7.13.2008

I hate when a car driver starts his approach to me with some aggressive driving and the line "I am a cyclist too!"

I hate when a car driver starts his approach to me with some aggressive driving and the statement "I am a cyclist too"

so many times I am passed fast and close
or a driver approaches at high speed only to slow and tailgate me
then they introduce a high and mighty soap box speech that begins with
"I am a cyclist too!"

Portland Car vs. Bike story in the Associated Press

the game of show and tell is a fun one for the cyclist
the cyclist has a million stories
all are only exciting because we survived
here is one from my mental archives

it was about a decade ago... maybe a few years more
I know the timeline because of the bicycle I rode and the house I left out of
the bicycle was a warranty frame for a broken Jamis mountain bike with an elevated chain stay
the house was an apartment building where my now wife/then girlfriend lisa lived

at the time I was working for Gulliver's Movers in Arlington Virginia
I left out of Lisa's apartment and hit Wisconsin Avenue at a good pace starting my morning commute from DC to Northern Virginia
filtered into traffic in the left hand lane as the right hand lane was either slowed or stopped
just half a block down the road moving at a good pace I felt the presence of a warm engine on my rear wheel
all the while moving at the same pace as car traffic
when traffic was clear of double parked cars or right turning traffic in the right hand lane I drifted right
keeping that same pace down the road which had a nice rolling grade downhill as Cleveland Park blends into Georgetown

the car that was tailgating me so warm and so close pulled up along side of me
with the window down a well dressed man with a NY/Jersey sort of Italian dude accent started to talk to me
"you got balls... serious balls...

I am a cyclist too... but I would never ride in the center lane"
yea... whatever? I was headed to work and was not so interested in his opinion
to which I may have said that I was not interested in his opinion or even having a conversation with him
he continued to speak even after I told him I was not interested
his logic was flawed and I was sick of hearing his perspective
I argued that I was within my right
I had taken a left hand turn to enter Wisconsin Avenue which put me in the left hand lane
the left hand lane was flowing so I stayed in that lane until the right lane opened up
my pace and my position were within the limits of the law


apparently he was as uninterested in my opinion/conversation as I was not interested in his

the conversation grew to be heated quite quickly
all the while still rolling... words coming out fast in what was really just the course of several city blocks
he got bold and challenged me
I accepted his challenge inviting him to meet me on the sidewalk
to which he pulled out his wallet and displayed his detective's badge
then I said something that would only leave the mouth of a young and stupid male
so... your are a cop? then something about him hiding behind not only his big metal car and his badge and that I was still willing to meet him on the sidewalk to discuss this further... cop or no cop!

this man in his unmarked police car zips ahead and does some Starsky and Hutch fishtail skid blocking the two lanes on Wisconsin Avenue... nearly causing me to t-bone his car
luckily this bike was built up showroom new after the warranty replacement
the cantilever brakes were as good as they could be with fresh pads and clean rims

with a skid and a slide I was lucky to split the small gap between the parked cars and his front end
car traffic behind me skidded to a halt because their passage was block

the plain clothes detective aggressively returned to my side
before he said anything the adrenalin took hold of my thoughts
COP OR NO COP! YOU KILL A CYCLIST WITH YOUR CAR AND IT IS VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER
SHOW ME YOUR BADGE AGAIN
I NEED TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK


to which he altered his trajectory off Wisconsin Ave...

I was wrong
but he was more wrong

glad things did not go a different way
he could have shown me his gun rather than his badge
I could have t-boned his car and woken up in the hospital
tough guy is not part of my human resume
I was bluffing... a fist to fist discussion on the sidewalk would have left me bruised and bloody
he was and more than likely still is an asshole

a classic case of action and over reaction
I try not to over react to the action of others
nothing is ever gained from this car vs. driver interactions

in the news

Girl on bike hit by unmarked police car

chicago sun times

DC Police drive while talking on the cell phones
they speed
they ignore stop signs
they drive as if they are not aware of the laws of the road
they drive as if they do not understand that the laws of the road apply to them

3 comments:

Squirrel said...

Mr. Yates must not remember the "Don't F$#@$#@ing HONK at a cyclist" rule:) I'm trying my best to be a good boy and smile when cars get too close for comfort.

Peace

gwadzilla said...

yes
daddy needs to get home to his family

as fathers and family men we need to learn to behave

especially in these insane times

people are crazy
people are crazy short sighted

Marc said...

check out:

http://tinyurl.com/6dty5s

a document to remind cops of the laws and not to ticket improperly

for example - it says if a lane is less than 11 ft wide, the cyclist can ride in the middle of the lane. and that most lanes in DC are under 11 ft.

I might have to carry this sheet with me!