Thursday, February 24

Ex-Peds and Positive Externalities

I've been thinking lately about the example cyclists set for other cyclists and motorists alike. I've recently read a few articles (one in particular) that have made me think long and hard. One article suggested that chasing down a motorist who almost killed you would do little to educate that motorist or any others. I tend to agree, but it sure makes you feel good to righteously pound on a drivers' side window and give 'em both barrels.

And then the infamous Bike Snob (NYC) chimes in in his book:

"However, the enraged part of me feels that this person has no idea what they almost just did to me, and that they must be told - loudly, and with lots of obscenities. I want to drown them in the melted pepper jack cheese of my anger. And I do feel there's some validity to that. After all, if someone has no idea they almost killed a cyclist, how can they be expected to drive smarter and more carefully in the future?"

So on one hand we have the "turn the other cheek" approach and on the other hand we have the "burning righteous anger for the sake of educating drivers" approach. I like to use a combination of the two.

The other day as I dodged pedestrians on the CCT I made an oddly perceptive connection (for me):

Cyclists should take extra care to be polite and considerate of pedestrians because when pedestrians cease to be pedestrians they typically become motorists and not cyclists.

It's not beneficial to harass pedestrians, no matter how random or just plain dumb they act. I know, I know...sometimes they just step into your path. Sometimes they wander all over the MUP with no regard for the laws of physics. But you have to refrain from mowing them down because there is no guarantee that will wise them up.

A happy ex-ped/motorist will be more likely not to intentionally maim the next cyclist they see. A "buzzed" ex-ped/motorist may decide to return the favor to the next cyclist they see.

Put some positive energy into the system and make another cyclist's day better.

1 comment:

  1. Good point. I have few encounters with pedestrians, but I'll keep that in mind the next time I do.