Second Class Citizens

I was out riding after work going through a pyramid interval workout and I was rumbling through a conversation that I had with a co-worker before I got off work. It was then I realized that I now fully understand what she was talking about. Anyone that rides a bike, for what ever reason, is a 2nd class citizen.

Here is how I came to that conclusion from our conversation. It was about 15 minutes before the end of the work day and this being Friday I was ready to go, but I sat down and started a conversation with a co-worker friend with the intent to kill time. One thing lead to another and pretty soon we were talking about how this corner newspaper “paper boy” (it’s an elderly woman that sells newspapers at an intersection) would always get in her way driving to or from work (I can’t remember which one it was). “What do you mean?”, I ask. “She’s always riding her bike on the road and I always get stuck behind her and have to wait for all the traffic behind me to pass me up before I can go around her” my co-worker says. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Me – but she can ride on the road. It’s probably her only mode of transportation
Co-worker – no she can’t, she needs to ride on the other side of the road facing traffic and its not my fault that she can’t afford a car
Me – no she has to ride with traffic and the DPS (Department of Public Safety) handbook says she can ride on the road
Co-worker – well she doesn’t pay taxes for the road (implying that cyclist don’t pay taxes and thus can’t use the road)
me – the majority of cyclists do pay taxes, we drive cars too and pay the plate tax (as well as gas tax but I forgot to mention that)
Co-worker – it’s an accident waiting to happen
Me – accidents happen all the time in cars, walking, running …
Co-worker – well I can understand if there is a bike lane they can use that
Me – what if there is no bike lane?
Co-worker – well they can ride on the dirt then
Me – lol (with you gotta be kidding look)
Co-worker – not laughing with a I mean it look and this is getting uncomfortable look

At that point I could see that my co-worker was getting uncomfortable with the conversation so I changed the subject to something else.

I didn’t think much of it until I later on my ride. There was two items about that conversation that really was bothering me. One, my co-worker’s lack of empathy for someone less fortunate and two, the ride on the dirt comment. My co-worker doesn’t care about the other person, their attitude is “I’m in my big motor vehicle driving down the road and I don’t need you blocking my path.” Either ride on the other side of the road and bother someone or ride on the bike lane that we provided, better yet, just ride on the dirt. If you can’t afford to buy a car, then you are just a second class citizen.

What a piss poor attitude and unfortunately there are many others with similar attitudes, but what can I do?

Are you a second class citizen? Let me know if you had similar conversations, I am interested in hearing from you.

Keep them wheels spinning.