“Mom,” they squeal. “Stop messing with other people!”
“You have to communicate with your fellow drivers,” I explain. “How else do you figure out your brake lights are out?”
I believe we’re all in it together. Someone’s got to tell you when you have a booger in your nose, right?
It’s all about communication. Especially on the paths we all travel. Be it hiking trails, bike lanes, train tracks, or streets and expressways, it’s always nice to know, without having to ask, what the other person is thinking.
Hand signals, blinkers and speed limits are there for a reason. “We are all going to go this way and this fast,” is an understood rule on any road. “I’m turning right, now,” is another way someone interprets your blinker or hand turn signal.
Sharing the road so we all get to our destinations safely is the goal.
So when, while heading toward KERA on Sunday night to do the live pledge breaks during the 25th Anniversary celebration for “Les Miserables,” (be sure to watch the second half on Sunday and pledge your support for Public Broadcasting) I found myself behind a bike ridden by an obviously avid bike rider (due to his unmistakably sponsor-driven outfit), I felt the need to communicate.
The rider, a blond man, was riding down Cole Avenue in the middle lane. I kept thinking to myself, as cars passed him quickly on each side, that he was getting ready to turn.
“But left or right?” I thought as I approached him from behind. From what I could see, he was just pedaling down the three-lane, one-way road in the middle lane.
After he didn’t turn at the first light I really began to wonder his motives. “Seriously, dude,” I said to myself out loud. “The next light isn’t for another 450 yards. What are you doing?”
Turns out he was just trying to annoy drivers of cars. I found this out the hard way when I pulled up to him, ever so slowly, because, much as he tried, he couldn’t keep up with the normal flow of traffic, and said, out of my driver’s side window (because he was in the middle lane of a three-lane, one-way street), “You’re in the wrong lane.”
“F***k you!” he shouted back. And then he shot me his middle finger.
Really? He yelled an obscenity at me? And flipped me off?
“You’re so lucky I’m in a good mood,” I thought as I finally passed him. I could have totally slammed on my brakes, or slowed down, so I could give him a piece of my mind, which is probably a worse punishment than some driver with a gun.
And it’s a good thing my kids weren’t in the car, because they would have had to listen to me go off on that guy.
Yes, bicyclists, rightfully, share the same benefits as cars in Dallas. But it is also the law for them to follow basic safety rules, and that includes purposely going too slow to disrupt normal flow of street traffic.
According to Volume 1, Chapter 9 of the City of Dallas code Section .28-8.1:
“STOPPING, STANDING, OR PARKING PROHIBITED IN SPECIFIED PLACES. (a) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or to be in compliance with the law or the directions of a police officer, a traffic and parking controller, or an official traffic control device, a person commits an offense if he:
(I) [is] on the roadway of any street, when the vehicle constitutes a hazard to itself or to persons or other vehicles.”
This guy was a hazard. And I couldn’t figure out any reason for him being a menace to traffic other than to purposely piss car drivers off.
Really? It’s a beautiful day in Dallas. The rain is gone. The sun is shining. You’re riding a bike, for goodness sake. Why be such a jerk?
Hopefully, this rider was not from around White Rock Lake, but he might have been a biker who just came from the lake.
We have lots of bikers in our area. And runners. And boaters. And dog parkers.
Can’t we just communicate? Can’t we all just get along?