An Open Letter To A Stranger In A Helmet

{ 72 comments }

Dear bicycle commuter,

We haven’t formally met: I’m the woman with the little dog who you cycle past on your daily commute from your stressful city job, as you pedal with furious urgency so that you don’t miss an episode of MasterChef. First off, I’d like to say: well done for tossing your car keys aside and suiting up in bike shorts for either the environment, your fitness, or the perhaps the firm grabbing sensation of Lycra on your balls. I love your work.

Anyway, hello and nice to meet you. Yes, we’ve spoken before. Well, more accurately: you’ve spoken to me, and by ‘spoken’ I mean ‘yelled abuse at.’ Remember?

GET YOUR DOG OUT OF THE WAY!

BIKE RIDER COMING THROUGH!

MOVE OVER!

Or your most preferred, and yet cryptic form of communication:

Something about my presence on the trail is frustrating you—I get it, and that’s okay. I’m willing to talk this through, but in order for that to happen you need to slow down your aerodynamic $8000 push bike so that we can chat about what’s upsetting you. Since we both share the trail, it’s important that we get along, and our present form of communication is a little unsatisfactory. Your drive-by rage isn’t a two-way conversation.

For instance, when you yell, “WEAR A LIGHT SO I CAN SEE YOU!” I’m unable to compose something clever and punchy in time before you pedal off at 40 kilometers an hour into the night. Unfortunately, my comeback always occurs seconds late, or sometimes at 2 a.m. when I wake up laughing at a brilliant rebuttal, like, “Trees don’t wear lights, so why aren’t you yelling at trees?” (Retrospectively, my comebacks aren’t really all that clever or punchy, but I assure you they’re hilarious at 2 a.m.)

I’d like to tell you that, while lighting myself up would make your bike commute in the darkness a little more effortless, I feel that dressing up like Las Vegas makes me visible not only to you, but to every thug crouching in the bushes. Having well-adjusted night vision is vital to running away from a murderer (believe me, I think these things through).

I care about you, bike commuter. You’re doing your bit for our environment and that’s great. But it’s important for me that we put all rage aside so we can bring peace and love to this world, not aggression. There’s nothing better for the environment than clearing the air, right?

So please accept my simple request for us to talk. I completely understand you’re in a hurry to get home, with Masterchef on TV every night, and I know it’s unlikely that you’ll find the time to slow down and chat with me on the issues mentioned above.

So I’ve devised a system that will allow us to talk one-on-one: I shall roll a large log onto the trail, which, of course, you won’t see in the darkness because logs don’t wear lights! But once you come to a stop, I’ll come out of my crouching stance in the bushes and we can sort this through once and for all.

And don’t worry too much about my friend, who you’ll get to meet. Frida may look harmless with her petite size and all, but she’s actually quite violent! (I don’t know where she gets it.)

I look forward to seeing you again.

With love and respect,

Torre

Leave a Comment

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam August 2, 2011, 11:21 am

    Bike commuters are the same in my city too! Another hilarious read Torre… :)

    Reply
  • Sarah August 2, 2011, 11:49 am

    “Hey Torre, where’d ya get that flashing neon light mini dress?”

    “Oh this ol’ thang? I just threw this on for a simple stroll in the park. Makes me a target for lurkers and keeps me safe from Master Chef fanatic ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Pretty practical, right guys?”

    (Side note: this reply was not written at 2 am so it may not be as funny as I intended.)

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 2, 2011, 12:56 pm

      Ha ha. It has flashing arrows pointing south that say “Get some here.” Yep, it’s super effective.

      Reply
  • Toni August 2, 2011, 11:56 am

    haha I think everyone does the same…it’s 4am and you wake up thinking ‘crap, I should have said that instead I totally would have kicked his butt in come backs’. =)

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 2, 2011, 12:57 pm

      I know, I know. I’m still coming up with comebacks for nasty comments that teachers made to me when I was 16. The belated laughter takes away the pain. :)

      Reply
  • Eric Nepo August 2, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I agree (and I am a rider). I love bike riders. It helps the environment and decreases car traffic, which are both good in my book. But, they have a sense of entitlement that is unparalleled. For once, I’m not for bike riders following the same rules as cars. If you are on your bike, take some extra freedoms. Go through red lights and stop signs. Weave in and out of traffic. But don’t be a deuche (from the latin douchebagitus) and pretend that the roads were built for your riding enjoyment. They were not. Don’t be a deuche and wear a YELLOW JERSEY (unless you won the “tour de france”). As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to wear your precious licras since the 10 seconds it’ll save you won’t account to much.

    Most important, don’t yell at people. How about, politely say… on your left, so to alert your fellow pedestrian that you are about to come through. And after you go by, say thanks or give a friendly hand wave.

    Your truly from the land of L.A.

    Dr. Eric!

    Reply
    • Dyanne@TravelnLass August 2, 2011, 4:45 pm

      “fellow pedestrian” indeed, Dr. Eric! I too have nothing against bikers (I was one for years) but… Just ‘cuz you (Helmetman) opted to drop a $azillion on a whizbang bundle of spokes ‘n chrome, doesn’t make you any better than the OTHER pedestrians on the Planet (uh, I believe that’s why they call them “PEDals”, no?

      Reply
      • Beware of Falling Coconuts August 2, 2011, 5:35 pm

        Cyclists think there’s a pecking order: cars, bikes, pedestrians. They’re like the Jan Brady – the middle child who feels totally ripped off that they’re not as beautiful as Marsha or as cute as Cindy so they act perversely, taking it out on the little people, carving out their own piece of attention at 40 k/ph with helmet lights. They scream, “Move over!” but what the really mean is “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!”

        Reply
        • Torre DeRoche August 2, 2011, 8:24 pm

          Jan Brady—that’s hilarious.

          Reply
        • Rosalind August 3, 2011, 2:19 am

          “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!” <– that's gold!

          Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 2, 2011, 8:23 pm

      There are bike riders in LA? I’ve never seen one. Yellow jerseys are ALL THE RAGE here, or worse: factory-worker-style fluorescent vests (eyesores) for riding on a bike / pedestrian trail … with no cars! (Australians are safety obsessed douchebagituses.)

      Reply
  • Meg August 2, 2011, 6:45 pm

    I only wish I had more bike commuters in my area. Everything is too damn spread out…. but love it. Love it.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 2, 2011, 8:26 pm

      Melbourne is fantastic for bike riding because everything is close and it’s mostly flat. I’m all for bike commuting: it makes me proud to leave the house and see so many stylish Melbournians on bikes. I’m just less proud when they snap at me for existing in their aerodynamic air space!

      Reply
  • Stephanie August 2, 2011, 11:20 pm

    I love this! I really do. And the log idea is brilliant and would catch him by such surprise. Best of luck! ;)

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 2, 2011, 11:40 pm

      He’s going to wish he was wearing kneepads. Ha! (Why am I so evil? Send help!)

      Reply
  • Debbie Beardsley August 2, 2011, 11:35 pm

    I think you could write about anything and I would love it! Enjoyed reading another one of your posts. Go get him :)

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 2, 2011, 11:39 pm

      Thanks Debbie, that’s good to know because I tend to meander all over the place when it comes to topics.

      Reply
  • Pia Blair August 3, 2011, 12:20 am

    This is gold Torre, hilarious stuff. You have already made my day and its only 7;21am. You need to somehow forward this onto Catherine Deveney on twitter. She is often making witty swipes at bike etiquette in melbs and would love this I reckon’! I simply cannot wait to read your book now xxxx

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 12:49 am

      What a lovely compliment, given that you’ve already read my book! Well—it has changed a lot since draft 1. Okay, I’ll forward to Catherine Deveny, thanks for the tip.

      Reply
  • Noni August 3, 2011, 1:36 am

    At least your helmeted stranger lets you know he’s there. The one I most commonly encounter rides along the footpath from behind me, silent as a ninja, and scares the living shit out of me as he hurtles past. EVERY. FREAKING. TIME.

    Not to mention the fact that the road I’m walking beside HAS A BLOODY BIKE LANE. I have no idea why he doesn’t use that.

    From an irate Canberra Pedestrian who cannot ride a bike.

    (Sent here by @CatherineDeveny)

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 1:46 am

      I guess we all have our preferences. I don’t mind a gentle ‘ping’—it’s the furious, repeated pinging that really bums me out.

      Reply
  • Robert Cooper August 3, 2011, 1:37 am

    “Or your most preferred, and yet cryptic form of communication:”

    (large picture of bike bell ringing furiously)

    And when we do ride quietly past an unsuspecting pedestrian on a shared trail, without yelling out or ringing our bell or making a fuss in any way, what’s the most common form of reply from said startled pedestrian who’s just had their air of calm obliviousness shattered by the heretofore foreign notion that there may actually be another human being using the shared trail?

    “Use your bell!”

    Then there are the ones who do see/hear us coming and scatter all over the path like startled sheep, usually right into the middle of the line we’d already picked to get around them as safely as possible before they even knew we were there. Or the ones who call their un-leashed dogs across to them from the other side of the trail, RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, rather than letting the dog stay where it is for the half second it would take for us to get safely past.

    Oh, and the ones who keep their gaze firmly locked on the ground like they expect to find a stray hundred dollar note just around the next bend, or are so absorbed in their Very Important Conversation with a friend who may or may not actually be walking next to them, that they can’t even managed to see the bike coming STRAIGHT TOWARDS THEM until we’ve ridden safely around them, then yell out, “Watch where you’re going!” They’re my favourite!

    Nobody who rides a bike wants to hit a pedestrian, or a dog. And we certainly don’t want to end up going over the handlebars and landing on our faces (and then possibly in hospital) because some passive-aggressive smartarse thought it would be hilarious to lay a log across the path.

    So if you are out walking after dark, would it really be such a terrible idea to carry a small torch with you? Because, believe it or not, when that big bright shiny thing in the sky goes away, it is really hard to see you until we’re right on top of you. No, they don’t put lights on trees. They also tend not to put trees in the middle of shared bike/walking paths.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 1:58 am

      Yowzers. I’ve rubbed somebody the wrong way. Sorry about that—it’s just my bad middle-of-the-night humour talking, I wouldn’t dare loggify a bike rider, I’m not really violent with my actions, only in my imagination. BTW there is often logs in the trail put there by nature when the river floods. There are also branches across the trail after it’s windy, sometimes at the bottom of a steep hill. Those are not my branches or my logs, they are put there by the river, who is evidentially violently inclined.

      Thing is, when you ride a bike 40km on a dark trail, you’re going to encounter things you can’t see. Why? Because it’s nighttime and yes, the big thing in the sky goes away at night. If you’re going to propel yourself into that blackness, go for it! But it’s your responsibility to illuminate the path before you, just in the same way that cars have decent headlights. Whether I’m on the path, or a log is on the path (delivered by the river, of course), and you happen to hit it—YOU hit it. The log did not hit you. So protecting yourself against hitting things is really in your best interest.

      Reply
      • Robert Cooper August 3, 2011, 2:22 am

        “…protecting yourself against hitting things is really in your best interest.”

        Absolutely. Any cyclist riding after dark without lights is an idiot. The same goes for anyone riding too fast for the given conditions/visibility. If you can’t see what’s coming, assume something is and be ready to stop at a moment’s notice.

        Even with lights, though, it can be really hard to see somebody in your way until you’re almost on top of them, the same as if you’re travelling in a car. And car headlights are a light brighter than most bike lights.

        I wouldn’t have thought you personally would do the log across the path trick – something like that requires a particular kind of small-minded viciousness. I have heard of that, and worse (I won’t go into details, it might give people ideas) being done to riders on shared paths, though.

        Reply
        • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 4:08 am

          The guy commenting below certainly took me seriously! I’d never harm another human, but I think cyclists should be wary that it could happen. I once passed a giant branch fallen across the trail right at the bottom of a hill on a blind turn. I wonder how many cyclists got clotheslined that day? Riding into darkness as though it’s free of obstructions (human, dog or log) is a personal risk and demanding that people wear lights is a way of shirking responsibility for that risk.

          Reply
          • Robert Cooper August 3, 2011, 4:37 am

            “The guy commenting below certainly took me seriously!”

            Not to mention himself. Sheesh.

            What is it about lycra that gets people so wound up as soon as they put it on? Unless you’re in a race, there’s really no need for it. You just look silly. Yes, I know the shorts have extra padding. But still.

  • DonCuchara August 3, 2011, 1:45 am

    Cyclist here myself.

    Don’t take the bell as an offense, is just a gentle warning, maybe you think is like a car horn but is not, best to put up with that than your poor dog hurt by the cyclist hitting it.

    Please put your dog in your left, and consider the trail a two way lane, so don’t take the incoming traffic side with your dog.

    Trees don’t need lights because they are not on the trail, except when they fall, and then they are normally removed.

    Your offer of the log to knock the cyclist down is violent, I am quite sure the cyclist doesn’t want to hit you or your dog. After all, the hit will probably hurt more the cyclist anyway.

    Again, think that a yell or a “ping” hurts less than an accident.

    And please put on the light, if you have seen thugs then notify the police.

    Plenty of people are putting the light in the dog collar as well.

    Having said all this, some cyclist go way too fast on the trails, I think is fair to yell at them to ride on the road with cars if you see them doing that.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 2:03 am

      Hello Don, thanks for your comment.

      I’m a cyclist too. I just don’t yell at people. As mentioned above, I only have an issue with repeated, vigorous PINGing. My dog is trained to stay left (we’ll be screwed if we ever move to the USA!). I make sure she doesn’t go on the trail as her tiny doggy guts wouldn’t take well to an impact.

      Please see above comment regarding log—the river frequently puts logs and debris on the trail, as does the wind. If you come across one, it wasn’t me, I swear.

      I don’t wish to yell at anyone on the trail—I go walking to unwind, not to yell or be yelled at. I think it’s about mutual respect, is all. Cyclists want respect from drivers, pedestrians want respect from cyclists. We’re all sharing space. And expecting every person and dog to be illuminated is not the answer, though knowing our wonderful nanny-state government, it won’t be surprising if it becomes the law.

      Reply
      • DonCuchara August 3, 2011, 2:17 am

        Thanks for the reply, the yell is an unfortunate need sometimes, I think if they are yelling at you is because they actually saw danger, I don’t thinks is for pleasure.

        The light is the answer for you, even if you don’t like it, they are under ten dollars and it will avoid your blood pressure going mad.

        Much cheaper in the long run, as for the thugs, trust me, they can see you with or without lights, especially with a dog. Report them to the police or yell like crazy if you see them coming close.

        Reply
      • Eric Nepo August 3, 2011, 1:26 pm

        This is HILARIOUS!
        You bikers have taken too seriously the complaint by a fellow pedestrian (and biker). What I think is more hilarious is a) that you call it a “push bike”! lol…. I feel like I should be standing from behind and pushing the damn thing. b) is that these pro-pedestrian/pro-”push biker” fight makes me think that you all should be in a Michael Jackson Video of the “BAD” sorts and dance it out (cause you know you are a real “bad ass” when you dance off an issue!… and c), you aussies keep confusing me with putting your dog on “left” cause here, in the land of LA LA, where the toilet flushes the other way, we carry our dogs in our GUCCI bags!

        Reply
        • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 1:37 pm

          Oh my god I’m TOTALLY up for a dance-off!!! I’ll get my Running Man ready. That would resolve things quick-smart … what problem can’t be resolved with a bit of crotch-grabbing and some ‘OWW!’?

          Please bring a Gucci bag to Australia for Frida when you come. Carrying my asshole dog around in a designer bag would really suit me, I think.

          Reply
  • Peter August 3, 2011, 1:49 am

    An example of our age. Rage. Or pedestrian rage like road rage.

    Senica had this all worked out 2,000 years ago. Anger comes from being too optimistic. We live in an age when optimism is compulsory. We all have to be optimistic all the time. In Senica’s analysis a road user with rage has an unrealistic expectation that he/she will not meet any idiots when out, that there will be no frustrations.

    Best thing when we meet with idiocy, inconsideration, rudeness of frustrating delay on the road, trail or queue is to leave that frustration where we met it and move on. Do not take it home. Do not take it to bed to mull over. Just put it down and move on.

    Before starting out it helps to realise that we will meet idiots, grid lock, rudeness on the road, bike trail or queue and smile and wait for the frustration to pass. Do not carry frustration as an unpaying passenger. He will keep you awake at night and will keep you distracted from focusing on life tasks after predicable frustrations. No one has a right to be never frustrated.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 2:06 am

      I love your Zen attitude, this is exactly what I’ve learned after 2 years of walking on the trail and having my blood pressure boil. When cyclists yell, I say, “I don’t care!” and I move on. All talk of log revenge tactics is purely for the sake of humour because I don’t wish to perpetuate rivalry. Only with passive aggressive blog posts :)

      Reply
  • Dave August 3, 2011, 2:33 am

    As a cyclist, I have to agree with Torre on this. Just as I hope that cars lookout for and avoid me, cyclists should do the same for those travelling slower than them.
    For some reason, many cyclists in Australia think that every race is a time trial whereas in Europe, a person on a bike is more like a wheeled pedestrian. Probably because our helmet laws and lack of bike infrastructure scare off all but the most die hard types.
    I can understand where these cyclists are coming from though.
    “Wear a light!” – that’s because this is how the government talks to us. Yep, a Styrofoam hat & high vis vest is clearly the best way to avoid being hit by a texting p-plater or red light running motorist.
    Why are they commuting on the trail where you walk your dog? Because the government thinks it ok to have cyclists share 30cm of road edge with broken bottles, potholes, delivery trucks and opening doors.
    So if you want to walk on the trail without some two wheeled psycho mowing you down, support measure that make cycling more attractive to people like yourself. When cycling in Australia becomes like this http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/, we can stop and chat anytime.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 3:22 am

      Well put, especially: ““Wear a light!” – that’s because this is how the government talks to us.” Yes, citizens of this fine country do seem to love taking authority into their own hands. On occasion, I go out riding without a helmet (my choice to have my skull crushed, my choice to risk a fine) and yet, random strangers feel the need to give me the “Where’s your helmet, young lady?” as though I’m a kid in a schoolyard. Strange …

      I think it’s an issue of the bullied become the bullies.

      Reply
  • Ant August 3, 2011, 2:42 am

    Dammed if we do, dammed if we don’t – shout I mean.
    If we don’t yell out ( my call is “bike on your right” but calls differ) we risk slamming into you – I do slow down but even at 15kmh we’ll both be bruised and battered.

    We call out loudly because so many peds use ipods – the tell tale white wires – if we see them – are a trigger to yell rather than call. If you happen to have “Khe San” on too loudly, you may not hear us and we risk riding into you when you leap into the front wheel.

    If we don’t see you, we slam into you – hence the need for something reflective – even if its just a small reflective tab on the shoes or clothing – or dog for that matter.

    So you see it’s for your benefit that we call out, its not because we wear lycra, that being totally irrelevant to the discussion.

    You seem to exclude any form of warning we may choose to offer – shout,yell,ping – what do you want us to do? dismount, walk alongside every single ped? have a chat? would you want that if you were walking on the sidewalk from every car that came past?

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 3:41 am

      Problem is, when I’m walking at 5.30 p.m. it’s not that relaxing to hear these loud warnings every 12 seconds. I hear your dilemma, but it’s like being verbally steamrolled. Cyclists may be helping carbon pollution, but the byproduct is some serious noise pollution. The Yarra Trail is one small slice of Melbourne that still feels wild and un-city-like. Yet increasingly, it’s impossible to escape into the quiet sounds of nature.

      Sometimes, if I’m walking behind a slow, old lady and I want to go faster than her, I don’t startle her with: “PASSING!!” I just slow down and respectfully pass when possible. That’s courtesy, isn’t it?

      A quiet ‘ding’ is sufficient. When I cycle home on the Yarra Trail (in Lycra, on occasion!), I only notify the people who look (a) tipsy, (b) confused, (c) from out of town, or (c) as though they’re likely to suddenly dash onto the other side of the path. Joggers keep a straight line. Dog walkers keep a straight line. Kids don’t. People walking in packs don’t. You can tell who is likely to be unpredictable and adjust accordingly, much like driving a car. Otherwise, I stay quiet and pass in peace. If someone happens to be wearing headphones and is prone to random lurching from one side of the trail to the other, they’re stupid and we don’t all need to give up our freedoms because of stupid-guy.

      Reply
      • DonCuchara August 3, 2011, 4:03 am

        “A quiet ‘ding’ is sufficient. When I cycle home on the Yarra Trail (in Lycra, on occasion!), I only notify the people who look (a) tipsy, (b) confused, (c) from out of town, or (c) as though they’re likely to suddenly dash onto the other side of the path. Joggers keep a straight line. Dog walkers keep a straight line. Kids don’t. People walking in packs don’t. You can tell who is likely to be unpredictable and adjust accordingly, much like driving a car.”

        You cannot pick all these details in the darkness dear.

        Love the Yarra Trail ;-) you probably have seen me running “in straight lines” hehe

        Thanks for the post and all the replies, love Melbourne and people like you that make this city super cool.

        Reply
        • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 4:24 am

          Oh, you run in straight lines? Me too!

          Thanks for your comments and compliments ;)

          Reply
      • Robert Cooper August 3, 2011, 4:19 am

        Kids (on bikes, at least) usually do keep a straight line, I find, unless some idiot parent who seems to think I’m just going to ride right over the top of their little precious yells out to them to “Watch out!” This startles the young child on the bike, causing them to suddenly zigzag all over the path instead of maintaining their nice, straight trajectory.

        Reply
  • Stuart August 3, 2011, 3:24 am

    This post is an incitement to violence that you, a non-cyclist seem to think is acceptable simply because one cyclist shouts at you. You poor precious dear. If you did that to me, you’d be in court, assuming I survived – but then you’d be in court anyway, wouldn’t you? Probably not as most probably you’d run off into the night with no regard laughing at how you’d injured a cyclist. Its funny huh? Why do you think violence against cyclists is acceptable?

    Dogs and their owners are one of greatest hazards the cyclists on shared paths, usually allowed a very long leash by their owners who seem to think their dog has the same rights and should enjoy the same freedoms as a person. It shouldn’t and it doesn’t. It’s a dog. Keep in on a short leash and only take one half of the pathway. Don’t walk all over the place. Stay left. Be predictable. Also, re bells – or as you refer to them,a ‘cryptic form of communication’. It’s a bell dear and as you seem incapable of understanding its meaning, here’s a tip: its warning you that a bicycle is approaching from behind and is a MANDATORY piece of equipment on a bicycle. The cyclist is shouting at you probably because you don’t pay attention and are not sharing the path. So look to your own behaviour before you piling scorn and inciting violence.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 3:44 am

      Thanks for your thoughts, Stuart. You’ve added great value to this conversation.

      Reply
    • Robert Cooper August 3, 2011, 4:38 am

      Your FACE is an incitement to violence!

      Reply
      • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 7:07 am

        I’m assuming you mean Stuart’s face, as my face is only criminally guilty of being gorgeous! Ha! (Man, I’m certain that I’m the only one laughing at my jokes sometimes … oh well.)

        Reply
  • Sally August 3, 2011, 3:38 am

    The guy actually yelled fashion tips at you from his bike? Woah. You should really yell something back about his bike shorts… or his manners. And who wears a light while they’re walking? That’s like asking the zombies to come find you.

    Reply
  • Ally August 3, 2011, 4:11 am

    I got hit by a cyclist last night while I was walking home through North Melbourne. I was walking across the street at a green light (but the man was red) and a lycra clad cyclist turned left into the street I was walking across, drove into me, then spat out at me “you deserve to be hit, THE MAN IS RED”, which I assume means he hit me deliberately to teach me a lesson. I think my stream of expletives shocked him as he rode away though. I commute by bike frequently too, and it can be perilous, but don’t take it out on pedestrians doing what is expected – walking across the road on a green light.
    Big thanks for the bruise though mate.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 4:18 am

      Oh no! Sorry for your bruise :( A friend of mine was here from Italy and she got hit in a similar fashion in the CBD (though she had a ‘green man’) and she got knocked down and bruised from hip to knee. No apology.

      But it’s not ‘cyclists’ because that would be perpetuating an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. It’s just a-holes, and some of them happen to be on bikes. There’s plenty of ‘em in cars too, but we don’t hear their rage as much.

      General rule of thumb, whether on a bike, on foot or in a car: be nice to people, ya’ll. If you want to help the environment, help by being a kind person.

      Reply
    • Robert Cooper August 3, 2011, 4:53 am

      Green man means walk. Red man means don’t walk. Not that hard to figure out, I wouldn’t have thought.

      Not that I never cross when the man is red, but I make sure I have a bloody good look before I do.

      You didn’t deserve to get hit, but please be more careful next time you decide to break the road rules.

      Reply
  • Tom August 3, 2011, 4:49 am

    Hahaha I love this line “Trees don’t wear lights, so why aren’t you yelling at trees?”

    And WOW at some of the comments…humour seems to be lost on some folks! People got issues…

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 4:58 am

      Thank you for understanding—I’ve been waiting for the cops to show up with handcuffs. But I’m not totally surprised by the literal interpretations—the guy who made the ‘Stralya Day’ parody got into trouble with a few folks who don’t understand humour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4AchHTN-XQ

      Reply
    • Ant August 3, 2011, 5:14 am

      Trees don’t step out in front of you when you least expect it. I’d “PING,PING” every tree if they did…

      Reply
  • Denise August 3, 2011, 5:30 am

    I hear you. I hated Amsterdam for the super annoying and insensitive cyclists (I got ‘stupid!!!!’ hurled at me when I accidentally put one foot in the bike lane on my first day there – and no, the man was not wearing lycra). Zurich, at least, still respects the fact that people might actually also want to walk on pavements.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 5:44 am

      This is an interesting point: tourists arrive in new countries and don’t understand the protocol, and yet the verbal abuse is delivered regardless. It’s not a very nice way to get received in a country. I often feel bad when my family comes to visit the city from the suburbs, because they don’t understand the shared city path protocol. Each outing begins with me instructing everyone on the rules: “Now, you must stay to the left, otherwise bike riders will yell at you.” But someone always forgets and wanders into the bike lane. Once, a bike rider yelled at my sister, “Control your kids!” because her little ones were running to and fro to feed the horses off the side of the path. *Sigh* There’s just no need for the aggression.

      Reply
  • yellow August 3, 2011, 11:28 am

    I have a theory that is loosely based on many brief observations from my distant vehicle:

    Demographics!

    These riders are invariably male, in the age group of 28 to 48 and my guess is they are also aggressive, frustrated middle managers who earn well-abov average incomes and whom want to get their own way in life, but don’t.

    Then they get home, shave their legs, take their underpants off, paint on the licra, place on their lid, mount their carbon beast, grit their teeth and imagine they are going into a battle where they are the numero uno.

    They then ride off and the rest is what we see all the time.

    Little dick syndrome.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 3, 2011, 3:37 pm

      This is hilarious. I’ve got no idea where the unnecessary aggression comes from, but your analysis certainly forms a solid picture! If I was writing a novel, this would be the perfect character study. Though if I agree with you, I fear the neighbor’s house might catch on fire again (it already had it happen once today … coincidence, or a cyclist’s warning?).

      Reply
      • yellow August 3, 2011, 11:59 pm

        Wimp!

        Reply
        • yellow August 4, 2011, 12:03 am

          Lawdy, replying to my own comment……I do actually need to be careful (he he) as my apparent agression is now reflecting in my 5 Y.O. yelling “Licra!” whenever we venture near the said folk in our vehicle!
          Oh the influence of our children to change our behaviour!

          Reply
          • Torre DeRoche August 4, 2011, 12:12 am

            Nurturing discrimination from an early age. Very M’ton Peninsula of you. :)

  • Ekua August 3, 2011, 5:37 pm

    Experience an abundance of aggressive bike riders in Berlin! Just tweet about it actually. They are like that insane guy from this Portlandia video (http://youtu.be/qbZn07rZJ88), but because the bike riders tend to stick to the sidewalk, most of their aggression is aimed at pedestrians. Actually had a guy grab my arm to tell me to move because I was partially in the bike lane as I tried to cross the street. If I spoke German…

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 4, 2011, 12:08 am

      I love that Portlandia clip, I must’ve watched it about 50 times. So this aggression is universal, it seems. Bike + angry person = mayhem.

      Reply
  • Rease August 4, 2011, 6:49 pm

    Ahhh psychotic cyclists are terrible! I also support their fitness/environmental efforts, but that doesn´t give them the right to take over roads and sidewalks!

    Get the log. It is totally time for a chat.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche August 7, 2011, 4:57 am

      Nobody has the God-given right to be an asshole, even if they’re on two very expensive wheels.

      Reply
  • Kat August 5, 2011, 8:34 pm

    I think you’ll enjoy this (if you haven’t already seen it)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3nMnr8ZirI&playnext=1&list=PLFC4F34213B517C29

    Reply
  • Chris Walker-bush August 12, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Ha! This had me laughing my ass off. I love myself a bit of tongue in cheek sarcasm.

    Here’s hoping he stumbles across your blog :-p

    Reply
  • Krys September 12, 2011, 8:42 pm

    Thanks for this post, Torre – hilarious!

    Interestingly enough, I wrote a similiar piece about the runner vs driver relationship. As a runner, drivers are particularly rude – they honk, they cat-call, they throw things at me. A driver once threw a stryofoam cup full of soda at me, which is not only bad for the environment but I had to finish my run a sticky mess. I think it’s the anonymity of their cruelity that they crave – like cyber bullying. Since the driver (or in your case, the biker) is traveling too fast for you to retaliate, they take the opportunity to take out their fusturations without having their reputation tarnished by their actions. They won’t be happy until they hit me… and I sue them.

    Reply
  • Dustin August 10, 2012, 12:54 am

    I lol’d. But what if the two of you changed positions… Hmm.

    My two cents on Bike People Who Care Less About Other People in Their Way: Don’t they know they’re still gonna reach their destination if they’re not jerks?

    Reply
  • Rosa Maria December 18, 2014, 10:05 pm

    Can’t stop laughing! :D

    Reply