Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bicycle and car conflict

Cut me a break

As I commute to work on my bicycle, unpleasant encounters happen sometimes to dampen my confidence in the human race. Being on a bicycle does not make me a lesser person. Maybe by writing this short essay, I can educate motorists as to what it’s like to commute in a manner other than by the automobile.

Pennsylvania law states that bicycles must follow the same rules and regulations of the road as cars.

I ride my bike to work simply because I live close enough, it’s cheap and it’s good exercise. Generally it’s a wonderful way to start off my day, although I’ve had many a nice ride tarnished by aggressive motorists.

It’s moronic behavior to beep your car horn from behind me. I guess you want me to move out of your way, so you can to aggressively speed ahead of me to save a second or two. It’s ironic that I usually meet you at the traffic light that you rushed to get to. Blowing by me and then cutting me off to make a turn is unacceptable and rude, not to mention dangerous. I get angry when people treat me like a second-class citizen because I’m riding a bicycle.

For those people in a car that don’t understand, think about this: I have a family and a job just like you. I must be at work at a designated time just like you. The only difference between you and I is the method of travel - I choose to get to my place of employment by bicycle.

I realize that the automobile is the chosen method of transportation for the majority. Henry Ford was a genius, but I’m sure he’d be surprised at what the automobile has done to some people. Entering a car turns some otherwise nice people into self centered, rude and aggressive beings- but that’s a topic for a different story. I do appreciate the people who are courteous of me on the road, waving me through intersections and waiting for oncoming cars to pass so they can give me a little room as they go by.

I do realize the risks of cycling on the same roads that are inhabited by people hurling in thousands of pounds of steel. All I ask from motorists is respect. Maybe slow down a little. Give me a few inches of the road to which I legally have as much right as you. Have a little consideration for your fellow man.

Remember that I’m someone’s husband, son, brother, just like you. Treat me as you would like your husband, son or brother to be treated on the road. Think about that the next time you gun your engine as you pass me on the road.

Harry Betz

Newtown, Pa


Hi, This little essay was written with my wife’s help, Rebecca Borsavage-Betz.