Home > Complete Streets, Cultural Movement, Representing > A Well Put Pledge To Behave Better

A Well Put Pledge To Behave Better

Well Put

Together, let’s say, ‘I solemnly pledge to behave

as considerately as possible no matter how I get around.’”

~ Mia Birk, planner and author

This response was proposed as one effective way to respond to reactive individuals who see more bicycles on the streets as simply a mob of two-wheeled scofflaws hell-bent on getting in the way of law-abiding motorists.

Birk’s comment was made while she was leading a Joyride discussion in Ithaca, New York last year. After hearing an individual’s predictable rant against reckless bicyclists, she calmly thanked him for the “opportunity to pledge to behave better.

She then asked everyone in the room who drives and, even at a discussion promoting bicycling, almost all of the hands went up. She then asked who rides a bike and again, almost all the hands stayed up. She then asked them to repeat specific pledges for behaving as a “driver” and as a “bicyclists.”

The short version being:

“I solemnly pledge to behave

as considerately as possible no matter how I get around.”

Do you drive?

Do you ride?

Are you ready to make the pledge?


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Mia Birk’s Full Pledges:

“I am a driver. I will not tailgate. I will drive slowly on neighborhood streets. I will be courteous to bicyclists and scan for and stop for pedestrians, always. I will refrain from talking, dialing, texting, or otherwise messing with my cell phone, as well as anything else that takes my attention away from my responsibility to the road. I am pleased to see cyclists on the road, and I hope to get on my bike for my next trip.”

“I am a bicyclist. I will not blow traffic signals. I will look for and yield to pedestrians. I will stay in the bike lane (if there is one and it is safe to do so) or over to the right to the best of my ability. If you behave aggressively toward me, I will repeat to myself, “serenity now, serenity now,” rather than flipping you off or confronting you. I will smile and wave thanks whenever you offer me the slightest bit of courtesy, because I know it can only help to be gracious to you, whoever you are.”

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