The Bike Commuter Code has spurred a lot of insightful conversations and comments from fellow commuters. Brian, of Tales from the Sharrows, even wrote his own post about my post which you can find here—meta blogging!
Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas. After reading all the tweets, comments and emails I have a clarification and some additions to make to the Bike Commuter Code.
First, the clarification. The code is what I have actually observed in the city in terms of how commuters deal with each other. Yes, there are some “should do’s” thrown in, but for the most part the code is just trying to capture “what is,” and general sentiments about commuting. As I said in the original post, it is not really the rules of the road, although those are definitely in play whenever we ride.
Based on people’s feedback, I have made seven Bike Commuter Code additions:
16. There seems to be no code when it comes to obeying traffic rules. Credit to Charlie for this one. Some commuters stop at stoplights and some do not. Also, just because the person in front of you ran the light, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to follow suit.
17. “Ninja bikers “– those who ride without lights at night– are no friend of the general commuting population, as Rambling Rider notes. During the more temperate spring and fall seasons, which also coincide with the new bike rider seasons, there is an increase in ninja commuters. As a result, there is also an increase in angry tweets about these #ninjabikers. Get a headlight and a taillight and get with the program, ninja bikers.
18. Some commuters really like to practice trackstands at stoplights, as Rachel and Portajohn said. I had never noticed this, but after reading their comments, I observed someone desperately attempting a one-minute trackstand on my commute home.
Trackstands do not make a person more special or righteous, and after a point they are silly. However, as I said, some people really like to practice them. Portajohn also has a rather detailed theory about the Bike Commuter Code of Trackstand Superiority which can be found in the original Bike Commuter Code post.
19. Hand signals are helpful to other cyclists as well as cars. Credit to #bikeDC tweep @nikki_d. Not everyone uses them. Also, it is common and acceptable to stick your right arm straight out to indicate a right turn, as opposed to hoisting your left arm at a right angle. The latter is a remnant of car signaling, and bikes are not cars.
20. People in Washington, D.C., are less friendly (overtly, anyway) than in other places. Andrew says that in Australia, fellow commuters will say “g’day” if passing each other. Craziness! And Deb says that the commuters in the D.C. burbs will chat at stoplights. More craziness!
21. Commuters who encounter other “regulars” on their commute will generally acknowledge each other in some way. At least, Rootchopper says they will.
22. If you see a cyclist on the side of the road with their bike and possibly fiddling with it, it is customary to ask “Do you have everything you need?” or “Alright?” as dasgeh commented. While most commuters carry the tools and supplies they need for those inconvenient mechanicals, cyclists will help each other out when necessary.
Thank you for reading, and for your additions and thoughts on the Bike Commuter Code. Remember you are all special and righteous, and have a great weekend!