I made a run for carry-out food this evening, and while driving home, I saw something that teed me off. A cyclist was in the bike lane on the four-lane street I was in, but was riding against traffic.
There are bike lanes on each side of the street. The direction of travel is clearly marked by arrows. The lanes are in generally good condition — not too much grit or gravel — but they’re wide enough for only one bike. And this guy was traveling in the wrong direction.
He was on a higher-end hybrid bike. Wasn’t in cycling clothes, but normal street clothes, wearing a baseball cap instead of a helmet. That’s fine — he’s perfectly capable of deciding what safety measures are appropriate for him. But in this case, he would have caused problems for any cyclist who rode in the right direction in the bike lane. Or, he would have caused a problem for himself, because if he met another cyclist, he would be the one who would have to leave the bike lane and ride in the traffic lane — against traffic.
And there I was, in my car, windows up, radio blaring. I really wanted to yell, “Wrong way, you idiot!” or something equally derisive. If I had been on my bike, I certainly would have. But this was a missed opportunity.
Now, I’m by nature not a confrontational guy. Rarely do I call out other people’s behavior, and when I do, you know I’ve really been upset. But I’ve ridden with others who aren’t as restrained as I am. They’ll let other riders have it over what I consider minor, forgive and forget, infractions or breaches of etiquette.
Which camp are you in? Do you yell at other bikers when they do something wrong, or stupid, or illegal? Today’s incident gets me wondering if I should become more assertive out there.
Rick Ankrum says
Like you I have seen many dumb or strange things other bicyclists do. I probably have done many myself. I am tempted to call out but I can’t remember actually doing it. I did confront a man driving a pickup truck when he told me not to ride in the street. When I caught up with him at a stop light I asked him who made him king of the road. I told him I had as much right to being there as he did and he actually apologized.
I had a cyclist call me out one time on a deserted country road after I saw something lying in the woods just off the road. I turned around and cycled back on the wrong side of the road less than an eighth of a mile when a cyclist on a high end bike came along and gave me a hard time. Really??? For the most part, unless there is something immediately unsafe (something dragging from a pannier that might get caught in spokes), I never tell another cyclist how to ride. Do we honk at every speeder on the highway?
Confronting someone’s behavior seldom has a positive outcome. Why bother?
Tal F says
Sorry, but the bar for bad behavior needs to be REALLY HIGH for you to call someone out for bad cycling etiquette when you are in your CAR. When on a bike yourself, reserving calling out for when the other cyclist has put you, personally, in danger, or is an extreme danger to him or herself.
Cyclists in my town are subject to a lot of driver harassment. So unless i see a cyclist doing something that presents extreme danger, im just happy to see people on bikes. The last thing i want to do is discourage someone from riding because the fact that they’re promotes awareness that we can all benefit from.
I hear you. That’s a tough call.
Thankfully in our town, most wrong way cyclists veer slightly right when you approach them which makes it a little safer.
But no less terrifying.
I have scolded wrong way riders when I have been on my bike, but never from a car (except with the windows closed and I’m just being smug).
Aimee Ault says
I would have called them out but what prompted me to post a response to this was the judgment of someone not wearing cycling attire in combination with the observation that they weren’t wearing a helmet.
No helmet is dangerous, right, but why judge someone on the fact that they are wearing street clothes? I use my road bike as my sole means of transportation and average about 20-30 miles a day and wear my normal clothes doing so. I never realized people in jerseys, bibs, shorts, etc were judging me… and even though it’s just a side note, it really shouldn’t be pointed out at all.
I nearly got into a really big trouble calling out. But thankfully I was saved. I won’t bother it next time.
when i first wanted to bike and one cyclist inspired me to bought cycle and finally we came out with a big group of cyclist group in our friend circle and every evening we go for riding.