I’m always such a nice, generous person with never an evil thought for another individual.
Which is, of course, why I have road rage.
And since it’s helpful to vent hateful feelings (I mean, spreading hate makes the world a better place, right?) I decided to expound on why I hate cyclists in Provo.
Actually, allow me to offer a caveat before I begin. The cyclists that are clearly serious about biking–you know, the ones with expensive bikes, wearing exercise gear and other protective gear like HELMETS–they don’t do most of these things. I can generally count on them to be reliable and safe vehicles on the road with me. This is not about them, although I do use the term “cyclist” generally.
But the college kids and the hipsters who bike around, helmetless, feeling so cool about themselves with their vintage road bikes and special specialness?
I hate them.
In the great state of Utah, bicyclists are legally considered moving vehicles. This means that they are required to do things like stop at stop signs and red lights. Cyclists in Provo almost NEVER do this. In the 4+ years I’ve lived here I can literally count on one hand the number of cyclists I’ve seen stop at stop signs (and there are a lot of stop signs here). The last time I saw one do it, I wanted to pull over and give him a hug. They are slightly more likely to stop at stoplights, but not much.
In addition, as part of being a vehicle, cyclists are supposed to drive on the road. You know, like how I can’t drive my Jeep on the sidewalk? Well, cyclists aren’t supposed to either. They, unfortunately, haven’t figured this out. Cyclists not only frequently ride on sidewalks (which should be the prerogative of pedestrians and strollers, of which there are many here), but they arbitrarily switch between sidewalks and streets as it fits them. Dear cyclists: Provo actually has bike lanes. BIKE LANES. This means that we car users are giving up precious (and when I say precious, I mean it) side of the road parking so that you can feel special and have your own special little lanes. SO PLEASE USE THEM. This also means that I never know when that biker over there riding on the sidewalk is going to suddenly jump into the street and cross very close to my vehicle because all of a sudden they have to turn left.
Oh, and speaking of turning left, cyclists arbitrarily decide to use crosswalks ALL THE TIME, instead of getting into turn lanes and using turn signals. (Cyclists who use turn signals hold a special place in my heart, right next to cyclists who obey stop signs and stop lights.) This means that at intersections, not only do I not know if they will actually stop when they’re supposed to, but I also have no idea how they will behave because they might have to turn.
The long and short of this is that I have absolutely no idea how cyclists will act on the road. I don’t know if they’re randomly going to jump right next to or in front of me, or if they will stop at their stop sign when I have the right of way. And to add insult to injury, bicyclists also love to ride on the wrong side of the road. You know, because they can’t decide if they’re pedestrians or bikers. Because they don’t realize that being on a bike inherently makes you NOT a pedestrian (the PED- in pedestrian should give it away). And what they don’t seem to get is that if they do something stupid and I hit them, they are the ones that will lose. Bicyclists ALWAYS lose against cars. Also, they might dent my car with their squishy, little, unprotected bodies.
Provo Police have the time and facility to give you a ticket at 2 AM for being parked two inches into a red zone, but they apparently don’t have the time to stop ANY cyclists engaging in illegal and dangerous behavior. I can assure you that if cyclists had to pay fines for being idiots, that they would quickly lower the amount of idiotic behavior they engage in on the roads. (It’s worked on BYU campus.) They may even start obeying the law, heavens to Betsy.
And the thing that really gets me about all of this illegal behavior? If I hit them while they’re engaging in any of the aforementioned illegal behavior, I may not be in legal trouble since they are the delinquents, but nothing will stop me from feeling horrific for hitting a human being on an unprotected bike with my car.
The special college kid cyclists also rarely wear helmets which, although not illegal, is supremely stupid. I have literally seen a bicyclist who was too cool to wear a helmet lying in pools of his own blood on the road in Provo.
It wasn’t cool, and it wasn’t fun. (Fortunately the ambulance was arriving to help him out as I arrived on the scene.)
So cyclists may feel all good about themselves for exercising and saving the planet with their non-fossil fuel powered bikes, but their unreliable behavior and law-flaunting habits are making Provo a more dangerous place to drive and live.
Because, you know, we need our roads to be even MORE dangerous than they already are.