Bad bikes! Bad!

Since my job involves media relations, you’d think I would have realized what would happen when Bike to Work Week in Spokane exceeded all our expectations in May 2008 and got such great coverage.

I thought of the success as belonging to the hundreds of cyclists who signed up and the dozen or more hardy volunteers who made all the events come together, along with everyone who has commuted by bike all these years without any free T-shirts as incentives.

But I somehow became a poster girl for bike commuting, thanks to the zillions of emails I sent to the participants and the outpouring of media coverage that quoted me in connection with the event.

So now I don’t just get the confessions of guilty non-cyclists I mentioned previously. Oh, no indeedy—I get every story of anyone’s encounter with a thoughtless cyclist.

You know the ones I mean: they don’t stop for stop signs, they don’t signal, they ride the wrong way against traffic, they jump sidewalks and cross mid-block, they ride three across on a narrow road and hog the lane unnecessarily.

It’s funny, or it’s sad, that one bad cyclist paints us all bad. When I have an encounter with a bad motorist—the ones who don’t look before starting to turn or change lanes, the ones who come unnecessarily close to me in a wide lane to “prove” I don’t belong there, the ones who yell at me to "get off the road!", the ones who park on bike lanes—that doesn’t make all motorists bad.

Nor do four high school kids who jaywalked the other day between the LC fieldhouse and the main building make all pedestrians bad. (I played mom/street cop and yelled, “Hey hey hey! Jiminy Christmas!” when they stepped out in front of me as I came down Washington at 30 mph, wearing can't-miss lime green. That’s a great hill and when the lights are with you it’s a fun ride unless you have to swerve around the freshmen.)

Can’t we all just look out for each other a little better, with a smidgen of civility? ("Jiminy Christmas" was pretty tame, really.) Is that too much to ask?

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