Views / Winnipeg / Urban Compass Winnipeg

Six ways a cyclist with a death wish can become a hood ornament

A couple of months ago I wrote a column called Six Ways to Kill a Cyclist that got a fair number of people upset.

Some thought I was offering an actual how-to guide to committing vehicular homicide (which I wasn’t), some thought I was making fun of drivers (which I was) and some thought by using satire I was making it acceptable for drivers to run over cyclists and contributing to the overall downfall of society (which is ridiculous).

Fortunately, most readers understood it for what it was: a tongue-in-cheek reminder to drivers and city administrators on how to make streets a bit safer for their two-wheeled friends.

However, after witnessing countless near-misses over the past few weeks, it seems some cyclists don’t want to be protected. So, for the benefit of those with a death wish, here’s your own — completely farcical — guide to becoming a hood ornament.

1. Blow through stop signs and red lights. The easiest way to get hit by a car is to use the element of surprise. So keep your momentum up by not even slowing down at intersections and you can easily frighten drivers who foolishly think a green light gives them the right of way.

2. Take the sidewalk. Another effective way to launch a sneak attack on drivers is to ride along sidewalks. They can’t see you, and they’re not expecting anything as fast as a bike to be crossing a road, so it’s easy to pop out when they least expect it. Boo! Bang!

3. Weave through traffic, or ride the wrong way down the street. Why limit yourself to the usual dangers in the right-hand lane when you can wind your way through traffic and give everyone a chance to hit you? As an added bonus, you make all cyclists look like jerks, so maybe you’ll drag a few more down with you!

4. Hug the curb. You don’t have to be a kamikaze-style cyclist to put yourself at risk. Riding as close as possible to the curb is a great way to make yourself invisible to drivers, and to tempt them to squeeze by you as tightly as possible. You can also use this method to increase your odds of getting thrown off your bike by hitting a pothole or sewer grate.

5. Let your hair flow in the breeze. Hey, who needs a helmet when you’ve got a head as hard as yours, right?

6. Don’t ride your bike. A very stealth way to get yourself or someone else killed on a bike is to rarely ever use the thing. That way, cycling remains a fringe activity, never becomes a normal part of urban life and drivers and cyclists never figure out how to get along.

Now if anyone has complaints about this column, you can find me on my bike, wearing a helmet and an obnoxiously bright cycling jersey, stopped in the middle of the lane at a red light. I’ll be hard to miss!

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