Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things Media

Bikers Are A Menace (Rant)

I get that biking is becoming a popular means of transportation.  With gas prices being what they are, the economy being what it is and the cost of car ownership being ridiculous I can completely understand why people are opting to bike.  I have several friends and colleagues who have embraced the biking movement.  And why not, after all, there are so many great reasons to get into biking:

Recently, I moved back to Chicago from Minneapolis.  Not the burbs, but the city itself.  It’s been a bit of an adjustment.  Keep in mind I was born in New York, so it’s not like the concept of a city is new to me :)  The adjustment has been in dealing with the litany of bikers on the street.  Let me define “dealing.”  I get it, you have a bike, you’re all for the environment and you aren’t in a car.  Totally get it.  But, that doesn’t mean you own the road.  It doesn’t mean you get to run red lights, cut cars off (because you know if we hit you, it’s our fault), weave in and out of traffic and act like you’re invincible and above reproach.

Somewhere, somehow, bikers forgot the concept of sharing the road.  The road is being shared by bikes, cars and of course the pedestrians.  Bikers don’t own the road and when they position themselves as being super human and above the rules of the road, they create dangerous situations.  I had one of those dangerous situations this morning.  The street I take into work eventually comes to a narrowing point as it goes over a short bridge.  In essence, you go from 2 lanes to 1 lane.   So that means you go from 2 cars and a bike to 1 car and a bike.  We’ve all seen the “pain” that comes from merging.  It’s slow, cumbersome and difficult.  Add in the variable of bikers who think they own the road and you get chaos.  Just before you get to the bridge, there’s a stop sign.  I came to the stop sign this morning, let the car in the left lane go first, checked my mirrors, noticed a biker coming up on my right, let the car on the right (it’s a 3-way stop sign intersection) turn on to the bridge, then started to take my turn on the bridge.  As I accelerated through the intersection, the biker on my right who was behind my car, decided to try and “beat” me to the bridge.  So as not to cause an accident, I had to hit my breaks as I was still in the intersection and getting ready to get on to the bridge, which nearly cause the car behind me to hit me and the car coming from the right to hit that car.

The lack of patience this biker had and his belief that the road was his alone nearly caused a 3 car accident.  Dangerous.  I see this and other examples every day.  Once, I thought cab drivers were the most dangerous folks in the city, now I think it’s bikers.  If this keeps up, we’re going to end up with a situation where someone who’s less patient than me decides to turn their road rage, caused by a biker, into inspiration for simply running a biker off the road…or worse.

  • Genamazzeo

    Adam, please do not generalize like this. It is as dangerous as the jerk on that bike. As an avid cyclist, I have faced many dangerous situations where a driver was at fault for a near-accident and not the cyclist. In fact, a neighbor of mine was killed while riding his bike just a few weeks ago by a driver who thought she’d hit an animal so she kept driving. She wasn’t even aware enough of her surroundings to realize another human being was present, so she drove on, leaving Pat dead on the side of the road. The only consolation his family has is that he died instantly and didn’t suffer during the 45 mins it took for another driver to come by. So, saying cyclists are a menace is wholly inaccurate. The menace is jerks, whether they are behind the wheel of a car or on two wheels. There is no exclusivity when it comes to being an asshole. Both cyclists AND drivers have responsibilities when it comes to sharing the road. Yes, some cyclists break the law and ride stupid. But so do some drivers. We all have to share the road; some civility and respect for each other, and a full understanding of the laws, is key. So, please, do not lump me into the same category as this jerk you encountered. It does nothing to improve things between cyclists and drivers.