Ride on, rider
Play nice: Rules of the road to abide by on National Bike to Work Day
You don't have to tell us twice that you love your cushy, air-conditioned vehicles, Houston. But try to turn that dependency on four wheels into two for just one day.
Friday is the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike to Work Day, where thousands upon thousands of pedal-pushing people nationwide will silence their engines and put the rubber side down for the sake of cycling awareness.
Our very own Mayor Annise Parker is even organizing a ride from Memorial Park to City Hall, in an effort to get the car-heavy populace out of the leather seat and into the saddle.
But just because your ride isn't gas-powered doesn't mean the rules of the road don't apply to you. Play nice on National Bike to Work Day, and keep your road rage at bay.
Be prepared for pedestrians and their accessories
Sympathize with the Houstonians on foot. You're a rare breed to them. They don't see many two-wheeled people like you, and they're bound not to know what to do in your presence. That goes double if they have dogs or children in tow. Be mindful and dodge foot traffic artfully and benevolently. Assume the worst, if you must. That unleashed canine and that overzealous kid are probably going to do the exact opposite that logic would dictate. Act accordingly.
Yes, traffic laws apply to you, too
That stop sign? It's talking to you. Turning signals? You can — and should — convey a lot of information with hand gestures (no, not the middle finger, either). Speed limits? Slow your roll, too. No driving on the shoulder? No riding on the shoulder, either. No, your wheels may not be horsepowered, but bicycles are vehicles, too. Ride that way.
You wouldn't drive without a seatbelt. Why ride without a helmet?
You're not really going to make us elaborate on this one, are you? Anything could happen — a rock, an armadillo, a rupture in the road, a bug in your eye. Your only guarantee on the bike is that things can and do happen. Willing to risk the center of your entire nervous system to avoid helmet head? Don't you dare answer yes to that one.
In no way, shape, or form is National Bike to Work Day a competition. Save that cutthroat behavior for the Wednesday night crits at Memorial Park. Don't cut riders off. Yield to cars. Don't tail fellow cyclists. Just be nice. You're a Texan; you're fully capable. Putting the pedal to the metal doesn't apply to you in this scenario. Save it for I-45 on your commuting days.