Yoohoo! Seattle Bikers? Over here! It’s me, Mary. The one with the blonde kid who you insist on trying to run down on sidewalks all over the city. Oh, you don’t recognize me? Well it is hard to make out faces when you’re doing 50 miles per hour while also narrowly avoiding children, animals and the elderly who are bailing into shrubbery to escape your smoking tires.
Seattle is a fairly bike-friendly place with ample paths, urban trails, well-marked lanes and something that somebody has unfortunately chosen to call “sharrows”. And yet there you are, zooming along at ridiculous speeds on the sidewalks. Sure, you’re doing your part for the environment and your health (Never you mind the health of your victims…) but please take your pick: Would you like to be regarded as vehicles or pedestrians? You are not gods. Not by a long shot. Not in those shorts. So, here’s the deal:
**Section 11.44.120 RIDING ON A SIDEWALK OR PUBLIC PATH. Every person operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk or public path shall operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of pedestrian traffic, grade and width of sidewalk or public path, and condition of surface, and shall obey all traffic control devices. Every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.
Could you read that? Do you need to take off your stupid-looking goggles and try it again? Because I’d really like to make sure you absorb that information. And while we’re at it, you all seem pretty quick to start hollering at motorists for any perceived infringement upon your rights (and OY! the mouths on some of you!) but I really think you might want to brush up on what those rights actually are before you get yourselves killed. It is, after all, very difficult to effectively argue a point when you are a spandexed human crêpe, splayed out on Greenlake Way with Land Rover tracks on what used to be your head.
In closing, I would like to say that I really think we can all get along here. I will continue to yield to you, even when you are doing outrageously arrogant and stupid things. And even when you look like cosmic psychos. But could you do your part by not making me feel like I’ve wandered into the Tour de Baghdad when I’m just trying to leave a coffee shop or store with my kid? Consider buying a bell. You think you’re too hip for a bell? Think again, Bug Man. Hey, they don’t call Seattle, “The City of Brotherly Love” for nothing. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…