Tuesday, August 16, 2011

YOUR MOM KNOWS THE LAW (or why I don't cycle on the bleeding edge of the far right lane)

Quick question: which came first, the phrase "bleeding edge" or the printer's term "bleed"?

Okay, so, technically I suppose cyclists are meant to ride on the right side of the righthand lane. You know. In the gutter. I get yelled at a lot to get on the sidewalk but I'm not totally sure that's even legal in Dallas. Plus, I don't have a BMX bike. I ride nice and smooth across nice and smooth pavement—things like roads. That's why it's called a road bike. Not an alternating-road-now-whoops-curb-and-sidewalk-damn-pothole-pothole-pothole bike.

But trust me: it's safer for all of us if I don't ride where asphalt meets concrete. Far on the right side of the road, I'm trying to ride in the path your tires take, where the weight of the car rests—also known as the part of the road that takes all the wear and tear from your multi-ton death machines. The right side of the righthand lane is an unholy mess. It's a minotaur's maze of cracks and potholes and everything that would really really like to tump me out on my ass right in front of your bumper. I ride on the right side of the righthand lane and I ride erratically, I jerk my handlebars from side to side trying to avoid the landmines determined to trip me up.

Biking through Dallas is like playing Mario Kart, except nothing you run over is good and the chances of hitting another vehicle skyrocket.

Anyway, I'm skittering around the road like a one-eyed cat with its tail on fire and that's pretty damn not safe. If, however, I ride down the center of the righthand lane ... that's a whole different kettle of fish. It means that there aren't nearly as many potholes in my path. It means that if I do hit a pothole, I can avoid it by ducking my bike to the right—away from the traffic. And it means that there are still two more lanes for you to choose from.

Because if I ride down the center of the righthand lane, you won't try to ride behind me. If I hug the edge, you try to drive down my lane and smack me upside the head with your sideview mirror. If I hug the edge, you suddenly see that lane as free. But if I right down the center, I keep the lane—and my life—to myself.

And this is the beautiful Sidney that carries me safely from place to place!

That's right. I ride Sidney all night long.


  1. So, if you don't ride in the gutter and I don't ride in the gutter, why would anyone think it is a good idea.

  2. Incorrect. Technically, cyclists in Dallas are supposed to ride in the center of the lane, as you are doing.