I am rather fed up with my fellow Badger cyclists. Not a day goes by I don’t have to dodge an idiot running a stop sign at a busy intersection, watch some imbecile barrelling down a sidewalk full of pedestrians, or deal with someone pushing past me while I’m stopped at a red light. So.
I’m writing this letter to inform you of some facts which may have eluded you up to this point. These points will make you safer on the road and less of a trial to deal with. So pay attention.
This is a stop sign. Generally these are posted at intersections. When you see one, you must stop. It even has that handy text there, just in case you forget. When you see this sign, it is an indicator that other vehicles may be moving through the intersection at high speeds. If you don’t stop (like the sign says, see?), you may find yourself being scraped off the pavement.
This is a sidewalk. Notice how it is a compound of two words – side, and walk. It’s really a very apt name – it’s on the SIDE of the road, and you WALK on it. Note how it doesn’t say anything about biking, cycling, riding, or otherwise. Because you aren’t supposed to bike, cycle, or ride on it. You are supposed to walk on it. If you wish to ride a bike, you must ride in the road (it’s that other thing where all the cars are? If you look, you’ll find it). If you cannot handle riding in the road, then you must take the bus. Or walk. Or just HTFU. Whatever you do, do not ride your bicycle on the sidewalk. In the City of Madison, you can get ticketed, and this is the case in most other cities also. Studies have also shown that cars are less likely to see you if you are on the sidewalk, and that sidewalk riding is actually more (like twice as) dangerous than riding on the road. You are also more of a hazard to pedestrians. Exception: if you are a child 12 or under, you can have a pass. Wear a helmet, kids.
This is a traffic light. A red traffic light, as it happens. This one is a little tougher than the stop sign, since it doesn’t have that nice, user-friendly word to help you out, but it actually means the same thing. When you see one of these guys, you must stop. Because these are generally present at BUSIER intersections. Where you are more likely to get hit. By cars. You know, those big heavy steel death machines that are all out to kill you? Yeah, those. If you pedal on through one of these, there is a good chance you will not only find yourself being scraped off the pavement, you’ll probably find yourself scraped off the pavement several tens of yards from where you started.
So there you are, kids. Just follow these three simple rules and maybe I won’t have to kick you all in the face with my ENERGY LEGS.