Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Primer Time: 30 things non-bicyclists can do for people who commute by bicycle

1.  Stop telling all the bicyclists you know how much you admire them but you're too scared to ride anywhere yourself.  We're (mostly) polite outwardly but we translate this comment as "I love running bicyclists over and can't wait to have a go at you so watch out."

2.  Stop telling us about the bicycle accidents you just read about and we'll stop telling you about the car accidents we just read about.

3.  Don't tell bicyclists to "Be safe."  Instead say "I resolve not to kill anyone with my car" or go with "I know I suck.  Hope you stay awesome."

4.  Don't tell us about that bicyclist you saw run a red light and how blah blah blah.  The crappiest bicyclist is not using a millionth of the resources that the best car driver is and guess what, you're not the best car driver.

5.  Ah you think you're the best driver?  For crissakes drive the speed limit already.  Fucking Mario Andretti.

6.  We don't care about your Prius.  Or your Volt.  Or your Tesla. 

7.  When you see us on the road, don't speed up.  Slow down.  Pass gently and respectfully.

8.  If you see a family bicycling together, expect that the parents will escort their children through intersections en masse.  This is because you suck and can't be trusted. 

9.  Make eye contact.  We might have the right of way but we're so used to your bullshit we can't trust you worth a damn.

10.  If you see two bicyclists riding side by side, shut the fuck up about it.  Thanks.

11.  If you see a little kid wobbling shyly along on their little kid bicycle slow down and give them plenty of room. 

12.  Newsflash:  Sharing the road means there are times when it is not your turn.  Those are the times you have to slow down or wait.  If you have forgotten how to share, return to kindergarten for a refresher course.

13.  We don't care why you don't bicycle. 

14.  We don't care why you live so far away from the office.

15.  We don't care if you are driving to the Farmer's Market, 50 miles away, because you like to "buy local."

16.  We don't care about what kind of bicycle you have at home.

17.  Kindly black out the "Denali" logo on your SUV.  It's offensive.  Replace it with something more appropriate like "Oily Polluter."

18.  If you run a bicyclist over, you should stop.  Duh.

19.  Don't tell your bicycling friends (and enemies) that they should wear a helmet.  It's none of your business.

20.  In fact refrain from all worthless advice.  If you aren't on a bicycle, you don't know what you're talking about.  Really. 

21.  Learn to apologize.  If you almost hit someone, roll down your window and say in your most sincere voice "I'm sorry.  I'll be more careful."  You might get yelled at.  Deal with it.  People get upset when you nearly kill them.

22.  Give extra room to drunk bicyclists.  Think about how excellent it would be if everyone bicycled when they were drunk instead of drove their car. 

23.  Look carefully before opening the door of your car.

24.  We don't care about that time, once, when you were much younger, and you bicycled somewhere. 

25.  We aren't your priest.  Don't confess your petroleum sins to us.

26.  Don't tell us about how you drive a zillion miles and love to fly over the equator but it's ok really because you're going to put up a solar panel.  It's just annoying.

27.  If you need help finding a safe route to work, definitely ask.

28.  If you see a bicycle being stolen drive your car over the thief, but please don't wreck up the bicycle.

29.  Come to a complete stop at stop signs.

30.  Never forget that your car is a weapon, and that with great mass comes great responsibility. 


  1. This is all marvellous advice, Chafe. I've posted a link to it on Facebook for all my cycling and non-cycling friends to see.


  2. Hear hear on #3! It's like a sniper yelling down from a clock tower to an unarmed civilian "be safe!"

  3. I love this so much. Would add:

    31. Don't immediately launch into a detailed description of your fitness and diet routines. I have no problem with people who cycle primarily for sport (despite a staggering number of them who opt to use the car to drive 0.5 miles to a bike path), but I don't, and other people's diet and exercise routine is about as interesting as... actually, I can't think of anything less interesting. Maybe the virtues of various car models.

    32. Don't say any version of this: "Did you hear about that pedestrian in San Francisco who was killed by a bike?" "Yeah, did you hear about the 3000 pedestrians who are killed every year by cars?" "But seriously, killed by a bike, that's just crazy."

    33. Don't look up the skirt of a lady bicyclist when she's stopped at a light and you're crossing in the crosswalk. Not because it's soooo offensive (pretty used to this shit after 30 years as a woman), but because you might make her fall out of her saddle from laughing at your pervy ass.

    1. These are excellent suggestions. If we had it my way, there would be a $10 fine for harassing people about the "paleo diet."

      Also I love 32.

      I have never bicycled in a skirt. Now I have something new to be grossed out about re: 33.

  4. This is perhaps the best advise on any topic that I think I've ever read! You, Chafed, are a G.D. genius!

    1. I blush.
      It was incredibly therapeutic to write. I am so appreciative to know a few other bicyclists who speak my language.

  5. Just saw this post and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. I have heard SO MANY of those things as well. It can make a person crazy! Thanks for writing such a great post about it.