I feel like such a jerk. But the guy had it coming to him...
Tonight, as I drove my car down Berry Hill Road toward Teddy Roosevelt Beach in Oyster Bay, I came upon a sweaty, shirtless cyclist who appeared to be in his mid 70's. He was wearing nylon short-shorts with half his junk hanging out and he was rolling along at an above average speed. At first, I grinned to myself and thought about how awesome it was for a guy with 25 years (or so) on me to be tearing up the road at such a clip, his bushy grey beard dripping sweat onto his top tube and his wrinkly, hairy arm skin flapping in the breeze.
Then he blew the first STOP sign. And not just a STOP sign on a back road with no traffic. I'm talking a STOP sign where three cars, including myself, were hitting our brakes. Now, trust me...this was no oversight on his part. The guy, who had been swerving a little too far into the center of the road just before this point, clearly intended to ignore the sign. "A-hole!" I mumbled under my breath.
Then, as expected, he blew the next STOP sign. Then he ran a red light at Berry Hill and Rt. 106, a busy four-way intersection with a bottleneck that causes enough trouble WITHOUT a renegade bicyclist stirring things up. To make matters worse, in the middle of the intersection, which had slowed down to allow a woman to make a left into a gas station just north of the whole mess, he started weaving in and out of cars at full speed, causing SUV's and Beemers to jam on their brakes and honk their horns in total disgust and disbelief.
So why do I feel like a jerk? Because from this moment forward, I actually started messing with the guy, subtly, but with sinister intent. I caught up and, unlike all the other cars that were veering way over into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid him, I pulled beside him, leaving only about two feet between us, and I coasted with him for about a mile, looking straight ahead the whole time, as if I didn't know he was there. And as I approached a corner, I pulled slightly to the right as if to make a right turn, but in reality, just to block him from blowing through.
Of course, I never did - and never would - put a person in danger, but this was way more aggressive than I've ever been, especially with a bicyclist. For me, this guy, old enough to know much better, represented everything everybody finds repulsive about bicyclists. He's the reason people honk at me and other cyclists on the road just to express their disdain. Although I have never had a physical confrontation with anyone in my life, I felt like I could have pulled that guy off his bike and pounded him for being such a jackass.
As mentioned in a recent post of mine, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano passed legislation this week to require designers of all new roads in the county to consider including accommodations for bicycles. With idiots like this on the road, I'm not sure we deserve it.