dammit I am tired of the passive and the aggressive war on bicyclists in this city. way too many “No bike parking” signs, drivers driving in bike lanes without regard to anyone’s safety, (or almost as bad) driving JUST behind us out of eye sight as if we impede your driving lane. Scary to see how many drivers who cannot calculate safe distance on either side. Trucks using dedicated bike lanes for parking even when there is ample parking to pull into, thieves running amok with tools to cut even the best locks in less than a few minutes and entirely too many people immediately blaming the DEAD cyclist when an accident happens.The fact that the cyclist is often no longer among the living should tell you that an accident involving a car and anything human-powered is not a fair fight. What is really going in in many cases is the driver either “doesn’t see” the cyclist at all (which tells you about the level of distraction and road awareness among many drivers) or the driver felt the cyclist had no right to the road and encroached on their space, resulting in a tragedy for one side. And yes, I am also tired of the few cyclists I see who have a disdain for bicycle traditions, including communicating with savvy drivers when possible with hand signals, using eye contact and acknowledgement and ceding the road to pedestrians when necessary. I see those cyclists, but I do not believe they actually number as a significant number of us. In order to ride a bike for a long period, one has to believe in those rules and to honor them. And those few who disregard the rules are just that, few. They are just more visible to those looking for examples of bad cyclists.
There seems to be a belief that the “grown up world” is about owning an auto and bicycles are for the immature, the Peter Pans of the world. That the rights of car drivers extend to the ownership of the road and that their decisions should override every other conveyance, even while they using their car as a weapon or wreaking havoc on the streets because of the distractions they have added to their driving time. For those who believe in auto-only roads, I would be happy to cede the highways to you and to take back the city streets for pedestrians, for cyclists and for low-powered motor vehicles. I am sure we’d all be a lot safer.

About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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