For Drivers

Dear car drivers and other road users –

You might discover San Jose Bike Party on a street near you.  Perhaps you’ve met us already on a Friday night, or perhaps you’re concerned about traffic on an upcoming Friday night.  Allow us to properly introduce ourselves.

San Jose Bike Party is a monthly ride of people who love bicycling, getting together to build community through bicycling.  In a typical month in Fall 2009, we are over 2,000 riders coming together for healthy, sustainable fun once a month.  San Jose’s a huge city with a lot going for it, but we often lack the sort of community gatherings, festivals, and events that other metro areas take for granted.  That’s where we come in.  Bike Party is free to participants, open to all, and offers a great chance to explore our city’s interesting neighborhoods while getting a bit of exercise and meeting hundreds of wonderful new friends.

We’re not out to make your life miserable or to cause a conflict, but sometimes inconveniences and worse do occur.  Here are a few things to remember to make your encounter with our ride a pleasant one:

  • We post our entire ride route on this website before each ride.  If you’re going to be out driving on a Friday night, check here to see if you can avoid our traffic.  Since we typically ride 20-30 miles in a large loop each night, we’ll pass through quite a few neighborhoods.
  • If you end up driving near our ride, we will make every effort to help you pass through and/or drive away from the crowd of cyclists.  This requires your help and understanding, as it is not always easy to make a gap in a ride of over 1,000 cyclists.  You wouldn’t expect bikes to be able to cross I-280 at rush hour, would you?  Likewise, it will be hard (not necessarily impossible) for you to cross our ride.  Please be patient and forgiving.
  • The vast majority of cyclists who attend Bike Party are out to have fun with friends and enjoy our city while following rules, but as with any large event, we do most likely have some bad apples in attendance.  Please do not engage with aggressive riders or argumentative individuals.  We will do everything we can to minimize and de-escalate conflict, but we need you to behave calmly and thoughtfully to de-escalate conflicts and avoid trouble.
  • Please remember that cyclists have rights to the road equal to motorists.  We are required by law to take the full lane any time it is unsafe to allow a car to pass.  Do not honk incessantly at us for doing what is safe and prudent – after all, you are driving a multi-ton steel weapon and we are trusting our lives to your predictable and legal driving habits.

For some folks, the above information might not seem to be enough.  Certainly some conflicts and disturbances will occur, but many volunteers are working very hard to minimize any problems that might emerge as side-effects of our community ride:

  • We only organize major rides on Friday nights, well after rush hour.  We hope to disrupt the fewest commuters by waiting until they’re off the roads to begin our ride, and we ride on a weekend night to guarantee that we do not disrupt children’s sleep on a school night.
  • We carefully plan and test routes several weeks in advance to attempt to avoid residential neighborhoods late at night, although no route is perfect – sometimes things take longer than expected and we end up later than desired, and some residential areas are difficult to avoid.  If you are bothered by large numbers of bicyclists on your street late at night, we suggest lobbying your local representatives to make major arteries more bike-friendly.
  • Our volunteers have developed a series of rules to govern how we ride that aims to prevent most safety problems and conflicts.  Of course, we cannot guarantee that all riders follow these rules, just as Shoreline Amphitheater has a difficult time enforcing their no-smoking policy.
  • Volunteers organize themselves to pick up trash at each of our meet-up locations after our ride departs.  We prefer to Leave No Trace of where we’ve been, excepting positive memories and exciting friendships, of course.
  • We hold open volunteer meetings once a month where new ideas to solve problems are more than welcome.

Certainly, problems will occur, but we hope that our many efforts to minimize conflict will help make San Jose a friendlier, more sustainable, more community-oriented city.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you’ll consider riding with us or just waving us on as we pass!

With love,

– San Jose Bike Party