Fair is Fair

20 Oct

I find there can be peer pressure even when riding bikes.

When riding in a group, you have individuals riding a multitude of ways.

You might have a rider pass the group of riders on a hill in the other lane where they can’t see (as far as I can tell) whether a car is coming up on the other side of the hill.  Seriously – I ‘m not kidding.

There are crazy drivers, there are crazy cyclists too.  Crazy is just, well, crazy.

More commonly, you have some riders who stop at stop signs, and some who don’t.

I’m not talking about a put your foot down and stop (unless the situation calls for it, say at a red light or a two way stop with traffic); I’m referring to a quick stop and then go, such as at a four way stop.

At a two way stop where the opposing traffic has the right of way and there is traffic I will stop and then go when traffic allows.  Not everyone stops in that situation, I find that surprising.

I guess I am a naive group rider.  I have been riding consistently for 20 years and 99% of that time has been by myself or with Mark,

I know how to ride in groups in that I ride predictably, hold my line, take pulls, etc.  What I don’t know how to do is ride in “group think”.  I have enjoyed my recent rides with a group, nice people, and it is fun to mix our rides up.

The dilemma is how to ride according to my own rules of the road, yet still ride as part of the group.

I have not always adhered so strictly to the laws of the road regarding stop signs.  However, about three years ago I decided if I expected drivers to follow the law regarding me as a cyclist, to be fair, I had to adhere to the law too.

Moreover, I read an article by a longtime cyclist and editor with Bicycling Magazine where he talked about riding as an ambassador of cycling.  It clicked for me and became my philosophy as a bike rider on the street.  I look at every driver as a potential foe or friend (I’ll take neutral party).

Is my behavior on the bike going to give him/her a favorable opinion of cyclists or a negative one.  That opinion will carry over to some degree to the next cyclist they encounter.   I have a responsibility to my fellow cyclists to make sure their experience isn’t worsened because of something I did or did not do.

A result of that change in attitude/behavior has been that drivers on the whole are more courteous and respectful. Sure, there are still the a….. but they are the exception.  All in all, my time on the road is less frustrating and most importantly, safer, when I follow the law and ride as a goodwill ambassador on a bike.  It is worth what it costs me in time, energy, speed.

I believe in being fair, the world isn’t fair, but I believe we should treat each other fairly.  I am learning to claim my legal right on the road and to stay away from the “white line of death”.  I have a right to be on the road, and I expect drivers to honor that.  I recognize that they may not, but all I can do is to do everything in my power to protect my own safety.  Part of that is to follow the laws of the road.  The same laws that I expect drivers to follow – fair is fair.

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