My morning commute was made even more interesting when a car horn barked at me from a two-door sedan driven by a middle-aged woman. Apparently, this was an attempt to warn me that I was hogging the traffic lane. At the time, I was not aware of my mistake so I politely inquired through her lowered driver-side window at the next traffic light. I apologized to the woman, then reminded her of the importance of sharing the road with cyclists and pedestrians. Her response was a long and spiteful release of the phrase shut up as she closed her window.
Our lovely conversation continued at the next stop light, through her window which she had lowered in the meantime. I asked her the following question: Why are you in this much of a rush to get to work? I then followed with: I am simply trying to get there alive, leaving her with that to think about as I pedaled away.
I arrived at the office today and learned of another incident involving three of my teammates here at work during their group commute. I didnt get the details but from what I gather, it involved a driver in a hurry to pass who cut them all off and added a middle finger out the driver-side window to top it all off.
Im new to this bike-commuting thing. I think its great for a variety of reasons which still continue to outweigh these negative experiences. All I hope for is the safety of my friends, fellow cyclists and me while we are out there. Ive heard too many stories lately of people waking up in the hospital when the last thing they remember was riding their bike. I dont want that to be me and I dont want that to be anyone I know.
Cyclists arent out there to keep you from getting to work, damage your car or ruin your day. They just want to ride and some actually want to contribute to helping the environment. Most of the time, the inconvenience we cause to drivers is merely slowing you down on your way to the next stop sign or red light.
Please, share the road.