7.14.2008

can I get a picture of that? thanks.

-can I get a picture of that?

-thanks.


going up the main strip in adams morgan is a pretty standard route home

if I am going straight home without a post work ride
if I am seeking the most immediate route home without taking a spin around town for some photos

the main strip in adams morgan is a route that is repeated many days of the week before and after work
always smoother and safer in the mornings going down the several block slight grade downhill where adams morgan blends into dupont at florida avenue

the ride home is a tad different
the time of day changes the type of traffic on the streets
lots of people with different agendas
always a bit of chaos
everyone either looking for a space or trying to book through as quickly as possible
there is always some double parking
of course you need to expect people blindly taking fast U-Turns
there will be pedestrian traffic
and of course... other bicycles

it can be a social route

the sidewalks attracts the attention of both the car drivers and the cyclists
the people on the sidewalks are also feeding across the street at any time anywhere on the block
this is DC not Halifax
chaos is part of the daily routine
the states are not as civilized as canada

each and everyday without fail the cyclist is passed by the metro bus on one of the several blocks on 18th Street from Florida Avenue to Columbia Road

each day on this short urban uphill stretch the bus will always do the same set of things...

-the bus will pass fast and close not bothering to leave the lane of the cyclist
never altering their speed due to the presence of the bicyclist
more than likely not passing the minimum three feet from the cyclist
even if there is plenty of room to move into the outer lane

-the bus will pass the cyclist coming out of a bus stop without concern for the cyclist
either cutting them off or just over taking them
-the bus will pull into the bus stop without concern for the cyclist
as if knowingly pinning them against the curb like catching a fish in a net

from what I understand...

when Alice Swanson was hit and killed by the garbage truck just a few blocks from here she was crushed by a vehicle over taking her in the middle of the vehicle's long wheel base
not crushed by the grill... not smacked from the front end
but rather struck by the midsection of the garbage truck then rolling over her with the rear wheels

the metro bus uses the common practice of overtaking the cyclist (and the car) by forcing them out of the lane or into the curb
often pinning the cyclist into a situation of having to brake or be pushed into the other lane which can often be on coming traffic
or being pressed and forced to stop at the curb

standard practice
as if it is taught in the Metro Bus Driver Handbook

today headed up 18th I was within the limits of the law
trying to stay aware of cars pulling out of the diagonal parking spaces while looking out for others trying to pull into the diagonal parking spaces
watching for pedestrians stepping out and running across the street
gripping the handlebars and gritting my teeth as passing cars pass fast and close weaving through the urban madness as they rush forward to the next red light

people pulling out and people pulling in

on the pass pulling out of the bus stop after picking up a fare the bus overtook me and drifted into my lane
it was the middle of the bus
right between the wheels
closing too fast for me to try and race the train and shoot for the hole shot
leaving me only the option to draw my brakes and slow to a near stop or fade into the right hand lane
react or die
not just inconsiderate but dangerous
to fade on top of me forcing me to either slow down and away or else get crushed

she got the bird
she deserved the bird
she gave the bird right back
I had not gone unseen... she knowingly bullied me out of her way

she not only gave me the bird
she gave me an opportunity for me to snap a photo of the bird
she did not give me the out the window bird like she did as she pulled away
yet she gave me the bird and let me snap a photo
how very kind of her

she covered her face
she was kind enough to pose for the shot but she covered her face
she does not realized that she is more identifiable by her bus number than her face
she does not realize that she is accountable for her actions
she is after all at work

I did not give her the finger because she put my life at risk
I am accustom to the dangers of the street and try my best to adapt to the situation
her actions did not take me by surprise
I gave her the finger because her driving style is offensive and dangerous
offensive and dangers to road users as a whole
it is dangerous for drivers to bully themselves around the road like this
this bully behavior is the mentality of the urban garbage trucks

the garbage trucks travel the alley ways and the city streets in the early am
on car, on foot, and on my bike I have felt the garbage truck driver playing chicken with the world around them

there may need to be a little driver's education to those that drive the city streets as professionals
those that drive as professionals should drive as professionals
the professional drivers are the most chaotic drivers on the road
instead of driving shrewdly like professionals
they drive like license-less scoff laws

cab drivers, bus drivers, garbage truck operators...
the licensing process could involve annual education and testing
maybe a system of reward for getting certified to a certain level
part of a floating pay scale process
the more professional drivers get paid the most
aid in creating most safe drivers
the most safe drivers would stay in the system and get paid the most
the unsafe drivers would get filtered out without reward

I am not a whistle blower
it is not the slap on the wrist that needs to be administered
there needs to be an education
we all need to be more civilized
the powers that be need to guide the professional drivers to drive as such

giving the finger is not very civilized
but I did feel as if I wanted to get this person's attention
and flowers just would not have conveyed my point

her response showed that she had seen me and had bullied me on purpose
her giving me the finger was not only in response to my issuing the bird
her driving style said fuck you long before I ever took my hand off the grips

4 comments:

Misty said...

That is awesome!

Hayduke said...

How ironic is that slogan below the window?

The best education for all drivers is to get out of their steel cocoons and ride a bike along the routes they drive. They'll have a new found respect for cyclists and pedestrians.

gwadzilla said...

yes
this is Metro safety


http://www.wmata.us/

Eric B said...

Glad you didn't get crushed. Nice photo. Did you know you'd catch the safety slogan in the frame? Send it on to Metro. Be safe out there.