10 Reasons Why Bikers Just Can’t Win


It’s a hard life for those who choose to travel on two wheels. For anyone old enough to remember The Paperboy, I can assure you it’s based on a true story. On an average day it’s highly probable that a cyclist will encounter some obstacle similar, if not equal, to tornados, dogs, and/or rogue wheels. Here’s just a brief list of reasons why bikers just can’t seem to win the road race:

1. You’re not welcome on the road.

Even though technically you should be either in a bike lane or riding on the street, drivers don’t appreciate this fact. On the contrary, bikers have an uncanny knack for enraging drivers simply with their presence. I can only describe this rage as the kind you feel when your bag of chips dangles from the last rung of the vending machine. Yup, it’s that bad.

2. Don’t even think about the sidewalk.

It’s inevitable that street conditions (craters masquerading as potholes, one way streets, construction, etc.) may force bikers onto pedestrian turf. However, between old people yelling at you to “slow down,” and dodging street posts, parking meters and uprooted curbs, the sidewalk is far from a friendly alternative.

3. Bike lanes are respected by no one.

Bike lanes dummy! Of course, why didn’t I think of that? Just watch this video and you’ll understand.

4. Pedestrians are on a mission to thwart you.

Now, I know how easy it is to get lost in your own thoughts while walking — though more likely in the screen of your smart phone — but pedestrians have this innate capacity to float to the exact center of the sidewalk, bike path, or street when they hear a biker approaching. Oftentimes I avoid ringing my bell because it freaks people out so much, but I will use it and abuse it if I have to. Just sayin’.

5. Horns are a lot louder when you’re not in a car.

While minding my own business riding on the side of a street, I can’t tell you how many times a driver has overtaken me only to give me an ex post facto beep of his horn. Really? Is that necessary? Apart from the fact that you’ve scared the bejesus out of me you nearly caused an entirely separate accident.

6. A driver’s license doesn’t equal driving ability.

I know there’s a litany of material online about why cyclists are the scum of the earth. We don’t follow traffic laws, cut lanes, use cross walks, but if we’re going to be fair here then we should also mention that many drivers should have their license revoked. In DC I had a driver pull an illegal U-turn across double yellow lines on me. When I slam into the front corner of his car he tells me, “Sorry, I didn’t see you.” Of course you didn’t see me. You were too busy breaking the law.

7. Parked cars are booby traps waiting to happen.

Mindful bikers choose to heed a majority of the road to cars, skimming rows of parked cars pretty closely. This inevitably leads to the set-up of some Jackass-like wipe outs. Turns out drivers and passengers don’t use their mirrors before opening their doors into oncoming traffic, creating surprises around every corner. What fun!

8. Parking a bike can be harder than parking a car in Manhattan.

Bikers consume less fossil fuel, create less traffic, and take up less space on public transportation. If that’s the case then why, oh why, is it so hard to find a place to park your bike?? Bike racks are at a premium even in urban areas and parking a bike on a sign post or drain pipe puts you at risk of someone coming and yelling at you, fining you or straight up taking your bike.

9. Constant anxiety of being robbed.

Never in all the time that I had a car did I worry about coming back to a missing tire or, even worse, a missing car. But when you leave a bike somewhere, even for a short period of time, you have a never ending terror that when you return there will be parts, or the whole, of your bike missing. I can only imagine that this must be how how car owners in Brazil feel.

10. Taxis are the enemy.

Finally one thing bikers and drivers can agree upon. Taxis are the wild card of the roads — well, that, and a family of ducklings. Literally they park, drive and turn (see point 6) just about anywhere they want. They’re the perfect worst road obstacle for anyone whose body also serves as their crumple zone.