Don’t run me down

John Bilinsky is a bike rider and local property owner.

An open letter to all new arrivals to Chico with the intent of making this fine little town safer for me:

This is a bicycling town. You can get to most places in town that newcomers will be interested in on a bike in 25 minutes or less. By using your bike for transportation, you will not only save dwindling resources, but also make yourself healthier in the process!

Both Upper and Lower Bidwell Park are much more accessible via bike. Furthermore, if you and your frat brothers or sorority sisters bike, it will be safer for me. If you consume too much Pale Ale at Five Mile, at least when you bike back to your hovel, you will only (in all likelihood) hurt yourself and not me.

When you are in downtown Chico, please keep in mind that we do have a real, alive and vibrant downtown, not the sterile asphalt strip-mall-laden hell that you are used to back home in Contra Costa County. This means do not ride your damned bike on the sidewalks in downtown Chico. I shop downtown, and if you hit me with your bike, you might just get caromed off into oncoming traffic. However, there are also older folks who also shop, and you could hurt one of them. Ride on the streets, damn it!

Also, whenever possible try to keep off Mangrove Avenue and The Esplanade. There are many much-less-traveled side streets just one or two blocks up (or down) from these “auto arteries.”

If you must drive a motor vehicle, pay attention. There are one-way streets in Chico. Get a map of Chico and learn where the traffic goes one way. Keep in mind that bikes have as much right of way on the streets as cars do. I know you poor dears down in Tustin never saw a person on a bicycle before; you never had to share the road with anything but other cars. Well, in Chico you will be sharing the road with me. If I am in front of you on my bike and I do not blast off the line when the light turns green, take a chill pill and do not honk your horn at me, for I surely will flip you off and offer you some creative driving advice. I am as interested in getting the hell out of your way as soon as I can, because I want you to see me, not for you to hear a "thump" and wonder what that was.