This week is Bike to Work Week in Washington, D.C., which is a perfect opportunity to point out why the vast majority of bikers are huge jerks who ruin the road for the rest of us. I’m not saying they’re jerks all the time; just when they’re on their bikes. Kind of like how someone turns into a Mr Hyde version of himself when he climbs into a Prius.
I’m not even saying all bikers are this awful. Just most of them. Enough of them to give bikers a bad rep, even when some of us actually try to be considerate, safe, and respectful. So this Bike to Work Week, please do bike to work — just don’t be a jerk about it.
5. Biking on the road, without following the rules of the road
You know what I’m talking about — the bikers who use the bike lane or actually drive in the traffic lanes, but breeze through stop signs without pause, creep past red lights, cross lanes when they turn, and generally act like the rest of traffic should bend around them. This is incredibly unsafe — for bikers, drivers, and pedestrians. As someone who walks to work every day here in D.C., I could count on two hands (and a few toes) the number of times I’ve nearly been run down by a bike that had no intention of stopping for a red. Hills are no excuse. If your brakes are too poor to come to a full stop when you’re pointing downhill — or your legs are too weak to stop then start again while climbing uphill — then you shouldn’t be biking on the road. Get in shape, get a tune-up, and come back when you’re ready to bike safely.
4. Zipping down a crowded sidewalk at racing speeds
Even though it’s technically against the rules in some places (including D.C.), I don’t oppose people who choose to bike on the sidewalk. In fact, I think it’s a great alternative for people who aren’t in shape enough to keep up with traffic, and I don’t blame them for trying to keep themselves and others safe. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to race down the sidewalk as if all pedestrian traffic ought to dive out of your way. If you’re on the sidewalk, be prepared to pedal along at a walking pace until there’s enough space to get around people comfortably (don’t squeeze them), and then when you do pass, give them a ding of your bell or a toot of your whistle first so they’re not startled when a bike appears next to them.
I don’t care that it wicks off moisture or keeps you warm on chilly mornings or makes you more aerodynamic or never gets tangled in your gears. We do not need to see your balls. Put on a pair of basketball shorts.
2. Drunk biking
You want to hit happy hour after work, so you figure you’ll hop on your bike instead of taking your car, so you won’t drive drunk later? Guess what, biking drunk is also against the law in many places. And incredibly dangerous, to yourself and others. Call a cab, pick a designated driver, or take public transportation.
1. Biker bragging
No one cares that you biked to work this week. No one cares how much good you’re doing for the environment. No one cares about how fit you are. The coolest bikers are the ones who show up to work, put their helmet and bike shoes under their desk, and don’t make a big deal out of it. Be one of those people.