Please don’t make me kill you

Please don’t make me kill you
12 comments, Monday, February 13th, 2012, by , in Featured, Opinions

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng.

Dear Bicycle Riders:

 

My name is Nick Scholz, and I’m going to kill you.

 

Now, I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with you guys. Heaven knows there are few groups more organized or zealous than outdoor bicyclists. Believe me when I tell you that I don’t wish to kill you. I’m not going to narrow my eyes and rev my engine menacingly at you. I don’t count the cyclists I crash into with notches on a special stencil on the side of my car.

 

Rest assured: if I kill you, it will be by accident.

 

To the casual observer, it would appear that most of you are positively suicidal. It looks like you have chosen my car to be the Chariot of Fire that whisks you away to the Hereafter. Sadly, that moniker will probably become truer than you could know as your carbon-fiber bicycle gets stuck in my engine chassis at 50 miles per hour.

 

But, even sadder is the fact that this is not a suicide. Nor a murder. This is merely a tragedy that can  be avoided if only the cyclists will decide whether they are pedestrians or riding a vehicle.

 

I like you, cyclists. You’re hip, you’re fit, you’re good for the Earth, and your only contribution to global warming are the hot gasps of horror emitted as you ride past in those skintight body suits. I’m assuming that your community isn’t trying to discourage the use of motor vehicles by forcing drivers to feel the crushing guilt that comes with taking a human life, one accident at a time. So, acting on that assumption, the motorists of the world would like to know how to behave around you.

 

The way I see it, we have two options, both of them equally sane.

 

1. We can treat you like we would treat any other vehicle on the road. We would hold you to the same laws and rules that cars follow. That means you have to stop at stoplights and stop signs. You have to signal when you change lanes. You have to ride with the flow of traffic.

 

2. We treat you like pedestrians. You’d have to use crosswalks. You wouldn’t be able to simply ride against the light all willy-nilly.

 

I have no problem treating you as I would any other vehicle on the road, and giving you the respect you deserve as a human being. I also have no problem treating you like a pedestrian, coddling you and knowing that you may cross a road or dart through an intersection with no warning.

 

My problem is with the your unspoken insistence that you have it both ways. It makes you Impossible to predict when you take up an entire car lane with your bicycle, slow at yellow lights, then ride through the intersection whenever you see a gap, as if the traffic lights don’t exist. Drivers are turning, heads rotated away from you because they believe you will act like a car and do things that we lesser mortals are forced to do, like stop at stoplights or not cross five lanes of traffic while drinking water from a bottle that came from between your legs, all while you look for some righteous tunes on your iPod.

 

This isn’t a declaration of war. It is a petition for a peaceful world. A world where you would ride your bicycle free from the worry that some idiot will careen into your body with his Earth-destroying four-wheeled death dealer. A world where I can get from one place to another without fear of having to pry someone’s bike helmet from the grill of my car when I reach my destination.

 

Can we all just agree, right here and now, that you will all start acting like either vehicles or pedestrians? Pick one and we will start treating you accordingly.

 

 

Sincerely, Nick Scholz

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12 comments

  1. February 13th, 2012 15:32

    Quite the windshield perspective, Mr Scholz.

    You think you have it nailed!

    I can attest you exhibit very limited and no relevant information about cyclists in relation to the use of the public right-of-way.

    Seriously, a third-grade teacher would send your article back for revision.

    You might as well have described the world’s dolphins by observing feeding time at Sea World…

    Good luck.

    David Huntsman (an “outdoor bicyclist”)

    Reply

  2. Chris Manor
    February 17th, 2012 0:19

    Dear Idiot Motorist,

    Who decided that Motorists get to dictate the policies of the road? We’re just as much a part of traffic, regardless of your condescending motocentric attitude.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve almost been hit by some idiot attempting to make a quick right turn directly in front of me as if I wasn’t even there. Let’s not forget the motorists who roll through stop signs right directly in our paths. Who’s the bigger threat, the cyclist with iPod or the Motorist with the iPhone?

    The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of motorist who are trying to kill us through sheer negligence.

    Ride a mile in our saddles before you go leveling general accusations against the cycling community. Why don’t you take a good look in your review-mirror before you point fingers at us?

    Reply

  3. Dave
    February 17th, 2012 1:56

    Since we’re all for a more peaceful world and all that jazz, I think Chris is trying to bring up the point that motorists are not the paragons of consistency you hold them up to be — tu quoque. Although you can’t deny the fact that regardless of who’s the idiot, it’s the cyclist who ends up dead.

    Reply

  4. Ira
    February 17th, 2012 2:07

    Dear Motorists,
    You are trying to kill me.
    Let’s not get off on the wrong foot; I don’t want you to kill me.
    And (yes, for the sake of style I am incorrectly beginning a sentence with a conjunction) perhaps the reason most cyclists seem positively suicidal is because you only notice us when you are about to grind our skulls into the pavement; the rest of the time you are too busy texting. While you only notice the cyclist that is “in your way”, we notice everything on the road. Let me recall a scenario for you: you are in your earth-destroying SUV approaching an intersection. Somebody in another car waits until you are about to pull into the intersection and D A M N !!! You nearly get t-boned by the person taking a left turn. They somehow missed a big a s s SUV approaching the intersection and pulled right ink them. We are talking a big, outrageously oversized vehicle being…

    Reply

  5. T-boneMaholy
    February 17th, 2012 10:09

    I can understand your frustration with cyclists, unpredictable to say the least. And, as a cyclist who uses the street and traffic laws as my laws, I get upset when there is a bike coming at me on the wrong side of the street and who uses sidewalks and pops out right in front of me. But as Chris so nicely put I’ve almost been hit numerous times by an idiot speeding up to pass me than turning right, right in front of me.

    BE AWARE! is it that much to ask? I don’t know many cyclists who text while they ride. If we are smart we know that any hit from a car could be fatal. But I do know that most drivers apparently have better things to do than drive there car while they are in it. Put your phone down for the five min you are in your car and make sure your music is going before you pull out of the parking lot.

    Reply

  6. February 21st, 2012 17:52

    How to treat us?

    Pass us when it’s safe and pretend that I’m your mom or wife or even you.

    That’s how I want to be treated.

    If you think it’s OK to physically abuse, threaten, buzz, and harass you then by all means do so.

    I try to treat all motorists as if they were 7′ vets who just got back from Iraq. If I won’t say it to a tough vet, I won’t say it to you.

    More specifially, give us a whole lane when passing, if possible. If it’s not possible to give us at least 3′ don’t pass. Wait.

    Also, note how long all the other cars on the road delay you then compare with how all the bicycles delay you. You’ll find that the biggest threat to your life and the biggest delay to your commute are other drivers.

    Finally, note how would you treat someone who was in a sporty SUV who was driving the speed limit and they get killed by a semi truck driver? Smaller vehicle,…

    Reply

  7. Teine Samoa
    February 22nd, 2012 11:15

    I came close to hitting bicycle riders numerous times. I never drove texting or talking on the phone so you have no excuse. bikers take over the road as if they don’t have rules. No one to blame but the victim who died or got hurt once hit. Instead of accusing this guy for speaking his mind bikers should read and reread to get some sense into their little heads. I love biking its fun, but bikers should understand its not a free world for bikers to ride without caution. You are to follow the same rules as a vehicles or pedestrians. Motorist follow rules most of the time. I’ve seen some crazy bikers who rides around cars during a stop light to get to the front or cut everyone without thinking. Just because you can fit around doesn’t mean you can go around cars like its no ones business. Use hand signal!!! I’m a mom with two kids who don’t want to go to jail for hitting a stupid…

    Reply

    • Sandra Paul
      February 22nd, 2012 15:00

      I like this! tell them Teine:)

      Reply

    • Chris Manor
      February 22nd, 2012 18:02

      “An operator of a motor vehicle may not knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly operate a motor vehicle within three feet of a moving bicycle, unless the operator of the motor vehicle operates the motor vehicle within a reasonable and safe distance of the bicycle.” (41-6a-706.5)

      Reply

    • Max
      February 29th, 2012 17:09

      Go Teine!

      The fact is that Utah Law states that bicycles are subject to all of the laws that motor vehicles are, but some bicyclists behave as if they aren’t. With the exception of a law that says they should stay as far right as is reasonable, preferably out of the way of motor vehicles unless they need to be to use a left-turn lane, etc., bicyclists are supposed to obey all traffic signs and signals (Utah Code: 41-6a-305, 41-6a-902, and 41-6a-208). There are A LOT of you who aren’t doing that.

      Drivers aren’t perfect. The amount of accidents we get into each year is proof enough of that. I think that the author is just trying to say that drivers can’t start watching out for you until we’re all working off the same rule sheet. Car accidents happen because someone acted unpredictably, but some (read: the bad) cyclists act like there are no rules at all.

      Reply

  8. Jay
    February 22nd, 2012 14:10

    Dear Nick…I hope you don’t kill any of us because you just stated your intent to harm. Just watch out for us. I’ve been hit numerous times and will continue to kick your car. Don’t be an idiot…and don’t piss and moan when your douchey audi that was bought with summer sales money is hurt

    Reply

  9. Steve James
    December 4th, 2012 17:09

    I see a lot of very defensive bicyclists. Who should “dictate” the rules of the road? Nobody. However, cyclists not only risk death, but trauma in someone else’s life.
    I lived in Mexico for two years. The laws operate a little differently there. The rules is, you can do whatever you want, but don’t be stupid. I’ve seen full families crammed on a scooter weaving through traffic. It’s not safe here or there.

    Cyclists, get off your high horse, learn the rules, or accept the consequences of not following them.

    Reply

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