The Kamikaze ‘Drider’ (aka ‘Out Of Control Bicyclist’)

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Cyclist going the wrong way

About a month ago, I wrote about crazy pedestrians and how dangerous they can be to themselves and motorists. As you know, I also have mixed feelings about combining 5,000-pound vehicles and 25-pound bicycles on the same roadways. It isn’t the other 5,000-pound vehicles that frighten me as a driver, it is the rider of the 25-pound bike.

Case in point: I left my office the other day (at Hemlock and West 8th in Vancouver) and pulled into the curb-lane to make a right turn. After looking left, right, left, I started to move into my right turn. Just then, a bike whizzed up along my right side and cut me off. Yes, he cut me off! I had to stop suddenly or I would have nailed him to the curb. Just because the cyclist could find a space to squeeze in beside me did not make his move legal, safe, or even remotely courteous. A car driver would have pulled up behind me and waited his or her turn.

And wait–there’s more! The cyclist was now in the same lane as I was and as we were coming up to a red light, he abruptly cut me off again–pedaling as fast as he could and swerving across the front of my Volvo XC 60 to get to the left side of me. He then lane straddled and proceeded to cut off another driver, by crossing to the right in front of the car in front of me, before blithely jumping the red light. This is no joke. Had I not been driving, I would have videotaped all this and called the cyclist out!

After all this, I proceeded to enter the on-ramp onto the Granville Street Bridge, only to see the cyclist riding across the bridge. I contemplated waiting for him at the other end and having a word with him, but realized that he has a death wish and I didn’t want to get in his way. And being that bicyclists don’t require a license, there is no way to report this bad ‘driding’ behavior. Yes, I have made up a new word—‘drider.’ Cyclists are technically riding a bike, but legally they are driving, so bike riders need to follow the rules of the road.

I know there are a lot of great ‘driders’ on the streets of Vancouver who focus on their jobs of ‘driding’ in traffic and making responsible, safe decisions. But it is the Kamikaze ‘driders’ who are a major distraction to motorists. It is a crap-shoot when you are on the same patch of asphalt with those who do not follow the rules of the road, refuse to use hand signals, and feel they have the right-of-way every time. It makes me nervous, and of course, in a crash there is never going to be a good outcome for anyone.

I applaud the City of Vancouver for trying to green our city, but along with introducing changes like new bike lanes and encouraging more cycling, the rules must also change, to keep everyone safe.

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