Our 7th most-read article of 2023.
Originally published August 11, 2023.
You were riding during rush hour.
Why were you riding then? There are way too many cars on the road. If you were commuting, you should have contacted your boss and politely asked to work from 3:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. instead.
You were riding at night or in the early morning.
There’s no way drivers can see you. Remember: if you’re one of those people who rides bikes because it keeps the mental darkness at bay, the best time to do so is in the middle of the workday.
You were riding in the middle of the workday.
The only people who should ride their bikes during the workday are bike messengers, who I also dislike. They weave, they bob—it’s inappropriate. Bike messengers need to do what drivers do: go straight, get pissed off, and hate everyone.
You were riding on a back road.
Those roads are narrow and have a lot of twists and turns. There are hardly any cyclists on them. Drivers weren’t expecting you!
You were riding on a main road.
Again, too much traffic. We’ve been over this.
You were riding in the morning, or at night, or on a quiet road, or a main road.
Do I honestly have to spell it out for you? The only appropriate time and place to ride a bike is a time beyond time and a place beyond place, where the space-time continuum is bent so strangely you are both everywhere and nowhere, eternal and nonexistent. You must become the smoke that comes from shadow, the sound of blue, the smell that emanates from the number twelve.
You didn’t signal properly.
I mean, no, I don’t have any “evidence” for that, but you must have done something wrong for an upstanding citizen like the driver of a Ford Focus that looks like it got into a fight with a forklift to strike you. The stats are on my side. Sixty-six percent of drivers routinely commit moving violations, compared with 5 percent of cyclists when they have somewhere safe to ride. That’s why I believe drivers.
Your bike isn’t an SUV.
If your bike were an SUV, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. You’d be fine. In fact, it would be the Ford Focus driver who’d be all messed up. And that’s why SUVs are considered safe.
You forgot to go back in time and tell people that subsidizing the oil industry might be a bad idea.
When the oil and auto industries teamed up to bend public policy to their will, making a system of roads and parking lots that now function as a continuous subsidy and magnificent symbol of the normalization of injury and pollution, you had a lot of options. You could have objected. You could have shifted public opinion. Instead, you weren’t even born yet. And, rather than go back in time, all you’ve been doing is riding to get groceries and occasionally saying, “Please stop killing us.” On the effort scale? 1/10.
Frankly, I’m not sure a driver even hit you.
Maybe you were just clipped by a Nissan van. Was there a driver in the van? Has the passive voice historically functioned to deflect responsibility and consolidate unjust power arrangements? These are all fascinating questions that, sadly, we will never know the answers to.
Oops, looks like you died.
Miraculously, the driver has been arrested and will face involuntary vehicular homicide. For killing you, the driver will get a hundred days in prison. Apparently, killing someone is basically legal if you do it with a car. Also, our liberal city council has decided to make positive change. As I write, they’re enforcing strict new rules to ensure no one can ride their bikes in this part of town ever again.
Read an interview with author Chas Gillespie about writing this piece over on our Patreon page.