with it...but not all of them are.  I'm a runner more than a biker so I have a natural bias against bikers and their attitude.  You may be setting a good example though so keep it up.
everlite's avatar
everliteProfessional Filmographer
lol I was riding down Burrard a few weeks ago and some old guy literally tried to stop me from passing him from some 50 or so feet away until I reached him! ... Truly, I know your frustration with this kind of thing. I'm beginning to think its a VC lol! The crazy thing is, when Im on riding on the side walk I typically go at walking speed out of respect for others. It surprises me when some people see me coming towards them and they insist on trying to get in your path just to make a point. It's like; really, you want to argue with bicycle! I know if I crash into you my arss is going to land in your face with little injury! I doubt you will be able to say the same lol 

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 :)
erinclaireb's avatar
Thank you for the laugh, very well written! And sorry about the unfriendly cyclist neighbourhood - stay safe! :)
Zonbiku-in's avatar
Zonbiku-inStudent Photographer
Surprisingly as much as I love cyclists and I totally understand their frustrations with the people, who walk everywhere because its closest and easier for them to get to point A and B, but where I come from the cyclists I have are a bit... snotty and don't pay attention, mostly those who come on the same pedestrian and cyclist path (this is an old bridge road in England with no lines dividing it up, and mostly it is used for people to walk their dogs and climbing over the wall to get to the marsh on the other side) nearly everyday. You would think by now, that those cyclists would be aware that there could possibly be dogs and children (and a few chickens - thats another story) who visit the same bridge and the only direct way onto the marsh, and would slow down or ring their bell? Nope. They come shooting down and either hit a running child, dog or shoot by someone without any knowledge. 

(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)
Seserous's avatar
SeserousHobbyist Photographer
This is a problem everywhere. I live in one of the 10 best biker friendly cities in the united states and had near misses every single trip. I know exactly what you're talking about.

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.
jiynx's avatar
SERIOUSLY YES!!  People here in Van are so effing rude to cyclists.  On the road?  Drivers honk and swear at you.  On the sidewalk?  Pedestrians yell and swear at you.  There is just no pleasing these idiots.
Noidatron's avatar
NoidatronProfessional Artist
Thank you! Yes, I agree with this 100%. It's ridiculous to expect cyclists to behave like motor vehicles on the road. It's so much more dangerous for a cyclist to be on the road than it is for the pedestrians if cyclists are on the sidewalk. Luckily I mostly cycle through a quiet suburban part of town to get to work, so there aren't many people watching where I'm riding anyway. I will continue to cycle on the sidewalk with no shame, because I have a great interest in my personal safety and self preservation. : P
Secretsofaphrodites's avatar
SecretsofaphroditesHobbyist Artist
our gloriously toned thighs
Hear! hear! 
Haha may nobody open a car door on you, fellow biker.
TwistedSynapses's avatar
TwistedSynapsesProfessional Digital Artist
Everyone wants me to stop or slow down, but that's not what I like to do. I like to go. Also my brakes need work.

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...
Girl-Of-Roses-Hanna's avatar
Girl-Of-Roses-HannaProfessional Traditional Artist
I bike to and from work and I am proud to say I have only been hit by one car! The driver then blamed me because I did not signal I was going to remain in my lane, instead of turning. As she turned, she took my entire front wheel with her, my helmet bouncing against her passenger side door.

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.
3DShe's avatar
3DSheStudent Interface Designer
I remember that pose!!
You are amazing RobyRose!
maaderllin's avatar
maaderllinHobbyist General Artist
When you ride your bike in Canada...


(All while people are taking walks in bike lane with, just like you said, the rat-dog and all)


But no one ever try to consider that we should build our cities so that we would never need our cars in it!
RobynRose's avatar
My suggestion? Invest in a really nice sounding bell and ring-ring as you pass them and smile. Because you look fabulous on your bike and no one can stop you!

(Maybe a bus can stop you)
maaderllin's avatar
maaderllinHobbyist General Artist
hehe ^^ I used to bike a lot, especially with my family, but I live in a region where everything is far appart so I'm always obligated to use my car and I hate it XD
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 :P
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 ;P
fish-with-a-pencil's avatar
fish-with-a-pencilHobbyist Digital Artist
I once got chased down by a car (she literally turned around and started following me) after I crossed the road on my bike.  I had signaled and everything, but somehow it was my fault that she was going too fast on a blind curve.  Apparently I almost hit her dog?  There was no dog to be seen, but whatever.
BlacksmithofAngels's avatar
BlacksmithofAngelsHobbyist Writer
Was once nudged by an old man in a car (while riding my bike) who proceeded to roll down his window and tell me to get on the sidewalk. I will admit, i could have used some better words but basically told him to learn the damn laws (beep, beep beep beep beeeeeeeeep rules of the road...) 
RobynRose's avatar
Another thing I was thinking about is this article: how cyclists seem to be caught in the squeeze of who owns the road. Http://www.vox.com/2015/1/15/7551873/jaywalking-history
SachiiA's avatar
SachiiAHobbyist Digital Artist
The Netherlands = Bike land. Bike paths everywhere! 8D
Okay no everywhere but close to it.
IcarusJaniese's avatar
I relate to this so very much.
spacehamster's avatar
Is it legal to ride on the sidewalk in Canada, though? Because here in Switzerland it's not, so it's twice as funny when motorists say we should get off the street and use the sidewalk.

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.
RobynRose's avatar
It's debatable in Vancouver. The laws are written to be vague. "Bike at walking speed or dismount in crowded areas. Sidewalks are intended for pedestrians."

It doesn't say it's illegal, and I would certainly prefer to be on the road in a bike lane where there aren't cars parked :p
spacehamster's avatar
Yeah, sounds like they intentionally worded it so it basically means "go ahead, but don't be a jerk"...

I'll bet you a dallah we've got worse bike lanes here in Zurich, though. :shakefist:
SenshiStock's avatar
SenshiStockHobbyist Photographer
Biking on roads is terrifying, even if you're in a city that is "good" about it. Stay safe. D:
anonymous's avatar
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