People or Things to be Highly Aware of While Bicycling [From BA 42-500]

Best of Boneshaker Hyde Park

"Bicyclists are often prime targets of disregard by suit-wearers."

from BA 42-500


People in suits usually work for businesses, and as such they are often trying to conduct business, even while they are driving or walking. These people certainly feel, and may even be important. This can cause these people, however, to believe they are much better than other people who do not get out there and do business. Couture belts and shoes and ties, therefore, are good signs that a person is doing a very good job looking out for themselves, which can be a dangerous mindset if there are both cars made of dense metal and people made of soft skin on the same roads. Moreover, busy tasks (such as making calls via mobile telephone and/or sending messages in short textual chunks, and sometimes even composing or replying to electronic messages) are often undertaken by businesspeople simultaneously while drinking coffee, putting on make-up, operating a motor vehicle, and thinking of all the very important things that must get accomplished each and every day. This can be distracting to people in suits who, as might be expected, very often have a difficult time seeing and/or heeding bicyclists.

(NB: Since successful businesspeople are coached to capitalize and thrive on people less powerful or financially endowed than they, it is important to remember that some people believe that the only reason someone else would choose to be on a bicycle is either out of lack of money, or power, or both. Bicyclists, then, are often prime targets of disregard by suit-wearers.)


By their very nature, taxicabs are fast moving vehicles. Taxicabs are hired by people who themselves do not want or care to drive, which can be admirable. More often than not, however, the riders in taxicabs are in a hurry to be driven to and arrive at a destination. In addition, taxicab drivers very much enjoy gratuity and will stop at nothing to earn tips, and since many of their customers say things like, “To the library, and step on it,” they are inclined, for their own monetary gain, to employ such tactics as speeding, weaving, and/or extremely aggressive motoring maneuvers. Taxicabs, furthermore, often find it acceptable and convenient to stop in bike lanes to deliver their passengers, a situation that is obviously problematic to people on bicycles who also wish to use these lanes. It is wise to be aware of taxicabs at all times and to avoid riding one’s bicycle too close to them for extended periods. Oh, yes, and be warned that taxis also often fail to signal their turns, a fact for which they are both renowned and hazardous.

Expensive cars and/or sporty automobiles

Expensive cars are very pretty. They come in many sleek and appealing colors and usually have powerful engines. Sporty automobiles share this characteristic and are even sometimes designed and manufactured to go upwards of 200 miles per hour, which they really are capable of going, even in residential neighborhoods in which the speed limit is almost exclusively 25. Owners of expensive and/or sporty cars have been known to enjoy showing other people that their cars are expensive and/or sporty. This is usually demonstrated in the following feats:

  • unpredictable bursts of amazing speed in confined areas
  • tight and mind-blowing turns taken in tight driving quarters
  • squealing tires
  • honking to show solidarity of awesomeness in owning a machine so great
  • passing cyclists or other cars very closely, just like in those Vin Diesel movies
  • shouting from said expensive and/or sporty cars to passersby

It is wisest to allow these drivers to flaunt themselves without impediment, as any confrontation that might further the chance of showcasing their essential prominence will be seized and only escalate the disruption they are proffering the public. Bicyclists would be wise to handle being approached or passed by expensive and/or sporty cars with extreme precaution.

Grocery store parking lots

We’ve all seen it: grocery store crazy eye. Grocery stores can be and usually are harrowing places to visit at almost any hour because they are vast, hectic, and full of impatient hungry people. The parking lots out front of grocery stores are even worse because people want only the best and closest parking places so that they can get into the food warehouse more quickly and buy food to eat. In order to obtain these precious few vehicle spots, people will no doubt sacrifice logic, respect, and common human decency. It is best, therefore, never to go to these places via bicycle. Park your two-wheeled machine a block away and walk into the store to drastically reduce your chances of being struck by a motorist with grocery store crazy eye. Better yet, ride your bicycle to your local food cooperative where people often ride bicycles themselves and may therefore be more likely to be on the lookout for people like you.

Post office parking lots

See grocery store parking lots, but add in the awful demands of attempting to send a sensible package and with a minimum of wasted time in line. United States Postal Service Centers are ubiquitously places of angst and furor because there are never enough employees to serve the number of customers. Maybe even more so than grocery store parking lots, then, people in post office parking lots recognize that every second they save driving (by way of speeding recklessly in and out of the circuitous and small lots) means another second they get to wait in line inside, so bicyclists should be reminded to steer clear of these places so as to escape unscathed.

Environmental bumper stickers, special pro-bike license plates, and/or bike racks

Do not be fooled by these items. Drivers with pro-bicycle paraphernalia affixed to their automobile are still people behind the wheel of a car and as such they are susceptible to the rages of the road as much as any other driver. In fact, one of the most unsafe things you can do as a bicyclist is to assume that people sporting an earth-friendly slogan (such as “Stop Global Warming” or “Trees Are the Answer”) or bicycle carrying device (which would seem to indicate that they at least use bicycles sometimes) care one iota about what you yourself are doing by way of bicycle commuting or even care at all that you are out there in the saddle. Bicycle-related gear, jargon, and costumery are in no way a viable means of judging how a person in an automobile will behave beside you on the road, especially if you are in their way.

Evan P. Schneider