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An open letter
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An open letter to the woman who honked at me and yelled at me to "get on the sidewalk" while I biked to work this morning:

Dear Ma'am,

Clearly you are ignorant of both the law and common sense when it comes to rules of the road. Let's start with the law. From the City of Minneapolis' official website: "Minnesota Bicycling law gives cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. This means that you have the freedom to ride on all streets, except for those which prohibit cyclists. In Minneapolis, prohibited streets include Nicollet Mall (Monday-Friday, 6 am to 6 pm) and all freeways." Is University Avenue a freeway? I think not. The page continues: "Cyclists are required to stay to the right, riding 'as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.' Exceptions detailed in Minnesota law include: when passing, when preparing for a left turn, and when necessary to avoid parked cars and surface hazards. An exception is also included for narrow width lanes. Typically this translates to cyclists riding just right of center of the lane that serves their destination. Bike riding too close to curbs and in gutters can be dangerous because of debris and decreased visibility to motorists.

Motorists should look at cyclists as slow-moving vehicles. Minnesota Driving Rules require that motorists pass cyclists with 'in no case less than three feet clearance, . . . and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle . . . '" That's pretty clear, Ma'am. I missed the part in the Driving Rules that say you should get intimidatingly close to a biker, honk at them, and yell at them for following the legal rules of the road.

Now for some common sense reasons that it's a bad idea to bike on the sidewalk. One study showed that sidewalk riding is twice as dangerous as riding in the street. Another study shows that it's even more dangerous than that. The Bicycle Safe website explains why it's so dangerous: "Crossing between sidewalks can be a fairly dangerous maneuver. If you do it on the left-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed as per the diagram. If you do it on the right-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed by a car behind you that's turning right. You also risk getting hit by cars pulling out of parking lots or driveways. These kinds of accidents are hard to avoid, which is a compelling reason to not ride on the sidewalk in the first place. And another reason not to ride on the sidewalk is that you're threatening to pedestrians. Your bike is as threatening to a pedestrian as a car is threatening to you. Finally, riding on the sidewalk is illegal in some places."

And last but not least, this video shows another good reason not to ride your bike on the sidewalk. You could be arrested and punched in the face four times by an idiot cop who accidentally maces himself in the face. And no one wants that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IHL1_CZExs

So I hope this has helped clear some things up for you, Ma'am. I'm not going to raise my level of risk of having an accident, cause harm to myself, my bike, another car or a pedestrian, or break the law simply because you are ignorant and abusive. University Avenue is a two-lane street, and if my presence in the right lane makes you nervous, there's a whole other lane you can enter to zip by me. But I ride this route every morning, and I can tell you plenty of other people have no problem sharing the right lane with me. Yes, sometimes they need to slow down for 6 seconds if they can't squeeze around me, but I don't think I've ever caused anyone to add any extra time to their commute. That is, unless they feel the need to slow down and lecture me for a while.

Sincerely,

Mo

P.S. Sorry I gave you the finger. Just because you're rude is no reason for me to be as well.

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dorajar wrote:


...

And last but not least, this video shows another good reason not to ride your bike on the sidewalk. You could be arrested and punched in the face four times by an idiot cop who accidentally maces himself in the face. And no one wants that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IHL1_CZExs

...



Yes, if you're a crackhead who gets into trouble with a cop in a high crime area, and happen to be on your bike at the time.

Other than this situation, no so much perhaps.

Sorry to hear about your problems commuting by bike. Rushhour is a hard time in cars. People have little patience for slow moving vehicles or anything that is perceived as slowing them down. Cars and bikes don't like each other, that's pretty obvious.

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It's for people like this that I wish I had more than 2 middle fingers.

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Not for nothing... but it's funny that you can get a ticket for driving down a street without your seatbelt buckled. Yet someone on the same street, riding a bike without a helmet? No problem.

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citizenx wrote:
Not for nothing... but it's funny that you can get a ticket for driving down a street without your seatbelt buckled. Yet someone on the same street, riding a bike without a helmet? No problem.


Nannies haven't figured out the dangers of biking yet. Don't worry, they will. Then they'll impose a 77% tax on biking related gear.

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