That headline isn’t entirely misleading, nor was it used as a tawdry way of grabbing your attention. (Well, maybe it was a little tawdry.) In any event, in Massachusetts, the law governing bicycle use includes a lines that require us cycluters to get horny, in a manner of speaking. It reads thusly:
Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 85, Section 11B.2
"The operator of a bicycle shall give an audible warning, whenever necessary, to insure safe operation of the bicycle; however, the use of a siren or whistle is prohibited."
When I was a kid, I used to have one of those clown horns mounted on my handlebars. Squeeze the rubber bulb and you got the sound of a pre-adolescent goose. I stopped using it, though, about the same time I stopped hanging plastic streamers from my handlebar grips and clothespinning playing cards to my rear wheel frame to make fake engine noises as they slapped against my spokes. (With all due respect to Harpo Marx, of course.)
Anyway, I’d love to hook up a siren or hang a whistle between my lips but those are, apparently, illegal in the Bay State. Without some kind of other device to make noise, we’re on our own to “get horny” by making whatever “audible warning” we need to “insure safe operation.”
I suppose that includes “HEY, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” which is my audible warning of choice to inattentive motorists, lately. According to the law, it appears there’s no restriction on language, so feel free to insert your favorite epithet (at your own risk) in the blank after “HEY, _____.”
OK, OK ... I suppose I shouldn't be using valuable blog space to encourage rudeness. We cycluters, after all, shouldn't stoop to the level of motorists who are emboldened to engage in roadrageous behavior by wrapping themselves in a ton or two of metallic armor.
But if a motorist yells something back at you after you've yelled the pleasantry of your choice to insure your safety, just explain that you’re required by law to make an audible warning and pedal merrily on your way.
Or you could get a clown horn.