12.09.2004

Hypocrisy, Consistency, and Common Courtesy

This could be a rant of all rants
My Blog could be restructured to talk about this all day and all night!

Those who have been to my BLOG before know that I tend to discuss certain basic topics over and over and over again. But, I bring them up because there are issues that I contend with as a father, as a cyclist, as a car driver, a member of the community, and as an everyday person. At times I have to put myself in check....take myself off auto pilot.... shut off cruise control....and be entirely conscious of my behavior. It is vital to me that I do not do things that I am hyper critical of others doing.

Driving a car would be one of the simplest examples......

Don't expect to see my car double parked or parked for hours in front of the hydrant especially if there is a legal space just feet away. Yes, I have unloaded my car a few times from in front of the fire hydrant right in front of my house, but this process tend to take no longer than 30 minutes and can save considerable foot steps as well the anxiety of trying to cross the heavily trafficked road that my family lives on. No I will not sit in my car in the NO PARKING/NO STANDING during RUSH HOUR ZONE and block traffic, yet there are those that do this same procedure every day with no concern about the negative impact that their selfish behavior has on the flow of traffic. When officer friendly comes along and asks them to move, sure they move, but I would prefer for the tow truck to just TAKE EM AWAY....check their records while in transit to the holding lot....if it is found that this person has a habit of such delinquent behavior....then go ahead and crush their cars into one of those little boxes with them still in the driver's seat. That will change behavior better than officer friendly tapping on the glass and asking them to move or that little pink ticket under the wiper blade.

It is important that I do not drive around town in the manner of which I am so critical of others for.

So when I drive my car I am always trying to be hyper conscious of my behavior. Always paying close attention to the speed limit on the road, the speed of my vehicle, and speed of pedestrian and vehicle traffic around me. Don't get me wrong! It is not like I am out Driving Mrs. Daisy! But, I do try to put efficiency above speed. Always watching to make sure that I do not exceed certain speeds when accelerating and trying to glide at a more rational speed than traffic tends to go. For instance, On Rock Creek Park the speed limit is 25 MPH, okay, that is a tad slow, but cars are usually speeding along between 35-50 miles an hour, which in my mind tends to be a tad faster that they need to be traveling. Moving about the city via bicycle teaches people some basic things, one of those basic ideas is that moving at high speed does not get you there any quicker, the lights are timed, try to get the rhythm of the Progressive Light System and just roll with that groove. The 0-60, panic stop, 0-60, panic stop of your average Taxi driver is not only unsafe, but it is also uncomfortable.

Sure i tried to go the speed limit. But cruising along at 25 miles per hour just had people getting angry behind me. Passing me and swerving aggressively as they passed. So I try to keep it slow and rational, not obnoxious, not trying to teach lessons, but if I act as a pace car....well that is just fine with me.

Each day as I cut across Columbia Heights to get to the Trinity College campus to drop Dean off at Day Care I move with the hectic pace of traffic, forgetting that this is not just a through way, but it is also a neighborhood. Just last night as I ran into a random girl who I went to college with. She told me where she lives. I told her that I drove past her house everyday and asked if she wanted me to slow down. As she engaged and without children, such notions are not yet to surface. I told her that she best get out on the sidewalk with a rolling pin in hand and start waving that thing around and demanding cars to slow down, otherwise they will still be flying by in the years to come while she is trying to keep her children safe. Even though she does not feel she needs me to slow down, I am going to try to drive through all neighborhoods just as I want others to drive through mine, RESPECTFULLY.

more on this in a bit
need to chew my food

back....well
this rant wander and wained
"I did not leave the house with a plan so I ended up just walking around"

Cell Phones should get short mention.
I am not that interesting and I do not have so many friends that I feel I need to be talking on the cell phone each and every second I can, especially while driving. Something has to give. People must either concentrate on the phone call or the road, shamefully, they tend to concentrate on the phone call. Yes, I do take the occassional phone call while driving, but I try to keep it short and to the point. And yes, I have used the phone as a tool to keep me awake while driving back from various endurance mountainbike races, where I was driving solo and did not have someone shotgun to entertain my brain. So yes, I am a hypocrite, but I am trying.

DC recently passed a law forbidding the use of non-hands free cell phones.
It has not changed a thing.
People are still driving down the road at top speed with their nose to their BLACKBERRY or their pointer in their PALM.
we need to educate people
people are just being stupid
behavior needs to be changed
"sorry" is not going to work after they run someone over because they were not paying attention to the road

1 comment:

Kevin said...

As far as Rock Creek Park goes, it was never meant to me a highway. It was set aside for enjoyment of nature and the beautiful setting that the park provides. That being the case, 25 mph is more than fast enough. If you read the park history at the link below, you'll start to wonder why cars are allowed in the park at any speed.

http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/rocr1/hrs.pdf

Kevin
kmorton@steptoe.com