For the past year, I didn’t live far enough from work to bother bicycling (I was walking to work), but I recently started a new job, so yesterday was my first bicycle ride to work and back. It felt great! It was also nice that the snow had melted so that there was room for me on the side of the road. But on my way home, an ignorant motorist shouted out the window to me. “Get off the ____ road, you _____!” You may fill in the blanks with “public” and “bicyclist” if you wish, but that would not really convey the spirit of what the boy said. Well, he looked like a boy, to me.
I saw their car pull into a coffee shop at the next light, so I coasted into the lot, waited for him and the girl who was driving to get out of the car, and (once I saw he wasn’t bigger than me, heh heh) said “Nice mouth you have there!” Yeah, that was the sum total of my amazing wit.
You’d think that, after cyclo-commuting all these years, my brain would have a larger set of responses for dealing with these people. But no, that’s all I could muster. When he countered “Get on the sidewalk, stay out of the road,” I could barely reply that sidewalks are for walking.
Maybe I need to take longer rides, because I was out of breath from catching up to him at the red light.
After I pedaled away, I thought of some really pithy comebacks. Great timing. I could have said “When you go for your driver’s license test, maybe you’ll learn that cars and bikes share the road.” I KNOW, isn’t that CUTTING?!? I’m so witty.
I think what I should do instead of breathlessly stuttering at offensive motorists (and their passengers) is carry with me a bunch of little cards that give the NYS DMV web address for the page that talks about how cars and bicycles have to share the road, with a brief statement about safety on the other side of the card. A little less “crazy old guy on a Schwinn” and a little more “if it’s on the web, it must be true” instead.
What do you think?