Until 1992, I only biked, never owned a car, mainly because I was against the ecological footprint of cars. I have been concerned ever since the ecology movement of the 1970s, when I was in high school and headed the first Ecology Club at my high school, then headed the first recycling center in college. Since then, I have owned a car because of (1) living in a part of the country that required a motor vehicle, and (2) lately because I have a child. However, whenever we can, we ride our bikes. This still means that there are occasions during the week when we must use a car.
What I find troubling in Portland is the obnoxious sense of self-righteousness I've experienced on the part of bike riders as they encounter me as a driver. In one case, I needed to pass a bike rider downtown and had to do so quickly in order to avoid a construction site in the road ahead. At the next intersection, the bike rider caught up with me and rapped on my window, expecting me to have a conversation, I suppose, about my having passed him. At that point, I felt that this constituted a form of harrassment. I did not do anything to endanger anyone, nor did I feel I owed this biker an explanation. However, through the window he was trying to put blame on me for having passed him in a way that he found unacceptable (he of course did not know my side of the story re the construction site). I simply waved at him and drove off when the light changed.
After having ridden for so many years, I believe firmly that bikers need to follow the same rules of the road as cars, but that we must also provide bike lanes wherever possible for biker protection. Bikers also need to recognize that many of us are both bikers and drivers, out of necessity, and they might consider changing their own aggressive and politicized attitudes towards others on the road.
posted 5 years ago
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