One day last week, a rainy morning, I got on my bike to pickup my oldest from school. We were then going to ride a few blocks to watch the the younger one's Christmas Concert or Spectac. This is amazing, December in Ottawa can be hard on cyclists. Sure it was raining, but it was not freezing rain, or blowing snow. It was cool, 6 degrees or so, but it should have been 6 below (Celsius). I was riding my bike and was going to see my kids in the middle of the day, how could I not be happy?
Still in my neighbourhood waiting to turn right at a red-light, the car behind me lurched to my left and moved to make the right turn. The road was clear so I made my right ahead of the car on a fairly busy street. The car made the turn and then tried to get beside me, with his window open the driver (who I couldn't see) was yelling something at me. Well, that was it: I became that ANGRY CYCLIST!!! I yelled back and gestured wildly, and asserted my place in the lane. I wasn't going to take being yelled at or honked at by some inconsiderate driver, I was just doing what I had to to keep safe. I require respect and space, if drivers don't like it they can suck-it. When the car finally passed me (safely); I realized the inconsiderate driver was a father of my kids friends, a cyclist and all round good guy. I instantly replayed the proceeding events, without the drivers hate me template. He was trying to be friendly, not aggressive. He was going to the same place I was he just wanted to say hi. I over reacted, I was wrong. The worst of it, he apologized to me; wouldn't accept my apology and has probably forgotten about the incident by now. Me, I'm writing a blog post about it...
I can't generalize for other cyclists, but I think maybe, just maybe, it is not that drivers are out to get me. Maybe. Riding my bike makes me more happy then angry. I can be a bit tetchy and aggressive, and on the road is no different, maybe that is the problem, not aggressive drivers. Of course there are aggressive drivers out there, so it will be a challenge to change my attitude. This video should help keep me in a good mood:
Junior Cyclocross Racers 2010-2011 from 53 x 11 on Vimeo.
Ottawa's cyclocross series is great for the kids, and a ton of fun for for adults too. Hopefully next season Ottawa's Parks will be available again.