Today was a bike commute day, as Lo-town and I are taking a birthday friend to dinner tonight. Run commuting is achievable with planning and timing, even in 90-degree Georgia heat; however, run commuting to a social engagement can be a boggy matter, especially in 90-degree Georgia heat. We will touch on that topic in the coming weeks.
A mile and a half from work, whom do I see? Why, Josh Woiderski, run commuter!
Our morning mirth was dampened soon after, though, when we encountered one of my nemeses.
Josh and I chatted for two blocks while I rolled along in the bike lane, snapping photos. Conversation ended when I had to go around an SUV parked in the bike lane, though I complimented the baffled driver on her 2,000-pound bicycle. Silly citizen. Don’t you know bike lanes are for parking package delivery trucks and church-goers?
I have learned as a bike commuter to react civilly to motorists blocking bike lanes (Atlanta boasts but a few miles of such), huffing and puffing, yet refraining from blowing their cars down, or up, or what have you. I can go around. And dial up parking enforcement. Then report the violation loudly while the violator looks on.
But our sidewalks are already broken and shattered, tattered fragments of weed-choked cement and bizarre hexagonal pavers. If you want to train for trails, come run in Atlanta. I can deal with double-parkers and bike lane parkers, and keep my cool; however, if I encounter cars parked on sidewalks and there is no house party a-happenin’, then the kid gloves will come off.
No one wants to deal with a towering, gaunt man cascading sweat, raving manically and wide-eyed beneath a nimbus of Gene Wilder-esque hair, and I do not want to be one. It is the same old argument but I will try it again: let us all work together.
Runners and run commuters: I know you like running in the gutter, for some reason, but please hop out of the road (or bike lane) for oncoming bicycles, so they are not forced further into traffic’s flow. When you see someone approaching on the sidewalk or trail, please move to the right, just as you were taught by polite society since … uh … forever.
Bicyclists: get off the sidewalk. Please. Seriously. Obey traffic devices: bicycles are vehicles. This means red lights, turn lanes and signals, yield signs and the like. Especially red lights. Especially red lights. Any time a newspaper does a bicycle infrastructure or policy story, read the online comments. They usually go along the lines of, “WE HAVE TO SHARE THE ROAD BUT THEY CAN RUN STOP SIGNS AND RED LIGHTS THIS IS AMERICA USA AND I WILL NOT.” (They often are in all-caps.)
Motorists: everyone realizes you have somewhere to be but, please, look both ways before you turn right. Runners, walkers, parents with baby strollers might be approaching. Please pull up to the crosswalk, check for pedestrians, then pull forward to see better, rather than tear right up to the end of the street. Do not park across the sidewalk, or crosswalk, or bike lane, or two handicapped parking spaces, or two or more handicapped people: basically, don’t be a jerk. And we will stay off the interstates.
And as for YOU, airplanes, helicopters and blimps: please do not crash into us. Especiall you, blimps, because you are the awesomest of us all.