Battling cyclist entitlement
The Atlantic Cities has posted an excellent opinion article called "Cyclists aren't 'special' and shouldn't play by their own rules". The author, Sarah Goodyear, points to Chicago enacting higher fines for dangerous motorist actions, but also for cyclist rule-breaking. Praising its even-handedness, she states the following:
I am truly sick, at this late date, of people wanting to have it both ways: calling for protected bike lanes and a bike share system, demanding that cops step up enforcement when it comes to cars, and then blithely salmoning up a major thoroughfare and expecting everyone look the other way.
If cycling will truly become mainstream, the author emphasizes, it must shed its renegade/outsider trappings and become a team player in our urban environment. As a cyclist, she sees it as a very personal decision:
I am trying to see myself as an ambassador for bicycling and to break the bad habits I formed over years of biking on streets designed solely for cars. If I am going to fight back against the forces that want to intimidate and marginalize me when I am on my bike, I think that riding as squeaky clean as possible is my best strategy these days. The balance has shifted, and with the advent of bike share, modeling good behavior is going to be more vital than ever. Not just to prove the naysayers wrong, but also to be truly safer riders.
And I agree. I try very hard to bike legally and cleanly in a civil and accommodating manner. I too have bad habits formed over the years of biking in an environment designed for automobiles that I suppress. I sometimes see that desire to have our cake and eat it too amongst other cycling advocates and I try to avoid it myself. And yet...