February 18th, 2010

Road Rules for Cyclists

The only rule that I am personally aware of, is that bikes don't go on water. Hovercrafts can. But they're different.

Otherwise every horizontal surface is fair game, if you're on a bike.

The footpath, that's yours. The cycleway is definitely yours. Also, both sides and the middle of the road are yours too. As are the interiors of all public buildings: you can ride up to counters if you need to pay bills, into shops, into lifts, right up to your work desk, etc etc.

Cars must stop for cyclists at pedestrian crossings, while paradoxically—nay hypocritically some have complained—pedestrians on crossings must allow cyclist on the road to continue unhindered. Drivers and pedestrians must be doubly alert near interface zones, lest cyclists suddenly trasmogrify, as is their right, by turning from the lane onto the crossing, or the crossing in to the lane.

As a cyclist you are perfectly entitled to pedal in the direction you are thinking of going. Likes crows in the sky, or sailboats on water, you have absolute right of way on the earth. You may ride across anyone's land. Golf courses, bowling greens, cricket pitches, runways—all yours to ride on. If I seem to be belaboring my point here, it is to get this across as a natural law, that one in fact senses the moment their father lets go of the seat and they feel they are flying.

In india cyclists share these divine rights with the cows. In France it is a fact that poodles on bikes, if they are pedaling, may demand money from strangers. Wherever in the world traffic engineers have attempted to bring us back down to earth the results have been nothing but farcical.

There is one caveat though, to this rule! If you find yourself being abused, either by motorists, or by pedestrians, I would say your riding is in need of finesse. Perhaps you've been forgetting to smile, or have been unmindful of subtleties, or perhaps your body betrays some unresolved hatred toward one of your parents. Whatever the reason, you should go back to taking the bus.