Terrorized by Bicyclists

For some reason that baffles me, Seattle, one of the rainiest places in the U.S., boasts a large number of folks who bike to work, the store, and around town in general.  Even our mayor claims to bike to work, although either he’s lying or he’s compensating for the exercise by biking through McDonald’s one too many times (not charitable, I know, but I’m not a fan). 

Rain aside, Seattle lends itself to biking because many office buildings have showers and the dress code at most businesses is so lax (thanks, Microsoft) that for those whose colleagues don’t mind the stench, showers are not an impediment to a sweaty pre-work ride, showers or no showers.  Drivers also are extremely deferential to bicyclists, refraining from honking when the less experienced biker takes up an entire lane on a four lane road causing a parade-like back-up at rush hour.

Last time I checked, however, bicyclists were obligated to follow the same rules of the road that cars follow.  Apparently, some think otherwise. 

While driving to the office today, I stopped at a red light and put my right turn signal on.  When the light turned green, I checked the sidewalk for pedestrians and began to make my right hand turn.  Suddenly, yelling ensued.  I stopped to determine the source of the screaming and saw a bicyclist (who was not there when I was stopped at the light) come careening down the hill and through the intersection).  Pardon my language, but WTF!  Now, a car certainly could not have decided to jump out from behind me and foil my right turn efforts, so what makes this bicyclist think he can? 

Was he emboldened by Seattle’s pro-bike policy to disregard the traffic laws and his and my safety?  Or, was he just plain stupid (not to mention unjustifiably indignant)? 

Perhaps, you should need a license to ride a bike on the city streets?   Something that ensures you actually know the traffic laws . . .because I’m pretty sure that helmet and raincoat aren’t going to save you when you crash your bike into a semi.

What do you think?