After I left my job to focus on school full time, I decided to get a bike to reduce my commuting expenses and inject exercise into my daily routine (outside of the gym). As a pedestrian, I am far more afraid of bikes than I am of cars, because bikers are assholes. They have the attitude of pedestrians (meaning they feel they have the right of way) without the dexterity to get out of the way or stop quickly. I’ve never been hit by a car in this city, but I’ve been swiped by a bike messenger.
So I have a bike now that I started riding almost immediately. It took me about 3 rides to Hulk-morph into an asshole! I just needed some strength in my legs. Those cars need to get out of my way. Those pedestrians need to look before stepping out. Everyone needs to get out of my bike lane!!!
Now, my momma raised me right which means that I might be a bike asshole, but I’m a polite asshole. When people get out of my way or give me the right of way (that is actually mine), I am quick to shout, “Thank you!” But my daddy raised me right too which means when they cut me off or honk at me for no damn reason, I have a special New York hand gesture for them.
One thing I am still working out is the balance between assholism and safety. These are not opposites. You have to own the road in order to take the road. There is a point though where the asshole becomes unsafe: taking turns that almost end up in crashes, not looking before merging, exiting a bridge at speeds that don’t leave room for mistakes. I’ve had one close-ish call which wasn’t so much of an asshole moment as thinking a light was red when it wasn’t it.
I’ll keep working it out. I love riding my bike. There is something amazing about getting to where you need to go only on your own power, even if runners can sometimes pass you as you go up the Williamsburg Bridge.