Missoula updates crosswalk sign, pleasing local crank

The Midnight Special, on which the author hurtles around

The Midnight Special, on which your author hurtles around

What constitutes news is a tricky question, influenced heavily by personal experience. For me, the best news of the last month has been that the City of Missoula changed the sign on the crosswalk where the Milwaukee Trail intersects with Russell Street. It used to depict a pedestrian; now it depicts a pedestrian and a bicycle. That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but for me it means a potential reduction in the number of drivers who honk, scream, or get out of their cars when I ride across.

Montana law does not require cyclists to get off and walk in crosswalks. Fat dudes in lifted pickups sure seem do, though, and they often cite the vital importance of this (imagined) traffic law when they get out to threaten me. In this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, I consider why the appearance of a bicycle throws so many drivers into murderous rage. It’s a little self-righteous, but consider the dangers attendant on riding a bicycle and driving a car, respectively. Riding a bike is a great way to exercise and get from place to place without polluting an already tricky environment. Driving a car is a great way to kill all of us slowly and a few of us very quickly. It’s not as simple as that, of course, but consider that the worst thing a cyclist can do to you when you’re driving is make you do something terrible to him. Or just cut down on yelling at people from your car in general. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links.

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