I really like riding my bike. A lot. When it snows I revel in the street wide slip-n-slide, ignoring iced out pinky fingers. August afternoon rides are an opportunity to arrive sweat stained to every appointment, a badge saved for the dedicated cyclist. Urban traffic is an active obstacle course, a flair added to the morning commute. Montreal is so kind as to avoid running streetcar tracks, a welcome move for those with thin rubber and on two wheels.
The only scorn which remains universal for those in love with la bicicletta is the pesky taxi. Fare aboard and blindspots ablaze, the cyclist has long known to fear the downtown cabby. The conflict ignited over matters lost in urban legend, but the resentment is now a pillar of urban relations. It’s a shame really that the cyclist must watch every intersection for the lazy right turn, or play chicken with the last minute oncoming left turn. Warfare it seems, just to make it through a set of lights.
The next breed of people ferrying is the beloved UBER, blazing into cities to a mix of applause and audits. Uber is a cleaner way to arrange pick ups, smoother payment and provides employment with minimal hassle. It’s gotten me home a couple times when I was real drunk, Uber gets my friends home when they’re real drunk, it’s a good thing to have UBER when you’re drunk.
My issue’s with Uber arise when I am on my bike. The dreaded door prize is happily still missing from my trophy case, but the occasional Uber fare and driver have brought me close to owning it. Bombing down side streets on the way to class or home from the bar, curbside sedan doors have swung open, forcing me to test reaction times I’d rather ignore.
As Uber proliferates downtown, why not require the app to contain a page of cyclist awareness tips as part of the application process. While applicants wait for their background check to go through, they could click their way through a quick safety module. The content would be just the essential tips; check driver side doors for both passengers and themselves before opening, be mindful of right turns, and lefts on one ways.
The techniques to improve cyclist- door relations are beautiful in their simplicity. The Dutch Reach is a method developed to protect cyclists from the dooming door. It requires car occupants to twist ever so slightly and use their right hand to open their door. This forces the torso and their shoulders to rotate around, providing a vital view of any approaching traffic from behind. This simple shift in procedure means users can more easily see oncoming vehicular risks, to better protect themselves and traffic.
Uber is a service not far from its infancy, and has run a troubled course so far. They have faced multiple municipal legal hurdles and vicious backlash from the cab industry, and as of late are reported to be hemorrhaging money. A little bit of a positive rep, in any niche, is never a bad thing.
The cost of an extra level of education would be as simple as an extra email attachment, and perhaps they could win higher profit from a new demographic in the form of in-need cyclists. I love my bike, but I really like getting into some fun as well, and can’t always pedal responsibly. I know I am not the only cyclist to fall into this predicament, and I would more quickly turn to a service which I know respects cyclists safety, and I’m sure fellow pedallers would as well.
I have yet to see or hear of any continued issue between Cyclists and Uber’s, which is precisely why I believe this extra training should be discussed. Rather than react and attempt to temper an existing conflict, nip the tension in the bud. It is unfortunate taxis and cyclists hold such contempt for each other, mais c’est la vie. If approached amicably and openly, Uber drivers and cyclists could remain a cohesive couple.