Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Courtesy, Legality, and Cycling
Let's take a little vignette from my commutes last week.
A gentleman in a small pickup truck honked at me twice in the same place on different days and rolled down his window to admonish me to get in the bike lane where I belonged. I know he thought he knew the law. However, as a certified League Cycling Instructor and employee of the Bicycle Alliance, I knew that RCW 46.04.670 and RCW 46.61.755 clearly delineate the bicyclist's right to the full roadway. (Check out all the laws relating to bicycling in Washington State if you ride on the road -- it pays to be informed.)
That said, I knew that this gentleman was mistaken. Yet instead of reacting angrily when he honked at me the second day, I smiled and waved as he went by. Why? Because when I ride my bike, I represent all bicyclists. My courteous smile and wave could very well make the difference in his interaction with other bicyclists in the future. And sometimes, responding to rudeness with courtesy and kindness can be my most effective rebuke.