An Open Letter to Bicycle Riders

Dear Bicycle Riders,

Please obey traffic laws.

Jeff

OK, I’ve made my point, right? But wait, it gets better.

I have had more close calls being hit by bike riders than by all manner of motorized vehicles. Most close calls have resulted from cyclists ignoring stop signs, stop lights and crosswalks. Recently, I stepped from the curb to cross Sheridan Road and three cyclists zoomed past within three feet of my nose and my Seeing Eye dog’s nose. Had they hit us, they would have broken my dog’s back.

Serious cyclists tell me that they employ the “eye contact” method of communication with drivers and pedestrians. The flaw in their theory is that some pedestrians happen to be blind. Not many, but a few. I for one can make direct eye contact with a cyclist and not see the cyclist at all. But, I’m pretty sure the cyclist can see me. And my dog. In his harness. Or, my white cane.

Yesterday, a guy breezed past as I crossed Balmoral at Ravenswood. I let out an involuntary, startled, “Jeez!” The cyclist tells me, “Shut up!” I’m standing six feet into the crosswalk and the guy who almost hits me tells me to shut up. Where is justice? Oh, and I have a great story about a bike rider racing down the sidewalk, but I’ll save that one for another time.

In trying to see all angles, I realize bike riders have a lot to contend with on those mean streets. But, the irony is that cyclists rely on drivers to obey the very traffic laws that the cyclists choose to ignore.

A cop told me that Chicago bike riders and pedestrians have a death wish. Well, I don’t. But I’ll play on the universal sympathy for animals here. Cyclists, please think of my dog. His name is Randy. Please do not broadside him and break his back.

I showed this blog to a serious cyclist friend and he said, “Wow! Do you have to say, ‘break his back?’ do you have to be so graphic?”

Not at all,” I replied. “How does ‘sever his spine’ sound?”

Have I made my point?

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6 Responses to An Open Letter to Bicycle Riders

  1. Andrea Kelton says:

    I encourage you to send this to the newspapers. I, too, have come to fear bike riders. Thanks for speaking out for our safety!

  2. bethfinke says:

    Jeff, this is great. Have you thought about sending this as a letter to the editor at the Tribune? The Reader? You should. I’m serious.

  3. Carl D. says:

    Where is Justice when you need her?
    Can we hope that all those on bikes be trashed for their offences.
    Is Justice also deaf and blind?
    Some say – Justice can not administer punishment for the crime.
    She can mearly be made aware of your crys.
    So, Jeff trust in the fact that at least one cyclist is aware of your hopes.

  4. Jonah says:

    I’m not blind I’m autistic, and I also have a problem with bicycles. I thought they were purposely playing chicken.

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