11.18.2009

ah... the morning commute

it is tough out there
rolling into work on my short commute can be a dangerous task... but it does not need to be
well... it does not need to be as dangerous as it is
so much of the dangers are due a lack of understanding
a lack of an understanding that the bicycle has a right to be there
and that
the bicycle is there

my approach to work each day is on the bike
occasionally I drive my kids to school... usually my wife lisa takes the kids to school
well... lisa mixes some car pooling with a neighbor who goes to the same school as our boys

when in the car I am not so different than everyone else
well... I try to be different
I try to be hyper alert
I try to be smart and safe
yet it is hard...
the focus is forward
it is hard to anticipate anything and everything
I try...

I try
I am humble when I am in error
or at least I try to be

bicycles and pedestrians can pop up and appear in what seems to be out of no where
this can happen to me when I am on the bike or in the car
just like other car drivers... when I glance around for approaching activity I give a look that may pick up any of the larger rolling vehicles... trucks or cars... pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists often approach unseen

the cyclist can be invisible
they need to realize their invisibility and try to make themselves more visible
more importantly... the cyclists need to put themselves where they are more safe

part of being safe is being more visible
being more visible means being less submissive
less ducking out of the car's way
less hiding to the right

as a cyclists I try to put myself where I can be seen
but... there are times when I can not make that happen which puts me at risk
passing a line of blocked up cars can be dangerous
cars will try to bob and weave out of the queue
this is understandable... everyone is trying to get where they are going as fast as they can
yet there is a danger... as I approach these lines of backed up cars I try to anticipate the next action of each car driver

at this point turn signals are not what I look for
I look at the position of the hands on the steering wheel
and of course I look for a change in direction of the car
what is interesting... I also look at the driver and the position of the driver's head
it amazes me how the drivers seldom give a glance back
there is not so much as a turn of the neck
perhaps the eyes to the rear view mirror are all that they are using
well... this is not enough
each day I am forced to duck and dodge these cars jutting out of line and into my space
my pace is increased or decreased in anticipation of this

this morning... as I worked to get past a potentially fatal point of intersection I got one of those faces
actually... in my short morning commute each day I get a great number of faces
there is all sorts of non-verbal communication going on between the drivers and the cyclists
I usually respond to these condescending faces with the finger
although I can not read their mind... I try to make it clear for them to read mine

the drivers of these cars and their rush to get past the cyclist

their actions are without reason
rushing to get in front of the cyclist at all costs
simply to get themselves to the stopped position at the next bumper more quickly

I split lanes... I take the full lane... I will fade to the right to allow the pass when it makes sense
I try to put myself where I am most safe and most efficient
no one is concerned about my well being but me
each day the car drivers show me that by accident and by intention they are willing to put my life at risk
the arrogance of these drivers when they nearly hit me
their continued effort to muscle me out of their way
the facial expressions... the gestures... and the proximity of their car to my flesh

it is an awkward dance

there needs to be an epiphany
there needs to be a higher sense of understanding
it could be as simple as education through PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS
the bicycle population is increasing but the car driving styles are not changing
it is dangerous out there

it does not have to be a war zone
my actions where I stand up for myself are misunderstood
my frustration is visible

cell phone usage behind the wheel evokes anger because their blind driving style is dangerous
when I pass the driver oblivious to their surroundings due to the use of the cell phone I can not help but utter the word CUNT
not because it is against the law
but because it is unnecessary and it is dangerous
the person behind the wheel need to focus on driving... driving is an easy task
it is easy to get into an accident... it is easy to kill someone
the use of the cell phone while driving steals the driver's focus
takes them out of the roll of driver... puts them into a passive activity
responding to changing variable too late instead of driving proactively anticipating the variables around them

enough on this...
sucks to start the day with all this angst, anger, and hate

all people need to do is... RESPECT THEIR FELLOW MAN!
Respect Pedestrians... anticipate their presence... give them space and safe passage
Respect Cyclists... expect them to be there... understand that they have a right to the road... allow them to travel on the streets safely
and
Respect other Car Drivers and Respect Themselves

RESPECT!



2 comments:

Cycle Jerk said...

I often think about how great it would be to have a dozen eggs mounted on my handlebar, but then I think about my life expectancy after throwing eggs at every car that cuts me off on my morning commute... and of course all those yummy eggs.

gwadzilla said...

yes

a pocket full of paint ball balls would do the trick nicely

or better yet

a bumper sticker discretely put on their car unbeknown to them

"ASSHOLE DRIVER"

or

"WARNING: Blind Driver"

you be creative

I need to get back to work