I am an avid bicyclist. I have been my entire life. In fact, I went for a long ride this weekend.
When I was young, I learned to be a very defensive rider. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the right or wrong. If you’re on a bike and you tussle with a car, the bike is going to lose every time. And I have learned there is absolutely no reason to infuriate someone driving a car – the downside is infinitely greater than the upside.
Here in Western Washington, the animosity between bikes and cars has never been greater.
I bring all this up because of a video that has gone viral today – a car sideswiped a bicyclist in a hit and run back east. The driver of the car has been caught and faces several charges. But let’s talk about the role of the bicyclist in his “misfortune.”
Here’s the description of the road they’re on: “The Natchez Trace Parkway is a designated bicycle route. In Tennessee, bicyclists are allowed to use the full traffic lane to ride in when necessary.”
Was it necessary for the two cyclist to be alongside each other – hugging the center line? The 23-year-old who got knocked off his bike – Tyler Noe – told a local TV station.
“Be mindful of everyone on the road. They have two lanes, and you can switch lanes to pass if needed.”
Actually, no. It’s a double yellow line. Cars could not safely go into the other lane to pass these two entitled bicyclists. On an empty 50 mph highway (the speed limit on that road), they were probably riding at least 30 mph under the speed limit and blocking the cars behind. You hear the frustration of the first truck that blares its horn while passing them. And then the second car takes out his frustration by knocking the cyclist to the ground.
I am not defending the hit-and-run driver here. He could have easily killed the young man. The driver of the car deserves all of the charges he’s facing. But I will say the bicyclist brought most of this on himself. The two riders should have been hugging the shoulder line single file allowing the cars to safely go around them. I don’t care if it’s a designated bicycle route. To antagonize cars like that when you’re on a bike is simply foolish. And incredibly dangerous.