Things that annoy me, part twenty-seven

So here’s the thing: The California Vehicle Code treats bicycles just like any other vehicle. Except for a few specific exceptions, there’s no legal difference between a bike and a small, light, underpowered motorcycle. I may not be a great bike rider, but I like to at least think I’m a safe and legal one. I come to a complete stop at stop signs, I signal my turns and stops, I yield to pedestrians, and I always wear my helmet (which is not a legal requirement, but a really good idea nonetheless.) If I’m biking and need to get somewhere it’s not legal or safe to bike, I get off and walk.

So of course I get annoyed at auto drivers who don’t seem to understand that it’s not only legal for me to bike on the road, but that I’m not legally allowed to bike anywhere else. Like the red sports car who, as he passed me (illegally) earlier today, laid on his horn, apparently to inform me I was in a lane that only cars had a God-given right to drive in. But what actually annoys me more is other bikers, who flout the law with ready abandon. In the fifteen minutes a day I spend biking, I see at least half a dozen people on bicycles (and, of course, without helmets or lights) riding on the sidewalk, on the wrong side of the road, through red lights and stop signs, and generally making a menace of themselves to pedestrians, drivers, and other bicylists (last year, one such biker ran into my car.) With bikers like that on the road, I can hardly blame drivers for thinking ill of the rest of us.