A letter I am considering sending to our local paper. It is doubtful they would publish it, so I am putting it here.
It is beautiful days like this that make me very grateful that I am able to make my short commute to work by bicycle. It is a wonderful way to wake up in the mornings and is very relaxing for me to pedal home after a long day at my desk.
What is not wonderful is how drivers in this town continue to make bicycling here terrifying. I understand that sometimes it is frustrating trying to get around a cyclist when you want to go much faster than they can pedal, but I assure you that that person is doing everything they can to get out of your way because they have no desire to by run over. There are limited bike lanes here which make it more difficult to get around town safely. A small amount of patience is appreciated when the person pedaling in front of you ifs trying to do something for their health, for the environment, and even their wallets as they try to save gas.
An issue I would really like to address is the constant honking at cyclists for whatever reason the driver finds necessary to do so. First of all, it is rude. Second of all, it scares us when you come roaring up behind us and blare your horn. I understand your hurry, but if you run over a cyclist because you startled them while they were riding; I assure you that you will be detained even longer by the mess you have created on the road and hopefully by the police as well.
I would also like to address the men who feel that they need to hang out their windows and yell when they pass me and other female cyclists. A few small points:
A) When you pass me and yell out your window, all I hear is “Hey……hfdisojhfkldsjioasyruihhjfnds” as you fade away and pass me. I am sure you are telling me something very clever and eloquent, but it is totally wasted on me.
B) Please, on the off chance that I understand you, please do not yell anything to me that you would not want yelled to your mother/sister/girlfriend/wife. If you don’t have any of these people in your life, take a step back and think about why that might be.
C) As you lean out of your truck window with your ears flapping in the wind, you resemble a dog hanging his head out of the window. Except, dogs are cuter and it is socially acceptable for them to drool and be the animals they are.
One last thought to leave you with, please remember as you rush somewhere, you most likely will not die if you do not get there in X number of minutes. However, I stand a decent chance of it if you do not slow down and pay attention. Just show cyclists the same courtesy that you would want someone to show you and we can all share the road and everyone will get where they need to be safely.
A Commuter Cyclist