Appalled

Okay, not so much appalled as surprised. (Al, this is normally your territory) I have been riding my bike in New Haven for a couple of weeks now with no complaints. I’ve gotten nods from motorists and shouts of approval from pedestrians but never have I experienced any hostility. That is, until today. I spent my lunch hour today at the local bicycle shop getting my handle bars adjusted and a rear bike rack put on. While, I was there I picked up a pamphlet titled “Share the Road”. I read it, stuffed it in my backpack and didn’t think much of it….until some rude motorist shouted at me and Conor. We were stopped at a stoplight and a woman pulled up aside us and told us in the most motherly way possible, “You should really ride on the sidewalk because you’re holding up trafffic.” My immediate thought was, “Bitch! I AM traffic!” but of course my sensible side took over and I merely said, “Actually, it is safer for bicyclists to ride on the street, with traffic”. But, of course, she wasn’t having ANY of it. Conor and I continued explaining what the laws actually are but they just kept shouting back at us. Finally, we yelled “YOU SHOULD DO SOME RESEARCH!” and we were met with one special finger. You know the one. The light turns green and VROOOM! they speed off. I’m thinking of keeping those “Share the Road” pamphlets in my back pocket from now on.

I guess it was naive of me to think that I could ride my bike on the streets of New Haven with no complaints. I should have expected this moment sooner or later. Why shouldn’t I have? It’s not their fault they don’t know where cyclists should ride. When I was in driving school, I never had one single thought for bicyclists. I only pictured myself alone in my car, listening to good tunes and just cruising along. Fine, these motorists are ignorant but why shouldn’t they be? I don’t read up on the “Rules of the Road” for fun. So, why should they? The real problem is with the city. Why aren’t there bike lanes? Don’t we even deserve a silly lane with an abstract bike painted on the asphalt? There are no street signs warning of cyclists, just a “No Turn On Red Sign” which, most motorists choose to ignore anyway.

So, the question the comes to mind “Am I upset with the woman for yelling at me?” OR “Am I upset with a society that doesn’t know any better?”

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