I own a car.... as a matter of fact I own two, along with my wife's car I have access to three cars!
(currently trying to sell the '84 Landcruiser...wanna buy it?)
It is interesting when I get into an arguement or a debate with a car drive or even a car driving coworker about cyclists on the road and the cyclist's need to obey the law these people fail to understand that I unlike them exist in both worlds....the world of the confinement of the cage we call a car and also the liberating machine that we call the bicycle. Being able to travel in each or the other gives me a perspective that these most people do not understand....I can see both sides! I live on both sides and understand both angles.
So when a car driver tells me that they are sick of cyclists running Red Lights or blowing through Stop Signs, well, I can see their point; no one wants to run someone over or deal with the hassle of wiping some random cyclist's blood off the windshield or pick flesh out of the grill. But, in the same respect I think it is ignorant and arrogant for them not to look into the mirror and see how they are driving. The cyclist has opted to modify the rules of the road to make their travel more safe and more efficient. While the car driver can not see that. This same driver that asks the cyclist to obey the laws fails to see that they are bending most of the rules themselves and asking for a more annoying delay filled situation. If I were to obey the laws as a car while on the bicycke I would take the whole lane, make complete stops at each light or sign and then block traffic as I moved forward accelerating at a cyclist pace. Thus forcing the cars to line up behind me.....no....remember....you have asked the cyclist to obey the laws like a car which will dictate that the car is not permitted to pass the cyclist. Each and every day I ride to the right hand side of the lane, accepting that the car driver is going to go around me breaking the double yellow line to make their pass. This double yellow line indicates that this is infact a NO PASSING ZONE, but since it is a bicycle ...the car gets to re-evaluate the law to expedite things. Well....that is just what the cyclist is doing when they roll through a stop sign like it were a yeild sign...trying to increase rather than impeed the flow of traffic. Sure there are times where I take the whole lane, I feel it is my responsibility to protect my best interest, ME. So I take the whole lane removing the option to pass if I feel that there is not sufficient room for a car driver to make the pass. There are winding sections of road with blind curves where I feel I need to think for the thoughtless car drivers. There are also stretches of road where it would be unsafe for me to ride all the way to the left due to pot holes that would be a hinderance to a moon vehicle, so I avoid those as well, not to mention the gutters and grates that also exist on the right side of many roads.
It is true.... as gundog99 said yesterday
These car drivers do not realize that I am a person to them I am an obstacle and a hinderance.
In some cases the car driver may not even realize that they are acting aggressively to someone that they actually know.
I have had near death experiences with friends, friend's parents, and co-workers behind the wheel of an agressive car.....all in situaitons where I was in the right and they were in a hurry uncaring of that person on the bike, which happened to be me. In one case the driver of a Mercedes with Diplomat tags spared my life because her daughter was in the passanger's seat....
When the mother stepped into DEATHCAR 2000 mode the passanger Isabell said..."no, mother....it is Joel!" The mother asked...."What is Joel?" and Isabell motioned with her hands "This is Joel." My life was spared. Apply a French Euro accent and the conversation makes much better sense and then ask Isabell about touring with New Order and she will tell you how it was in a matter of fact way...."so and so (one of the nameless band members...as Ian Curtis is dead) loved me." Okay, that story much like the first is a tad bit of a location joke. But, it gives an example of the dehumanization of the person on the bicycle, they are a faceless obstacle not a living breathing human being with family, friends, and a purpose to this world.
I still joke with one of the editors here at work about one of the times where he layed on his horn and moved to run over me and my friends as we crossed over a busy street on our bicycles in the crosswalk.
Years ago I had a long list of Public Service Announcements, one of them not unlike a commercial from the Church of Latter Day Saints. The one where a Jeep passes a cyclist too close and sprays mud on him. The cyclist gets a little angered and then catches up to the Jeep driver along side of the road in need of a repair. The cyclist considers taking the crow bar from the car driver's hand and beating the man to death, but instead takes a deep breath, removes his helmet, and offers what assistance he can. There are several messages there.....
maybe even the potential for an adult film found in the boy on boy section at your local video store.....but that is another story.
I think that this public service announcement should be made. People need to open their minds and realize that there is a human on that bicycle and that they are comprised of skin and bone, not surrounded by crumple resistance side panels with driver's side airbags etc. That person has just as much right to the road as the car driver does. I am sorry that this person is 5 minutes late to meet their friends for happy hour, but that should have nothing to do with me and my time on the bike.
enough on this
this rant went everywhere and no where
I have had blogger's block for some time
my posts have been meandering about a tad too much
must get focused