Thank Cyclists and Walkers

For a while, I’ve been cycling or walking to where I need to go whenever I’ve had the chance. With this has come some abuse from drivers. This is why drivers need to lay off the horn and thank people that choose not to drive.

What a hipster you’ve become. Back in 2008, I used to work for a software development company called Atomic Object. I loved working for that company, and I still enjoy it when I am thrown a contract web design job now and then. They’re a fun, productive company that values their workers, but I think the thing I take most from that job is their lack of reliance on cars.

Grand Rapids, at least to me, is not what I would think when I think cycle-friendly cities, but at Atomic Object (from this point referred to as “AO”), almost every employee bikes or walks or runs to work. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s built into the culture there. So much so, that the company volunteered to buy me a bike helmet. So, I got an old road bike and starting riding every day to work. It was great. I got in better shape. I saved money on gas and registration and insurance (I parked my car for about a year), and it was a lot of fun.

Well, la dee da. Since then, when I’ve had the chance, I try to walk or cycle when I can. But the thing is, car drivers aren’t often too happy about it. I’ve had numerous people honk their horns at me, shout obscenities at me, and on a few occasions, run me off the road. Many car drivers seem uninterested in the signs that declare “Share the Road,” and feel that cyclists are simply nuisances that slow them down for a few seconds.

Now, I will admit that many cyclists are rather annoying. They don’t follow the rules of the road. They run red lights. They take up too much of the lane, but many many cyclists are good citizens … and if I judged car drivers by how many of them broke rules or were inconsiderate, well … it wouldn’t be pretty.

So, what are we thanking you for again? So, cyclists are good for the economy … or more accurately, they cut costs. Think about it. By cycling instead of driving, I (and millions of other cyclists) cut down our purchasing of gasoline, which decreases demand, which should (though sometimes this is hard to see) cut down the cost of gasoline. Not only that, cyclists and walkers are exercising more, which is improving their health, and in this world where our medical costs are all tied to each other, this is beneficial to the population as a whole. There is the environmental aspect, and, no matter how you feel about environmentalist, you must admit that the world is a little better place to live with less exhaust to breath in. And then there are more practical benefits, like that each cyclist or walker you see, that’s one less person who will take a parking spot. Especially in urban environments, this is huge benefit.

Is this where you “teach” us a lesson, oh wise one? I’m just saying, I know cyclists and walkers can be minor inconveniences, and when you’re in a rush to get to work because you woke up ten minutes late or just have general road rage, it’s hard to be patient, but just remember, what they’re doing is beneficial to you too. So, stop with the honking, the shouting out windows, the driving people off the road, and the complaining, and be thankful for cyclists and walkers … and cyclists, please follow the rules of the road.

There. My sermon is finished.

About time.

About Adam Nannini

The greatest writer of his generation ... which isn't saying much.
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