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Rebellion by Bike: The Rules of The Road


Photo taken on the Truckee River bike path, by Austin Wallis.

By Austin Wallis

As a native Nevadan and lover of the biggest little city, I have become pretty familiar with Reno’s streets thanks to my bike. I try to get out on two wheels as often as I can, especially now that it’s spring and generally beautiful outside (I’m even learning to love the 2 pm gust of wind that picks up on my daily commute).

Biking feels good, it reduces my carbon footprint, and it’s better for my wallet because I’m not spending cash on gas. Those are the obvious reasons to get out on a bike.

Lately though I’ve been thinking, that riding my bike is also a small act of rebellion. A rebellion against my lazy-self who’d rather sleep in than cycle to work. But then I saddle up, put the helmet on my head, feel fresh air against my face and the thought of the car feels like a cage. I am then so thankful for the pedals under my feet and sun on my arms. It’s worth it.

Riding a bike also feels like a rebellion against the tidal wave of motorists in Reno who haven’t ridden a bike since they were 12 and forget how naked it feels to have to share the road with semi-trucks and minivans blowing by you at 50mph.

It’s a rebellion against those who honk at me when I’m riding in the bike lane, who speed up as they pass and threaten me with a middle finger and a near a side swipe.

I obey the rules of the road, and you should too if you’re a driver and give me three-feet when you pass by, as is required of you by law (NRS 484B.270).

I’ve noticed that drivers in this town can be highly aggressive to a bicycle commuter, which fuels my fire even more to keep riding the streets every day as a visible reminder to people to share the road, to slow down, pay attention, and maybe even inspire them to get out of their steel boxes and into the open air.

Do it for your health, for your community, for the Earth, for whatever reason… “Just ride a bike, and get there free.”

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