is it so wrong?

is it so wrong?
is it so bad?
am I so wrong?
am I so bad?

so... it is true
I occasionally bend the rules a bit
in traffic on the urban streets I may view red lights and stop signs as yield signals
i may go one block the wrong way street and I may go one block on the sidewalk
then there are also times when I find myself in one part of town
and I feel that the most fast and fun way to get to the other part of town is on dirt
so I take it
the only problem
there is that sign

but honestly...
how wrong am I?

on the city streets I find that there is so much wrong going on in the way that car drivers behave around cyclists and pedestrians...
in my neighborhood I am rarely granted my turn when I stop on my bicycle for the the sign at the four way stop down the block from my house
as a pedestrian I am granted the same disregard
when I go down the narrow neighborhood streets the cars coming my way play chicken with me
and my bicycle
buzzing far closer to me than the line of parked cars to their right

never do I rush through these trails putting anyone's life at risk
I am not only focused on the world around me
I am respectful of the world around me
my cell phone is in my bag and not pressed to my ear
my focus in on the task at hand not the text message on my Blackberry
when I approach other people on the trail I not only bring my speed down, but I bring my speed down to a safe speed
that speed varies... the blue haired lady and her blue haired dog gets a slower pass than the college age boys out for a run
the cars on the road... when they pass me... if they slow... the do not even slow to the speed limit

it does not matter if I am on my bike, with my dog, or crossing the street with my kids
cars are more likely to swerve around than slow down

sure this is all weak rationalization and justification
but honestly... what is it about what i am doing that makes things so wrong?
the bicycle has no greater effect on the trail than a runner or a hiker
respectful riding... that is knowing how to ride and when to ride will aid the decrease of my foot print... or in this case my tire track
I stay in control and I stay on the trail, I do not skid to a halt, and I do not ride on muddy trails
while the hikers, walkers, dog walkers, and runners... well their use of the trails after the rain cause f
ar more damage than my use when it is dry
it is the foot traffic that goes wide around obstacles and puddles
it is the foot traffic that skirts the wet trail and widens things by beating down the area that flanks the single
track trail
it is also the walkers that shortcut trails and create the excessive extra trail options

more justification? more rationalization? sure...
control the car chaos
it the cars on the streets were not so disrespectful of my right to life I would be more respectful of that little brown sign with the bike with a red line through it
the risks on the road are worse than the risks on the trail
on the road I risk my life
on the trails I risk a ticket
pretty easy to weigh those scales

there are times when I feel like an anarchist

since the law does not protect me
the law does not apply to me

I am dictated by common sense and common courtesy
not by a loose set of laws
laws like cell phone bans that no one listens to
laws that could protect me... if they were enforced
but no... cars drive as fast as they choose... how they choose...
the bike lane offers no sanctuary

well... of course this notion of the law not applying to me is not true
I am a citizen of the state and much like Socrates as a citizen of the state I have agreed to live by t
he laws of the state
so serve up the hemlock

but... in this notion of the accepted parameters of bending the law I feel as if my actions fall within this realm

just as the responsible dog walker lets their dog off leash knowing that it will not only come when it is called but this dog will not bite anyone

I have gone on and on about the actions of car drivers
but it is more important to understand that cars bend these laws in the presence of police officers

in fact... police officers bend these laws
which goes to aid in the acceptance of the bending of these laws
so I choose to act under these same conditions
to responsibly bend the rules a bit to suit my personal needs
but I am always in the mind that do not bend these rules at the expense of others
now if we could only get the car culture to understand this little clause of respect when bending or breaking the law

let me close with this set of ideas...


so if your dog is off leash
we may discuss my actions
but please also be aware of yours

and... if you driving a car or are even a passenger in a car and the that car goes one mile above the speed limit or crosses the double yellow line when going around a double parked car
well... remember
you are able to modify the law to suit your needs
why can't I?

this is another post that needs to reread and reworked
but... instead of checking to see if this rant makes sense
I will just hit publish and post

for those with a response
I obey the law for a great majority of my time on the bike
when someone gets in their car... they are usually breaking the law as soon as they hit the gas


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that both cars and bicyclist bend the rules as much as they can get away with. There are just way more cars then there are bikes making it more obvious.
Why not follow the rules? If the cyclist follows the law it will be less chance of conflicts with car drivers. We cannot assume we know how our behaviour impacts everyone else. We cannot go as fast as cars but a bike can be equally intimitading to a pedestrian.
I think both cyclist and drivers should follow the laws as best they can to give people less of a chance of a conflict.
If we cyclist do our part of following the laws we will not give drivers much ammo.
Just my opinion on the subject.

gwadzilla said...

opinion respected...

I do follow the laws
and when I follow the laws I get no more respect and am no more safe than when I break them

breaking the law is often an effort to put me and my bicycle where I am most safe

as far as ammo for the mind of the driver
the driver is mindless

they do not look at the bicyclist waiting for the light to turn green and say... "oh, look at that law abiding citizen... I think I will pass him with respect"

they just drive how they drive

PEP said...

And some adhering to some laws places the cyclist in greater danger.

For example, assuming no cross traffic, I will run a red light because I fear the cars I'm next to will right-hook me if I begin to move at the same time as them. Safer to cross an empty intersection.

Anonymous said...

I agree with gwad. I bike everyday and cars just think they rule the road.