This morning I “slept in” and woke up in order to hit the road at 7:00, rather than the usually 6:00 am. For those of you that don’t know, I commute to work daily via bicycle. My trip takes me across the entire city of Philadelphia and out to the suburbs. It can sometimes feel like a long hike everyday especially when there is inclimate weather/strong winds but I rather take either of those options than have to sit behind the wheel of a car. For some reason when some people get behind the wheel of a car their mentality changes… this happens to me as well for some odd reason. I’ve noticed people become annoyed/flustered/angry about little things, and always in a rush. As a commuter I see this a great deal as no one likes bikes… I get it, people on their way to work don’t like to be inconvenienced even in the slightest, especially when they are “in a hurry.”
Today I was hoping just to make a random picture post from the commute and continue doing so, but today like many days I ran into another driver who just didn’t “get it.” What I mean by that is many drivers are ignorant to the fact that bikes are considered “motorized vehicles” and have to abide by the same laws (even though many don’t, especially in the city) and have rights to the road similar to those of cars. This ignorance became apparent today when a driver came behind my brightly flashing bike and proceeded to honk vigorously. Mind you this is a four lane road with shoulders on both sides, (that usually filled with parallel parked cars on both sides) so they could have easily passed me in the left lane. Instead, the driver’s action was to beep then pretend to side swipe me by getting inches away from my bike while speeding past. Now I am not sure why someone would do something like this, but I was intrigued to find out. Right after the driver pulled this stunt the light turned red nearly 100 feet ahead but in order not have to stop and deal with the situation they just caused they blew through it. I threw a little shuffle in my step and caught up with them at the next light. I was certainly surprised when I rode to the drivers side window to see an older woman, roughly 60 years of age. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite as composed as I should have been, but when someone deliberately puts your life at risk, its hard to be calm.
As we exchanged words she unfortunately was under the impression that I had no business on the road and should take my cycling to the sidewalk. For those of you who don’t know, riding on the sidewalk many places is illegal and truth be told, VERY, VERY dangerous. This is because as cyclist coming off the sidewalk into the cross-street, cars are only expecting pedestrians who move at a slower rate of speed, not a cyclist moving at a faster rate of speed. Studies have shown that a cyclist riding on the sidewalk is 2.5x more likely to get hit crossing the street rather than in the road.
Anyways I digress, my only suggestion is when you see a cyclist give them a break, even if it inconveniences you slightly.
Quick photo during this mornings ride as the sun was coming up, cruising on some back-roads outside of the city limits.