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You’re Welcome Mr. Motorist 42

Amsterdam Bicyclist

Photo “Going Strong” by Marc van Woudenberg / Amsterdamize 

You’re welcome Mr. Motorist. I’m happy that my mode of transportation has allowed more space on the road for you to get to your destination more efficiently.

One less car on the road to get in your way and increase congestion, right?

It’s my pleasure. It really is.

Remember the construction that was happening on your main commuting route last summer? I know, that was quite the drag.

You don’t need to thank me for putting very little wear and tear on our streets. I know it prolongs our roads and avoids those pesky construction delays, but don’t mention it. Seriously.

And oh those health care costs. Did you know that heart disease and strokes are two of the top three causes of death in Canada? In America, cardiovascular diseases and stroke cost an estimated $475.3 billion in 2009.

Isn’t it great that my commute helps keep me healthy so I can help reduce our health care costs? I would hate to be a burden on your pocketbook.

And how about those gas prices? Isn’t it wonderful that my bicycle doesn’t require gasoline? It’d be a shame if I contributed to increasing demand for fuel – driving gas prices even higher.

You don’t deserve that Mr. Driver. You deserve inexpensive fuel.

Amsterdam Duo

Photo “Going Strong” by Marc van Woudenberg / Amsterdamize 

And what’s the deal with those downtown parking spaces? Those parking attendants are borderline criminal.

As if you don’t already pay enough for insurance, gasoline, repairs, registration, and maintenance for your car. Those parking guys want to charge you $20 a day to park your car? It’s criminal I tell ‘ya.

So it’s a good thing I’m not taking up those precious spaces. I’d hate for you to be late for a meeting while trying to find a parking spot for your car.

There’s no need to thank me for helping to pay for those free parking spaces at the local grocery store, either. I know, I know – that land wasn’t cheap for the grocery store to buy so that you could park your car there for free.

But I’m happy to do my part to subsidize those parking spaces for you – consider it a little gift from me to you.

Don’t bother thanking me for all the time I spend advocating for better bike infrastructure, either. I know, it will benefit both of us – it will keep me out of your way so you can get to your destination without being impeded by me, and it will also make me more predictable so you don’t have to be distracted by me while you’re on your phone. It’s a win-win situation, right? But no need to mention it, I’m cool with it.

You also don’t need to thank me for subsidizing the construction and maintenance of our city streets through the taxes that I pay. Yes, it’s true that less than 1% of those roadways that we both pay for are designed for bicycles, but that’s no fault of yours Mr. Driver, so no need to thank me for putting up with this.

It’s just one of those sacrifices that we as citizens make for each other – no need to thank me at all.

But I will ask one thing from you Mr. Motorist. It would be great if you could be a bit more cautious when you’re driving around me.

If you could do me that one favour, I’d be more grateful than you will ever know.

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04598267111382640345 Eneko Astigarraga

    Nice point of view!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16091536510203894162 Cherilyn

    Perfect. Wonderfully written!

  • Anonymous

    1. This needs to be included in driving education, fuel bill statements, etc.

    2. I would go a little further and mention that some of the gifts are temporary as space for cars will be reduced as their numbers decline :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09569097700652272494 ian…

    Very nicely put :>)

  • http://www.trivinet.com/ trivial online

    I love it. Wonderfully written!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05642298460152468319 Janice in GA

    I want a sign on my bike that says “More gas for YOU!” Maybe I’d get more respect then. :)

  • http://waterloobikes.ca/ Graham Roe

    Well Said!

    And Mr Motorist your welcome for the purification that my well used lungs provide filtering out your pollutants!

  • http://nocargr.com/ Tyler Doornbos

    Brilliant! Now to figure out how to get motorists to read it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13299453772790771792 Henry

    They need to be motorists. So we need to target them as they drive. Reading as they drive. How do we get motorists to read things as they drive? It seems so unsafe…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01607372827627527450 Kent Peterson

    Send it to Click & Clack, NPRs Tappet Brothers. They read everything and it hits the kind of funny & true vein that they like. Of course, if they read part of it on the air you’ll only reach the NPR crowd, but it’s a start.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18235513785018726474 PaddyAnne

    Excellent!! Very good, well written and it helps to remind me of certain points that I need to use when discussing city riding myself. Cheers! :)

  • http://www.georgepechtol.com/ george

    awesome post, buddy!!! i loved it!
    - g

  • Anonymous

    Incredibly smug, poorly written. It leaves no doubt in my mind as to why many motorists dislike cyclists. I am a cyclist and would gladly shove my forks up your arse if you took that tone in conversation with me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    @Anonymous, it seems you have missed the point of the article. It is intended to be sarcastic and smug.

    Think of it as a voice inside your head right after a motorist yells at you to get off the road and on to the sidewalk.

    Or you could read it with a Homer Simpson voice in mind (as someone on reddit had suggested). Maybe that would help you not take the tone so literally.

    The purpose of this article is to show the perspective of the bicyclist (even though I do drive cars occasionally too).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14376126385609679695 Nik the Stik

    I shared this on Facebook. I’m always referring to drivers as Bubbas and Bubbettes so I think the styling is fantastic.

    “Great arguments for the Bubba crowd who otherwise would like to wear our carcasses as hood ornaments . . .”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10269615938898501712 She Rides a Bike

    Good post. I noticed the price of gas was over $3 in my community, and I’m pleased. Yes, I am being smug but je ne give-a-damn pas.

  • http://urbanmilwaukee.com/ Dave Reid

    It really is true, that bike commuters are helping auto commuters. Less damage to streets, less demand for oil, less space used on the road, and so on… nice

  • http://sexify.wordpress.com/ sexify

    I agree.

    It’s utterly, utterly infuriating to hear car addicts arguing vehemently against safe bicycle infrastructure, totally clueless about all the ways they as car addicts stand to benefit.

    Adam

  • someone

    Why are you all so absorbed in your smug self-righteousness?

  • Anonymous

    hey, smug cyclist, it would be great if you stayed the fuck off the road altogether; you slow everyone down (because you still take up a full lane), or cause dangerous confusion when people have to swerve around you. You also seem to think that you can become a pedestrian when it suits you, and shoot from the road across crosswalks, ignore stop signs, and speed down the lines between vehicles in heavy traffic.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Hey ignorant motorist. Sounds like your time would be better spent advocating for segregated bicycle infrastructure to rectify the issues you are whining about instead of leaving ignorant anonymous comments on the Internet.

  • Kungfuwookie

    It’s only the smug bicyclists that seem to swerve randomly into traffic, if I were one I’d probably try and kill myself too.

  • Kungfuwookie

    It’s only the smug bicyclists that seem to swerve randomly into traffic, if I were one I’d probably try and kill myself too.

  • Guest

    Learn some basic bike safety and you wouldnt be hood ornaments, and instead of demonizing ever person that drives a car as a “Bubba” perhaps you should realize that we cant all be bike messengers

    • Doodles

      Fun fact! Many drivers are aggressive assholes who value their own convenience over a cyclist’s physical safety. Fact. It happens. For real. I’m happy you’ve never seen anything bad happen or had anything bad happen to you. Your life must be fantastic! But that doesn’t mean shit doesn’t happen, just because you choose to wear blinders.

  • Guest

    Learn some basic bike safety and you wouldnt be hood ornaments, and instead of demonizing ever person that drives a car as a “Bubba” perhaps you should realize that we cant all be bike messengers

  • Doodles

    Fun fact! Many drivers are aggressive assholes who value their own convenience over a cyclist’s physical safety. Fact. It happens. For real. I’m happy you’ve never seen anything bad happen or had anything bad happen to you. Your life must be fantastic! But that doesn’t mean shit doesn’t happen, just because you choose to wear blinders.

  • Doodles

    Get iron-on letters at a craft store and decorate the back of a tshirt. I made one that says “SIDEWALKS ARE FOR PEDESTRIANS”. Easy peasy.

  • Doodles

    Get iron-on letters at a craft store and decorate the back of a tshirt. I made one that says “SIDEWALKS ARE FOR PEDESTRIANS”. Easy peasy.

  • http://twitter.com/BikeBikeYYC BikeBike Inc.

    Smug is the new black.

    If the “motorheads” in here are offended, so be it. I am offended almost daily by their inability to pilot their killing machines safely including not stopping at crosswalks, passing me so close I can touch their car, and speeding down my street.

    Eat it, it’s good for you.

  • http://twitter.com/BikeBikeYYC BikeBike Inc.

    Smug is the new black.

    If the “motorheads” in here are offended, so be it. I am offended almost daily by their inability to pilot their killing machines safely including not stopping at crosswalks, passing me so close I can touch their car, and speeding down my street.

    Eat it, it’s good for you.

  • http://www.cussons-hansmann.com/ Saladrigas Cussons

    So lovely! This is the message motorists the world over need to hear and notice. This other side of the Atlantic, in sunny and beautiful Barcelona, drives are starting to understand cyclists. Thank you! Jaume http://www.cussons-hansmann.com

  • http://www.cussons-hansmann.com/ Saladrigas Cussons

    So lovely! This is the message motorists the world over need to hear and notice. This other side of the Atlantic, in sunny and beautiful Barcelona, drives are starting to understand cyclists. Thank you! Jaume http://www.cussons-hansmann.com

  • http://www.cussons-hansmann.com/ Saladrigas Cussons

    Why do you have to be so rude? Just shup up.

  • http://www.cussons-hansmann.com/ Saladrigas Cussons

    Why do you have to be so rude? Just shup up.

  • debbieg

    Great article! Honestly, we all know that cycling helps communities and helps the earth, so we should all look for ways to make cycling safer.

  • debbieg

    Great article! Honestly, we all know that cycling helps communities and helps the earth, so we should all look for ways to make cycling safer.

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