Alert... the Bad Boy Club is out in full effect...

Alert... the Bad Boy Club is out in full effect...ah... car culture

even on the short cross town pre-work commute I am introduced to so much of the ugliness that is car culture

urban riding is often a series of near misses and a collection of close calls
this morning was no different than any others

trash trucks and metro buses are menaces to be avoided as well as cab drivers and white vans

at four way stops when I am stopped... cars slow and go... never making a complete stop... never yielding the right of way to others... never taking my presence into the equation... I try not to take this too personally... I try not to take this a car vs. bike thing... I have come to understand that the car driver does not yield to the other car driver... so they are most definitely not going to yield to the bike

cars speed through the residential neighborhood where I live and have chosen to raise my family with no consideration of the worst case scenario
there is no consideration of the dangers that they are creating through their thoughtless actions
all for what... their aggressive driving does not get them anywhere any more quickly


the cars speed not anticipating others around them
then the cars speed not giving people their right to space and their right to safety... pedestrians and cyclists beware
cars approach me fast from behind then tailgate me... bullying me...
while other cars come down the narrow residential streets at high speed... not staying to their half of the road... they too bully me... playing chicken with me...

I ride with respect for others... respect for the law... respect for the other users of the road... but most importantly I have weighed the measure of the worst case scenario... hugging the line of parked cars in the door zone brings risk to my life... unnecessary risk... the same self centered car driver who tailgates me would be the same self centered car driver who opens their car door in front of me with not so much as a glance over the shoulder before they throw their car door open

cars are aggravated when the cyclist does not stop at the stop sign.... when in my car I am nearly rear ended each and every time I make a complete stop at a stop sign
being rear ended on my bike is not an incident I look forward to... rather this is an incident that I avoid

on Mount Pleasant Street I ride towards the middle of the lane... some times I ride in the middle of the road... I have been reprimanded by DC Metropolitan Police for treating the no man's land in the center of the road as a bike path... when I tell them... I am riding as far right as I feel safe... control the car chaos... then bicycles and pedestrians will fall into place

so I ride outside of the door zone... which puts me in the center of the right hand lane
a red van passes obnoxiously fast and obnoxiously close
I make note of the words on the side of the van
to both remember that van for future danger and to know not to do business with that company
as the van completes its pass a silver sports sedan pulls out from its parking space


it is like they just saw the green light of a drag racing Christmas Tree
they do not slow
I am forced to join in their Fast And Furious lifestyle by doing a little Tokyo Drift
at a healthy pace there is no stopping
my bike does a two wheel skid and slid... I a screaming and cussing fearing that my flesh is about to meet their metal
this is not the wonderful meeting of peanut butter and chocolate
the result will not be a Reese Peanut Butter Cup... but instead a Gwadzilla Pancake

as the car speeds away I continue cussing

feet still in the clips... momentum slowed... but still upright and moving
I roll up at a good rate of speed at the red light ahead
an earnest apology is issued by the driver
my heart rate is exploding and I am late for work
bruised ribs prevent me from leaping into a worst case scenario of retaliation

no blood... no foul...

as I roll through the red light I tell him it would have been bad had he hit me...

I wondered... had he not been caught at that Red Light would he have apologized
why did he not stop sooner?

another case where remorse only exists when the criminal is caught...

I am just happy not to be a hood ornament
the bruised ribs from this weekend past mountain bike race are enough injuries for the moment
I can hurt myself just fine without the self centered ignorant actions of others
how did he not see me?
I am not stealth... I am far from invisible... how did I go unnoticed? how did I go unseen?

oh.... he never looked


libertyonbikes! said...

after far too many run-ins,
and the police not willing todo anything about it.
i resorted to 'enforcing karma'.
a quick stop to the auto parts store,
a couple of valve stem removers,
and i'm set.
i just make note of license plates.
it's a small city,
i'll see that plate again,
and in 30 seconds, render karma
upon it.
a valve stem only costs .99,
so i don't think that's really vandalism.
one dollar worth of damage.
i carry a bag of removers now,
hand them out to other cyclists.
maybe it's my little way of
channelling my anger.....

gwadzilla said...

the valve core removal is an old fantasy of mine

but this is no small town
and well
the retaliation by the car owner if you got caught
expect a pipe to the back of the head
even if that car owner were a blue haired lady

Anonymous said...

The best reason to take the lane rather than ride in the door zone is the legal recourse available to your family should the worst happen. If one gets doored and dies then it is nearly impossible to prove anything other than a tragic accident occurred. But if you are taking the lane and get taken out, vehicular manslaughter and wrongful death are much easier to prove. They may not spend a lot of time in prison, but your family at least has the chance of stripping them of all their assets. So I am thinking that a costlier but more effective insurance policy/defense is to always ride with a rear mounted helmet cam.

gwadzilla said...


I have an old VHS video camera I can mount on a rack... now where can I find enough extension cord to keep this thing powered?

if I die... it is not about who supports my family
it is about me missing out on my family growing up
and visa versa

death is not about money
it is about loss of life