I don't want to say I'm outraged, so I'll just say I'm "IRKED". Tucson seems to be fairly bike friendly, with lots of bike lanes going in every direction, some fairly decent bike shops, bike racks on all the buses - that sort of thing, but yesterday just seemed to be a bad day to be on a bike.
IRK #1 - Major businesses that give me a bad time for taking my bike in their store. Right now, I don't have a bike lock with me, so if I'm in a place where I fear that someone might take my $20 bike if I leave it parked by the front door, I just take it the store with me. Maybe I'm wrong here, and if I am, please set me straight, but aren't these businesses screaming for us to give them our hard earned cash! I was shopping at Target yesterday for a card and few other items, and I had my bike with me in the store. As I was leaving, the security guard came up to me and was harassing me publicly about the fact that I'm NOT ALLOWED to bring my bike in the store. Then I tried to stop at the Super Wal-Mart ... this time, the greeter at the door, the one that is supposed to make you feel good, wouldn't let me enter the store because I had my bike with me. I was polite (I hope) and simply told the greeter that I would leave in search of a business that wanted my money and that was more than happy to let me bring my bike with me into the store, like CVS Pharmacy, Safeway and Walgreens Pharmacy. I'm not calling for a boycott of TARGET and WAL-MART, but if you feel the same way as I do, please let me know, or better yet, find a different place to spend your money.
IRK #2 - Stupid drivers! Tucson seems to be full of them, and yet, I'm sure they don't have a corner on the market. Yesterday just seemed to be the one day of the week that they were all out in full force. I was in a bike lane approaching an intersection. Tucson has a good record of providing a bike lane that is positioned between the right turn lane and thru lane, with dashed lines and a sign that says RIGHT TURN YIELD TO BIKES. Nonetheless, a large charter bus that came up from behind me practically ran me over as she was trying to merge into the right turn lane and I was trying to go straight.
Then at another busy intersection, I was going straight with the green light, ringing my bell and keeping a steady pace, and was almost t-boned by an on-coming car that was stopped but waiting to make a left turn. Had I not panic stopped, he would have taken me out completely. I'm fairly confident that he saw me, but he was in a hurry and just didn't care.
At yet another section of the same road (Ina Avenue), where the posted speed is 45 mph, and the road narrows from 4 lanes to 2 lanes and the bike lane disappears, I tried to stay as far to the right as I could, yet cars were whizzing past me at 45 or more within inches of my bike. One car in particular flipped me off as he passed, as if to say that I didn't belong on his road. Come on, drivers ... slow down, pass when its safe for both of us, and give a little space between your car and my bike! You'll get where you're going soon enough.
Bike riders, we must unite against stupid drivers, many whom are talking on their cell phones or worse yet, TEXTING, rather than keeping a sharp eye out for bikes. That's why I won't talk on my cell phone while I'm riding my bike! So if you call me and I don't answer, you can assume I'm on my bike right now. Leave me a message or send me a text, and I'll respond as soon as I can.
BE SAFE OUT THERE, and keep on pedaling!