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On my bike, I am the worst version of me: Vicky Mochama

There are valid reasons for my manners declining and my contempt rising. Starting with this: vehicles are rude.

For now, I only go on adventures that have a bike lane; I go to work and back home, so I’m very clear about the rules on that short commute, writes Vicky Mochama.

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For now, I only go on adventures that have a bike lane; I go to work and back home, so I’m very clear about the rules on that short commute, writes Vicky Mochama.

“Excuse me.” I tapped again on the window. “Excuse me.” He rolled down the window.

“Technically, you’re not allowed to stop here.”

And off I rode, prim as can be.

This is who I have become now. After living in cities for the last decade, I finally decided to get a bike. (“Get” is generous; I was given one and “It was free” is the reason I do 99 per cent of the activities that I do.)

But I have a bike now and I have become the worst version of myself.

There are valid reasons for my manners declining and my contempt rising.

First of all, vehicles are rude. That’s really the best way I can put it. As a pedestrian, it was easier to note when a car had crossed a boundary. Chances are they were way too close or no longer on the road. Their violations couldn’t be subtle.

But as a cyclist, I’ve picked up on all the infractions that cars get up to: not signalling before turning, exceeding the posted speed limit, opening doors without checking. So far, none of them have harmed me. But there have been close calls. Each one leaves me shaken — then seething.

Secondly, I am learning how to cycle in the city. For now, I only go on adventures that have a bike lane; I go to work and back home. So I’m very clear about the rules on that short commute.

But in the interest of letting my bike see other streets (she came from a home of adventurers), I’ve tried other roads. The rules on them were less clear. I’m not ashamed to say that I have happily hopped off my bike and walked the parts I didn’t like.

Trying other roads occasionally is how I found myself knock knock-knockin’ at this Camry’s door. And it’s not the first time.

One thing I have learned – at least in Toronto – is that cars aren’t allowed to idle in bike lanes. One thing cars haven’t learned is that they’re not allowed to idle in bike lanes. And so, I told him off.

I would never in any other situation infringe on someone’s idling.

I see teens loitering under No Loitering signs all the time. I chuckle at the juxtaposition and go on my merry way.

Suddenly I’m the Miss Manners of the Bike Lane. I’m supposed to be young and cool. I don’t even like rules!

But the rules matter when you’re a bike sharing the road with cars. They are, as it turns out, a matter of life and death.

Maybe when cars stop misbehaving, I’ll stop rapping on their doors.

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