To Bike, Or Not To Bike?

by Elizabeth G.

You see, B’ham is not a bike-friendly town.  Oh, sure, we pretend to be.  We have a Bike To Work And School Day, a spattering of bike lanes, and lots of bike shops, but no actual idea on how to share the road.  This is not just from a biker’s perspective, but from a driver’s perspective as well. Every day, I debate whether or not I should bike to work.  It’s not a long bike, only about 4 miles, and most of it is on slower back roads, though they lack bike lanes.  However, I’ve had so many close calls with drivers and other bikers almost killing me, I’m pretty sure there needs to be some sort of formal education for bikers on the road.  (Mini-licenses, anyone?)  However, lacking that, I feel it is my duty to attempt to educate Bellinghamsters on safe road sharing.   So here are two open letters to the commuters of Bellingham:

Dear Drivers:

Bikes are vehicles too.  Bikes are not pedestrians.  When you stop for us randomly at intersections, it’s scary!  Are you distracted by that text message you just got, and will realize you have right-of-way and then kill me going through the intersection? Or are you trying to be nice?  Treat me like a tiny, slightly slower car, and we’ll be good.

Bike signals! USE THEM.

Dear Bikers:

Bikes are vehicles too!  That means you must obey all the traffic signs, signal turns, and stick to your f*cking lane!  When you’re swerving around (without a helmet, of course), I’m not sure if you’re being a jack*ss, or getting ready to make a turn.  Please remember that you are a tiny, slightly slower car, and we’ll be good.

Now: should I bike to work or not?