Urban Diplomat: what to do when a cyclist is breaking the law with a toddler in tow
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was cycling behind a father with a toddler in a rear bike seat, and he was weaving in and out of traffic, and even ran a red light. I was so angry that when I caught up to him at an intersection, I lit into him. He told me to mind my own business and sped off. I obviously didn’t get through to him. What should I have done?
—Good intentions, bad temper,
He may have been criminally careless, but it doesn’t sound like he’s out to intentionally endanger his child’s life. If there’s a next time, consider giving the cyclist the benefit of the doubt. You’ll have more success if your tone is less accusing and more concerned: “I was watching you zip through traffic, and it scared me.” Your subtle intervention may not change his behaviour, but he won’t be able to dismiss you as a ranting crazy person, and you’ll have planted the seed of safety in his head for when he comes to the next red light.
Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at firstname.lastname@example.org