Note to Self:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Dangerous Annoyance

Firstly, a couple things: the woman in the above picture is not the person that I speak of in the following text...I don't know who it is, it just resembles what I saw. I found the image here. Also, when I post these thoughts the last thing I want to do is imply that I am "Mr. Anti-Automobile" (but I do wish there were less of them), because I have a motorized vehicle myself...as stated in previous posts I have never claimed to be car-free, just car-lite...really lite.

Anyhow, the dangerous annoyance is this: people in cars pulling out or turning in front of me when they plainly see me coming...treating me as if I am a lesser vehicle on the road because it is not motorized, basically not taking me (on a bike) seriously. I can't tell you how often this happens. This instance that really P#%@!d me off happened yesterday, and it's the one that prompted this post; it happened on Elmwood Avenue.

I was cruising at a pretty good clip, and as is often the case when I ride down Elmwood (which is bustling, narrow, and has a lot of cars) I scan the parked cars in front of me for anyone about to open a door or pull out. There was one car, maybe three in front of me, where I could see there was a person in it...so I watched but kept pedaling. When I was almost up to it I was close enough to see that the motor was running, so close in fact that I could see the person's eyes in the side view mirror and that she in turn could see me (as in the photo above). When I was maybe half a car-length behind it, still pedaling, she abruptly pulled out, no turn signal...nothing. Luckily I was riding the mule, which has good stopping power. I didn't fall off the bike, nor did I hit her...though I did think I was going to hit the rear end of the car.

Now, I'm a pretty patient guy, but this really got my blood boiling...enough-is-enough already. It was such an obvious infraction that a person who was waiting at a bus stop yelled certain expletives at her that I'd rather not print here. As previously implied, I think everyone has their right to own and drive a vehicle...I just wish it were a law that they ride a bike once in a while to see what it's like amongst the big metal boxes.

Anyhow, just felt the need to get this off my chest. Thanks for letting me vent.

2 comments:

Wern said...

I've recently come to the conclusion that they need to add (at least 10 that I can think of) questions specific to bicycles on driving tests to help raise awareness to drivers. Further, this section would be graded seperately and require the driver to score 9/10 before receiving their license.

workbike said...

I've had similar experiences. Oddle in Germany it seems to be retired men in Mercedes cars.

There is a traffic calming buildout in our village where two way traffic is forced into one lane. I used to wait if a car was anywhere near approaching from the other direction, but then I realised there was no acknowledgement when I did: the driver just ignored me.

In other words, the drivers saw a bike and assumed that this is what happened: cars drive through and bikes/people get out of the way.

So now I just put the bike in the middle of the lane and drive through.