Cyclists, do you need bigger targets?

I have a long standing issue with cyclists. What follows may be viewed as a sweeping generalization of cyclists. Hey, if that’s the way you want to take it, knock yourself out. Maybe there’s a reason you’re being so defensive. I’m just sayin’…

If you’re a law-abiding, safe-riding, stop at stop signs/red lights type of cyclist none of this has anything to do with you and I would like to personally thank you for not being a raging, self-entitled douche monster.

That notwithstanding, though, I do have a large issue with a particular cyclist I had the misfortune of contacting not too long ago. I was riding up on a four way stop when I saw a cyclist approach to my right. He hooked a quick right (now headed the same direction I was) without even slowing for the stop sign. And away we go…
MC (yelling out): Sir!
ARSEDM (aforementioned raging, self-entitled douche monster…hell, let’s just shorten it up to ARSE, shall we?): *looks back*
MC: Pull over.
ARSE makes a right in an alley and continues on his merry way.
MC (over PA): Sir, I was talking to you. Please stop.
ARSE stopped.
MC: Thank you. Do you know why I’m stopping you, sir?
ARSE: No. (attitude already developing)
MC: Well, you didn’t stop at the stop sign.
ARSE: Okay.
MC: Fair enough. Do you have your license with you today, sir?
MC: Okay. (I grab my cite book). What’s your name, sir?
ARSE: Are you going to give me a ticket?
MC: Yes, sir, I am. You failed to stop for the stop sign.
ARSE: This is ridiculous. Why aren’t you stopping cars that don’t stop at stop signs.
MC: Sir, you do know you have to follow the same rules of the road as vehicles, right?
ARSE (huffs): Yes!
MC: So, you basically just flagrantly defied the law, then? I mean since you know it and all.
ARSE: I didn’t flagrantly do it!
MC: I need your name.
ARSE (mumbling): arse
MC: Excuse me?
ARSE (yelling): ARSE! Why don’t you take off your helmet so you can hear me!!
MC (requests additional unit): Listen, sir, you need to lose your attitude. There is no reason for you to be acting like this. You violated the law, you’re getting a ticket. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to go to court. What’s going to happen when a car breaks the same law you just did as the same time as you? You’re not going to win that fight. You’re going to get knocked into next week.
ARSE: That will never happen.
MC ponders how nice it must be to have a fully operational and reliable crystal ball. I should have asked the prick where he got one. I handed him his cite.
ARSE: I’ll see your ass in court!
MC: Excellent, sir, I’ll be sure to tell the judge just that.
He continued to berate me like a six year old while I wrote out his ticket. Why is it that there is a distinct statistical deviation between the number of drivers I stop with bad attitudes vs. the number of cyclists with bad attitudes? I would say that roughly 15-20% of drivers have lousy attitudes; however, cyclists are much closer to around 65-70%. I treat them all exactly the same. As a matter of fact, I probably give more warnings to cyclists simply out of not wanting to deal with bullshit attitudes. Methinks I shall have to stop doing that. No reason folks should get a break just because I don’t want the hassle, right?
Like I’ve said in previous posts, if you ride a bike, good for you; however, do me a favor and don’t be a stupid cyclist, okay? Of all the bicycle crashes I’ve taken over the years, about 80-85% of the time the cyclist is at fault, not the car. Cyclists, you are smaller and weight less than a car. You will lose. Save yourself and your family some heartache and follow the rules of the road.
Oh, and don’t send me comments about how the drivers are (insert whiny voice) “so mean to us”. You should know me well enough by now to know that when I see drivers doing stupid shit (be it to you or anyone else) they get their comeuppance as well!
Stay in the bike lane, don’t ride five deep, stay to the right, signal your turns/lane changes and odds are your interactions with drivers (not to mention me) will improve.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

26 thoughts on “Cyclists, do you need bigger targets?

  1. Stay to the right*, stay in cycle lanes… usually that is the safest way to go, however here in the UK cyclists are regularly killed by undertaking at junctions only for a truck to turn and run over/crush them.

    *left for us

  2. We're a very rural county, so we don't have too many bike paths. Bicycles, tractors, cars, ATVs, steam engines all have to use the same rule book. That being said – why would ANYONE think it was a good idea to ride a bicycle on a rural county road? My dad calls this "soon to be grease mark."

    My husband is from Dayton, OH and he says they had a game up there called "cycle slapping." They'd get 4 or 5 kids in a car – one to drive up "stealthily" behind the cyclist and one to hang out the window to slap em on the ass. We have a similar game around here but it's called "deer rocking" and our targets don't have reflectors.

  3. The ones I used to love were the ones who claimed they had all the rights of "other vehicles" like using left turn lanes, etc, but then claimed they "were only bikes" when I caught them zipping through red lights.

    And amen on five deep. Here in Maine we now have a law requiring 3-foot clearance when passing a bike. Difficult at the best of times, given most rural roads don't have shoulders to begin with, and leaving three feet puts you in the oncoming lane. But when they ride 3 or 4 abreast, you're on the neighbor's flippin' lawn!

    Bet you have some interesting tales about another of my pet peeves, the skateboarding teens and 20-somethings……

  4. Here here! In the area in California I live in it's so bad that it's the subject of newspaper articles, talk show hosts rants, etc. VERY few people are respectful of the law when bicycling on the mostly rural roads. I call them wanna-be Lances (sorry Lance). I really dislike the poorly publicized 'races' and of course on the races the bikes come first period. (Not when there's NO warning for the hapless cars that are attempting to get to work….) I think there's only one or two races that actually post signs ahead of time to give drivers time to plan alternative routes.

  5. My favorite was when I paused in the driveway to the church parking lot one Sunday and got yelled at by a cyclist for being on my cell phone (legal here, by the way). Said cyclist was 1) on the sidewalk, 2) sans helmet & 3) going the wrong way on a one way street. He was also down at the end of the block when I pulled into the driveway; I didn't have to stop but I was double-checking my clearance before pulling out into the street as some of the parked cars obscured my view. Mind you, I came nowhere near hitting the guy, I just inconvenienced him slightly (in other words, I was there first).

    Other favorite was driving to school one morning and having a father on a cycle lead his daughter (neither wearing helmets, of course) to make a left turn through a red light in front of my car, without even pausing. Again, I came nowhere near hitting them, but that was more due to the fact that I had actually slowed down for the school zone & hit my brakes well in advance of the light.

    I know that I need to share the road, & I'm happy to do so, but they need to obey the law and also use some common sense.

  6. At least as a LEO you can do something about it. As a Road Captain for my HOG Chapter, I let out a big groan when I'm leading a ride and come upon a line of bicyclists. It always seems to be on a single-lane country road with no separate bike lane, and a double-yellow line so we can't legally pass them with a wide berth.

    I signal our group to get into single file, and to slow down. We get on the left side of our lane and try to ride by the cyclists carefully. Some of them, however, make a game out of scaring the big Harley bikers by dodging quickly into our lane and back again. We have narrowly avoided hitting them or going down. And there's not a darn thing we can do about it, because even if we called the police, it would be a "he said, she said" situation.

    We always remain vigilant, and careful, and wish those on two slower wheels with lighter frames would do the same and give us our right-of-way as we give them theirs. (I don't mean to say that all groups we encounter do that, but enough of them do).

    Thank you for educating cyclists in your area — and I hope learn their lesson.

    Keep safe, MC.

  7. My Dad comuter-cycles 30km to work every day (each way). Thankfully it's mostly bikepath and very rarely has a problem with any drivers. Once in a while there is one or two. (he's been shouted at to "Ride on the sidewalk" more than once but overall hr has very few problems!


  8. Amen. What IS it with them?

    All you "good" cyclists really ought to start beating down on the 65%+ of your number who are flaming douche bags. Seriously. Until then, you'll all get treated like what the majority of you are. Just the way it is.

  9. As a cyclist myself, thank you for saying what needs to be said. There are ARSEs everywhere, and lawful cyclists have to bear the consequences of their actions, too. It makes us all look bad!

  10. When I was helping to direct traffic during a marathon, a bicyclist coming from another direction than the runners got all pissy with me because I wouldn't stop traffic for her. As if it were my responsibility to make it easy for her to ignore traffic laws!

  11. Unfairly maligned minority blah blah blah yadda…

    An a**hole is an a**hole.

  12. In the city where I live I am regularly struck by bicyclists' terrible attitudes — and I'm a bicyclist! I have a theory why though. Cars regularly treat me as something that shouldn't be on the road and behave in extremely unsafe ways to me including threatening me when I get to a four-way stop first and proceed legally through. My theory is that many bicyclists get that kind of shit and it makes that scary-aggressive and stupid. Of course that becomes a vicious cycle …

  13. Man this is a sore spot for me. Ill put half the truck in the other lane to give a bike rider room, if there is no oncoming traffic.

    We have militant riders in Portland. They will ride on the white line with no trace of foresight as to the traffic flow. And they insist on riding on the bike path on the road (on the white line) even when there is bike path with no one on it just 20 feet from the road.

    I wish i could pack my truck full of cyclists and show them what its like trying to predict their next move, while driving a 72 foot truck down a city road, with less than 20 inches to spare on either side.

  14. I COMPLETELY agree. Where I live, we have lots of bike paths that largely go unused because the cyclists prefer to ride in the road, impeding traffic, then whenever it's convenient they ignore traffic laws as though they don't apply. I cannot begin to state how much I detest these type of cyclists with their arrogance and general attitude. That "superiority" they feel for riding their green cycle isn't going to save them when they break one too many laws and get tangled up with a car.

  15. As a bicyclist, motorcyclist and driver, I am frequently embarrassed by the behavior of some cyclists. Sadly, the 10% or so who are really rude are the ones everybody sees. The rest of us are busy riding safely and legally (yes, in that order, sorry MC).

    When I'm bicycling I'll stretch the law a bit, even outright break it, under certain circumstances (just like I will when driving). But I, and most of the riders I know, take care to NOT piss off drivers and to obey the law.

  16. Grumpy Dispatcher: believe me, we law-abiding (or at least considerate) cyclists do thump on our discourteous brethren, but it has little effect until one of them puts themselves so far into harm's way that they actually get thumped by a car.

    Groups of cyclists are the worst – the law in my area allows for riding two across as long as doing so doesn't impeded traffic, but I've gotten caught behind groups of 20 to 30 riders doubled or tripled up and unwilling to either split up or turn out at a wide spot to allow traffic to safely pass.

    When I ride with a group, I will fall back from the group or encourage some to fall back with me if there are more than six of us riding together.

  17. To summarize, what the person earlier said: A self-important jerk is a self-important jerk, no matter what they're driving.

    I've seen bicycles go zooming through stop signs and red lights as if they're protected by some magical field that's gonna help when a car slams into them. You can be sure when that happens they'll whine and cry about how the big bad car didn't respect their "right to the road."

    I've seen motorcycle riders change lanes at will, no signal, cutting off other vehicles closely while riding in t-shirts and shorts and no helmets. No matter how you feel about helmet laws, there's a reason why riders like this are called "squids" – because when they cut off a car or truck that greatly outweighs them and said vehicle slams into them, what'll be left will look like squid guts.

    I've seen drivers yapping on cellphones, weaving in and out of their lane, speeding up and slowing down, generally being a traffic menace and ignoring the other cars, bikes, and motorcycles on the road. And I don't care HOW legal it is to yap on your cellphone where you live — if you're dumb enough to do it you're no better than any other self-absorbed idjit on the road.

    That's my $1.99, and I'm stickin' to it.

  18. I'm with Moose. I've seen all kinds of bad behavior on the road and it isn't confined to bicyclists. I think the worst group is soccer moms in SUVs.

    I gave up motorcycle riding because every time I rode it seemed that something happened to me. I would get cut off, run off the road, overbalance the bike at a light, something was always going wrong.

    When I ride my bicycle I make it a policy to look out for number one above all else. I stay out of the way of motorized traffic. I wear a helmet and I stay alert. That means no music, no cell phones and no staring at red hot women while I'm moving. Wait until everyone stops at a light and then you can roll up next to them and wave and talk. 🙂

    Anyway, I got hit while riding my bike. She was making a right turn on red and was looking left while turning right. I was crossing in front of her and got knocked off my bike. The bike looked a whole lot worse than it was; there were plastic pieces of her grill on the left pedal and the front wheel came part way off. I ripped the seat of my pants and got pissed off.

    The driver was a middle aged woman who kept insisting that she was a good person. She repeated this like a litany. She offered to buy me a new bike, pay my medical expenses – anything! The implication was that we don't need to get the police involved. I called the police.

    The high points of this whole adventure consisted of a ten year old 'witness' who gave me some legal advice, free of charge: Tell 'em your neck hurts and stick to the story, because they can't prove that it doesn't and you can get a lot of money like that! I am not making this up, and no, I haven't been drinking. The other bright spot was a car load of young men who drove slowly past, and one yelled "You're going to jail!" at the woman driver. I kept a straight face.

    The officer who showed up was good about the whole thing, not making more of this accident than it was. I noted that the officer and her back up surreptitiously blocked the woman's car while we sorted things out. Good stuff.

    I don't know if the woman was cited, and I really don't care if she was or not. What I want her to do is change her behavior so she looks where she's going.

    I suddenly acquired a flinch when crossing the street and got $500 plus damages from her insurance company.

    And that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

  19. Moose…

    You just named almost every reason why I do what I do. All those folks you rattled off? We've met. 😉

  20. Apologies, MC, I didn't meant to preach to the choir. I guess I wanted to passive-aggressively pick on the commenter who talked about how it's ok to talk on your cellphone while behind the wheel if it's not illegal where you live.

    Did I mention how much I hate people who use cellphones while the car is in anything but park? (Or, ya know, 1st or neutral with the parking brake on.)

    Can I jump on this deceased equine anymore? Boing! Boing! Boing!

    *cough* Sorry. Again. 🙂

    (feel free to laugh [&/or laugh at me] and not approve this comment 🙂

    p.s. only thing worse than the weaving of cellphone drivers is 90 yr old drivers going 35 in the left lane in a 55 zone. Yes, I know it's a speed *limit*, but if you wanna go 35, stay to the right. (GAH! STFU, MOOSE!)

  21. Ha…I hope I'm laughing with you, Moose.

    What, you don't think a reanimate the equine only to beat it to within an inch of its life over and over again on this f'n blog? C'mon…

    Your comments are always welcome.

  22. Aw, MC, you're secretly a nice guy. 😛

    I suppose Beating Trigger is part of this blog. Don't most of your posts boil down to:

    With occasional added bonus of

  23. No big surprises there, MC. I know quite a few cyclists who act responsibly, but the vast majority of bikers are self-absorbed turds with a major attitude problem.

    They constantly blather on about "sharing the road" when in reality they expect the motorists to patiently accept all the inconvenience without extending any courtesy in return.

    They justify running red lights and stop signs because it's "too tiring" for them to take off from a complete stop and they expect the rest of to patiently drive at 10 mph behind them whenever they ride on a busy major road with no bike lane.

    Yet the thought of taking a less congested route or biking on the sidewalk when it's empty (illegal, I know – so bite me!) or just pulling over to let the traffic backup through never even crosses their mind!


  24. I guess I wanted to passive-aggressively pick on the commenter who talked about how it's ok to talk on your cellphone while behind the wheel if it's not illegal where you live.

    You might want to look up the definition of passive-aggressive. And, since your reading comprehensions skills seem to be lacking, the point of what I said was that I was being chided for doing something legal by someone who was doing something illegal. Understand now?

  25. Keep it up! My most often observed error is youth on bikes (fooling around, not stopping at stop sign) and speeding motorcycle. I have better respect for adult bicycle serious users and any motorcycles close or at speed limit. I know, I know, I usually glide through stop… only if there's NO oncoming traffic. I could improve on that as I have two own children micmicing me.

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