Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Don't Forget To Think... And Help Others Think Too!

Yup!  That's kind of an odd name for this blog post.  I recently had an experience riding near home that prompted this Facebook post and tweet:

Riding up Annandale Road today. ...
Dude in a Benz: Get the F%#* off the road!
Me (in a cheery, happy voice): Oh! No thank you. I'll just keep riding legally. Have a great day!
Dude in a Benz: Uhhh... Have a good day.
I'm guessing the guy either wasn't thinking when he first yelled at me... or at least wasn't thinking very well.  He sure as hell stopped to think before he drove off though. 

Things sometimes happen quickly when we're riding.  When someone passes aggressively our instinctive reaction is to yell at them or use hand gestures to express what we're feeling.  It happens to all of us and it is very hard to resist.  It also is usually an instinctive reaction, rather than a thought process. 

Doing so sometimes feels good for a moment, but we lose an opportunity when we do that. 

1)  We lose an opportunity to challenge the way people think about cyclists;
2)  We make it easy for people to drive without thinking and behave in a similar fashion again;
3)  Most of all, we make it easy for our actions on the bike to be guided without the use of thinking.

I'm not saying don't ever yell at motorists.  Sometimes yelling alerts a driver to our presence.  Use that voice for safety, not as a weapon.  The difference is subtle, but significant.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great bike ride.


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