Monday, February 8, 2010

Maybe I Was, Maybe I Wasn't (a Banana Head)

And that's what was going through my mind on the last twelve miles of my ride today.
During the maybe I wasn't parts, let me tell you, I was putting the pedal to the metal.
I was angry.
Then on the maybe I was parts, I sort of went into idle.
Sort of difficult to pedal hard when you're feeling stupid.
If you read cycling blogs, inevitably, you'll come across a post concerning cyclists and their rights.
Whether those rights concern the right to ride on the road and take the lane or the right of way on a MUP(multi use path), the rights of the cyclist are certainly polarizing.
For the most part, us two wheeled folk like to exercise our rights and we have no problem making sure everyone knows it.
Likewise for the other users of roadways and paths, they seem to think cyclists are always in the wrong.
Most of the time, these issues can be solved by simple common sense.
Or so we think.
Us cyclists I mean.
Thing is, we each have our own points of view.
Take today for instance.
I thought for sure I had the right of way.
I'm sure the two joggers I passed did too. Thought they had the right of way, I mean.
Now, I don't want to get into the whole thing, so let's just say I was right and I was wrong.
And I was wrong and I was right.
Know what I mean?
Well, sometimes, even if we know we are right, common sense should prevail and lead us to do the right thing.
If that had happened today, I wouldn't be talking about all this.
Common sense did not prevail, so here I am.
Talking about this.
It all comes down to entitlement.
Now I'm not talking about them; the pedestrians, cars, buses, etc.
I'm talking about everyone on the road.
The more I rationalized what happened today, the more I realized that I too was turning to the dark side.
I began to think that I had a right to the road.
Or in this case, bike path.
Now don't get me wrong.
I am usually the one to yield. To everyone.
I try my best to not be the typical banana head riding around out there.
Okay, I may yell sometimes, but I'm still the one doing the yielding.
It's the safe thing to do.
Regardless of the situation.
Today, I had no where to go.
Joggers to my right, car to my left.
Me? I was riding the left line that separates the bike path from the traffic lane.
Now, I could have moved six inches left into the lane.
Or the jogger could have moved six inches to his left, or better yet, they could have decided to break formation and go into single file instead of two abreast.
Easy right?
Well, nobody moved.
We all kept steaming forward like the other wasn't there.
We all felt entitled to the lane.
So no one moved.
Twelve miles later I was cursing myself.
For not being the better man.
Even if I did have the right of way, out of safety, better yet, out of simple human courtesy, I should have been the one to back off and yield.
I figured that what it comes down to is the simple fact that I don't own the freakin road. I may have a right to it, but that doesn't always mean I have to use it.
Common sense right?
As the paths and lanes grow and become more accessible, so does the sense of entitlement in the minds of the users.
Entitlement kills courtesy.
I think my yelling days are over.
Then again, there was this kid today, skateboarding down the wrong side of the road carrying a surfboard.
What a banana head.
Maybe not.


John Romeo Alpha said...

We've all been there. I tell myself to be courteous, demonstrate character, take care of others, and allow for humans to make lots of mistakes. We all mess up sometimes. Most of the time I feel better about 'after you' than 'right of way'. Most of the time.

limom said...

I think physical exertion makes me stupid.