Get the F*4%k off the road!

The message was pretty clear.

Why it was being delivered wasn’t nearly as clear.

Oh, I can understand frustration at being delayed even a few seconds by a slow moving vehicle on the road. I confess to a bit of road-rage myself now and then. It is unreasonable but satisfying somehow.

But though I was on my bicycle, I was not delaying anyone. I wasn’t even moving.

I had just been to the Lewiston Post Office to check club mail and was now stopped at the main light ready to cross the intersection to the dike bypass, swing right and head back to the bike path.

As I waited for the light to change, a car swung into the left turn lane speeding through the still green leff-turn signal. The passenger had his window down and gave me the shout. This was a premeditated, planned action. Had they planned to go around the dike bypass and changed their minds because a cyclist was first in line at the light? And there was at least one other vehicle behind me. The left=turning vehicle had arrived after the light had turned red. Nothing I had done delayed them in the least.

I imagine driver and passenger spotting the cyclist just ahead of the line and plotted their assault. Perhaps they thought it was funny like some of those radio DJs you hear about advocating killing cyclists. It must have seemed wiild, bold, and somehow satisfying to take advantage of their anonymity to let off a little steam. Maybe they had just witnessed a cyclist running  a stop sign or jumping scarily in and out of traffic.

The light changed and I moved to the right leaving plenty of passing room to my left as I watched carefully for turning traffic in the merge lane to my right. I was out of the road in seconds

Mostly valley drivers are courteous and considerate sometimes trying to give a cyclist more leeway than he wants.

But we still get verbal assaults and drive-by buzzing now and then. It is unsettling and scary when self-righteous anger results in unsafe driving.

Cyclists need to speak out for our right to the road. Too many people believe that we have no business on the roads. They haven’t forgot, because they never knew, that the first paved roads in this country were at the behest of cyclists in the form of the League of American Wheelmen–now the League of American Bicyclists.

So, I’m willing to share the road, but not get off of it.

 

 

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