Six quick tips for how not to be a total dickweed:
Rule #1: Put out your hand when you’re turning or stopping
Everyone else needs to know where on God’s Green Earth you’re going, and how you’re trying to get there. Knowing what you’re about to do allows us to behave accordingly which drastically reduces the risk of either of us sampling the pavement. With our nose.
Rule #2: PUT OUT YOUR GODDAM HAND
No seriously, people. Show me what the hell you’re doing because you’re swerving uncontrollably all over the bike lane so I can’t tell!
Rule #3: Be aware of your surroundings
One of many things bicycling has in common with combat, you have to know what’s going on around you so you don’t get somebody else killed. This means look behind you constantly, and definitely look behind you before you overtake the slow-poke in front of you, because if I’m trying to overtake you both when you swing out into the left side of the bike lane, I’ll be forced to take evasive action, which puts me right in front of a huge bus or an 18-wheel truck or some other motorised nemesis that will leave behind a red smear on the asphalt as the only evidence of my existence.
Rule #4: Don’t talk on your cell phone while you ride your bicycle
Just pull over if you get a call. Your driving always gets five times worse when all your attention is on a phone call instead of on the traffic. That should be a no-brainer. It also means you’re using one hand to hold the phone and another hand to steer your bicycle, which leaves you: no hands to put out when you turn or stop. See rules 1 and 2 for further details.
Rule #5: Don’t stop pedaling a hundred meters before the red light
Is the extra little effort required to start from a complete stop really significant enough compared to what it takes to accelerate from 3 km/h that it’s worth testing the patience of everyone behind you for? Trying to match your geological pace is like a particularly pointless game of Operation, with the added reflex test that it’s impossible to tell when you’re going to actually come to a stop, since the light never has time to change to green before you run out of pavement.
Rule #6: Stop at the white line when there’s a red light
You probably think your painfully slow acceleration means you should be up in front, which is why you always roll quietly past all the people who overtook you because you stopped pedaling a hundred meters before the red light, and come to a stop right on top of the pedestrian area. However, this does not in fact give you a head start, it just forces all the competent bicyclists to overtake you again when the light changes, this time while you’re swerving precariously all over the place as you try to accelerate in your bicycle’s highest gear, and because you never put out your hand when you’re stopping or turning, we have no idea if your swerving means you’re planning to go down the street on the right or if your slowness means you’re about to stop at the other side in order to go left when the light changes again.