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Boom-de-yadda
There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
An open letter to my fellow bicyclists 
12th-Apr-2010 03:56 pm
Victor bicycle ad - purple background
Dear fellow bicyclists:

If I'm passing you at green lights and in the middle of the block, but you're getting ahead by running red lights, riding on the sidewalk, or going the wrong way down one-way streets, you're not actually faster than I am.

Just sayin'.

And I'm not the only one who feels this way.

ETA: Language lesson: definition of shoaling.
Comments 
13th-Apr-2010 01:20 am (UTC)
I had not known the term "shoaling", but something like it happens to me often as a pedestrian. It is satisfying to see someone and realize "hey, that's that person who jaywalked three blocks back.. man, they must be taking a non-optimal route".

And bicyclists who do the funky dodge of a right turn, a quick U-turn, and another right turn, just to appear that they did not run the light? There's a special place in hell for them. It isn't even a circle: it is a triangle.
17th-Apr-2010 05:49 am (UTC)
Actually, I've been wondering since you posted this. What Is the etiquette, if one tends to stay on the sidewalk? There aren't many pedestrians in Atlanta and I'm in no way comfortable riding on the streets with the asshats that drive here.

Also, the foot messenger in the second link? Hardcore.
18th-Apr-2010 02:14 am (UTC)
I tend to be a strong advocate for riding like a vehicle and taking as much space in the lane as you need to for safety and comfort, so I don't really have much (any) advice regarding sidewalk riding. Most bike advocacy sorts agree that it's more dangerous than riding in the street, because the auto drivers aren't expecting to have a bicycle come rolling out into the middle of the intersection and they can't react fast enough. (Hell, they're not usually expecting a pedestrian to walk out into the intersection, even if it's a crosswalk with a WALK sign.) If the bicyclist is riding in the street, the motorists may be annoyed by them, but at least they're more likely to see them.

It looks like the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is your local bike group. They'd have a much better sense of what the reality of biking in Atlanta is than I do. (According to them, cyclists in Georgia are legally entitled to use the road, regardless of what your local cagers may think.)

My own suggestion would be to swath yourself in blaze orange and safety yellow, maybe even with a flag attached to the back flapping four or five feet up, preferably with lots of reflective tape and blinky lights for after dark, and then take the lane just like you're legally entitled to. If a driver honks at you, act like you don't even hear them — I know you can't possibly be honking at me, so clearly you must be honking at someone else.

I am a pushy, uppity bicyclist who insists on taking her legally-entitled position on the road. I plonk myself smack dab in the middle of the lane and use body language of "you're damn right I'm supposed to be here". And for the most part, I've gotten very little static from auto drivers. I think it's in part because I project an attitude of I am exactly as entitled to be here as you are, and I have less than zero intention of "getting out of your way" even if you think I'm slowing you down.
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