Words & Deeds

Hate Boise bicyclists? Cool. They hate skateboarders. But e-scooters are worst, right?

Hey, cyclists, here are the Idaho bike laws you should be following

Idaho Stop Law allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. Boise Police Officer Blake Slater shows in the video how you can ride safely in Idaho.
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Idaho Stop Law allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. Boise Police Officer Blake Slater shows in the video how you can ride safely in Idaho.

Confession: I am a nuisance.

This isn’t news to Idaho Statesman readers. But my resume as an irritant extends beyond the professional realm. I have street cred. I commute to work by bike. Every day, motorists clench their teeth because I share roads with them that we both pay taxes to maintain.

It’s no secret out there. Boise drivers are annoyed by bicyclists.

But did you know that cyclists can’t stand skateboarders? (I just found this out.)

And can we all agree that e-scooters are the total freaking worst?

Actually, we probably can’t. Something about traveling on wheels makes us all disagreeable.

Just the other day, a fellow American screamed at me for obeying Idaho statute on my bike. After pausing at a stoplight, I pedaled calmly and safely through an intersection. Forced to wait for the light, this man started cursing at me.

He was driving a truck, after all.

“Go back to California!” I squawked back, unleashing our city’s ultimate vapid insult. “You ever heard of ‘Idaho stop law’?!”

Actually, I did not say a word. He was probably from, like, Garden City. I rode off silently, attempting to avoid traffic and an unnecessary encounter with a psychotic road rager.

I’ve come to terms with my pedal-powered status as a dreg of Boise society. I take solace in the knowledge that there are trendier troublemakers on Idaho roadways.

E-scooters steal all the headlines now. I love it.

E-scooters clutter up sidewalks. Their drivers munch avocado toast and weave haphazardly through traffic.

E-scooters crash into large, open holes in the ground. They clog rivers where they’ve been chucked.

E-scooters are a plague. When did everyone get so lazy that they can’t walk or pedal places?

(I also despise gas- and electric-powered bicycles when ridden on sidewalks. I am being irrational. I admit it.)

E-scooters draw negative attention away from cyclists. But fundamentally, I loathe e-scooters because I am not a millennial. Strange how that works, isn’t it?

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Hey wait, is that dude riding a Bird e-scooter the wrong way in the protected bike lane in front of City Hall? At least he’s wearing a helmet? Katherine Jones kjones@IdahoStatesman.com

All I know is that when it comes to punching bags on wheels, there is a hierarchy. And bikes and e-scooters actually reside in the top half.

I witnessed the bottom of the pecking order last week.

A skateboarder had flopped down near the middle of a footbridge crossing the Boise River. It’s by the Connector. Thrill-seekers do backflips into the water below. The skater had positioned his board on its side and perpendicular to the path, obnoxiously blocking one side.

A mountain biker riding 20 feet ahead of me was not amused about navigating around this bridge situation.

Removing a foot from his pedal, he booted the skateboard aside while passing.

Imagine the next 2 seconds in slow motion. The board plopped over on its wheels. Slowly, it began to roll.

You know the rest.

As the skater howled in dismay behind us, it sauntered off the edge and plunged down, down, down — into the depths of the Boise River.

I’m not certain the cyclist witnessed his evil deed. “You knocked it in the river!” I shouted moments later, as we rode opposite ways on the Greenbelt. “Way to go!”

Maybe he thought my remark was congratulatory.

A tiny, crummy fraction of it probably was.

Did the punishment fit the crime? Absolutely not. Skateboards aren’t cheap. That board, if miraculously recovered, is destined to rust in peace.

I could have chased down the mountain biker. Sorry, kid. But I do appreciate you skateboarders for enduring abuse.

I’m also sorry that cyclists are the enemy of inconsiderate teenage skaters. I never knew.

Michael Deeds’ 2016 column, “12 uncool things about Boise” got a lot of people talking in online comments and on social media. It flew over the heads of some stony-faced Idahoans. Others enjoyed the sarcasm. Michael shares some of the best.

If you want to holler and kick at cyclists or skaters on our sidewalks and streets, go ahead. In today’s toxic socio-political climate, nobody expects anything less, sadly.

Plenty of bike riders are self-centered. I see it. But not all of them. And, yes, skateboarders are a traditional pest. But it’s mostly a dated stereotype.

Please don’t vent your frustrations by operating a motor vehicle aggressively and dangerously. And if you don’t know “Idaho stop law,” look it up. Stop hating on cyclists jealously from your car.

As for the scourge of e-scooters crowding our sidewalks? Ironically, they’re named Bird, but try to refrain from flipping one at them. And you probably shouldn’t tip over e-scooters like dominoes — satisfying as that might feel.

If you do, though, prepare to hear a “Way to go!” From a passing cyclist.

In a tone that isn’t explicitly supportive or sarcastic.

Being a nuisance requires nuance.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and opinion columnist at the Idaho Statesman. Since starting at the Statesman as a news intern in 1991, he has been a sportswriter and features/entertainment editor. Deeds also has freelanced for The Washington Post, Relix, Country Weekly, Velo News, Beer Advocate and more.