but really.... it is not as much as CAR VERSUS BIKE as it is ME ME ME!

the other day I got out on the bike...
it was not a training session
it was not a workout
it was just a way to get from POINT A TO POINT B

so often on this short cross town trek from my home in Mount Pleasant to my dad's house in Bethesda I found myself playing chicken with the oncoming cars

it was not just frustrating... it was also dangerous

there were cars swerving to dodge snow crossing the double yellow line coming straight towards me
funny... the car drivers work so hard to avoid damage to their cars
if only they worked so hard to not risk injury to pedestrians and cyclists

so often a car driver will slow for a pothole in the road... while that same driver will not alter their speed when approaching the pedestrian or the cyclist


on my way back from my fathers I took a neighborhood route through Chevy Chase, Maryland on through Chevy Chase, DC then into Rock Creek Park

at one point I experienced an incident that summed it all up

I was going down a road that was plowed such that it was pretty much a one lane road
as I approached a 4 way stop I saw a car approaching me from the opposite direction
they were closer to the curb on my side of the street than theirs
they made no effort to move
I stopped at the stop sign and it became a stalemate

they still refused to move
they wanted to to get out of their way
they wanted me to squeeze between them and the snowbank
all the while I held my ground in my lane where I should be
asking for one thing... my right to my space and some basic respect

well... sure enough... they did not move
I had to ride through the small slot not large enough for me and my bike
as I passed... the driver not only made a face but they also flipped me off
had they made that face and gestured that way moments sooner they would have certainly gotten at least a snowball to the windshield

but then this morning... well... in the car with my wife and family headed to drop the boys off at school we experience pretty much the same experience

we came down a road that was plowed to one lane
our progress was blocked by a person with their hazards on
the driver was out of her car blocking her shoveled space with lawn chairs
we waited patiently with no emotion

then once in the car the woman made a face and gestured for us to move
her sense of entitlement was absurd
we had granted her time and space
but now... now it is our responsibility for us to move

both me and my wife gestured that she could pull forward and dip into another parking space that was shoveled out and carless
then she could allow the cars that had been waiting to pass

yes she did nothing...
she made faces and gestured
my language was completely inappropriate with kids in the car
my words went unheard by anyone by my wife

I went to open my door to get out and give her a piece of my mind... and maybe a snowball... then removal of her lawn chair from her parking space
but... my door would not open because we were slow close to the pile of snow on the passenger side of the car

it was then that I was reminded of the issue
the issue is not CAR VERSUS BIKE
the issue is ME ME ME!
not me and you... JUST ME! ME! ME! ME!

to make the roads more safe for pedestrians and cyclists we do not need more laws... we do not need more signs
we need to alter peoples sense of self
we need to alter people sense of fairness
we need to try to erase people's selfishness and their sense of self importance

okay... on with my day
time to put her behind me
there will be others like her in my day
so there is no need for me to carry her with me


Greg said...

Agreed! The biggest issue is people not being considerate, being so centered on themselves and not giving a damn about anyone else

Matt said...

This is the kind of thing that deters people's incentive to use a bike as a primary mode of transportation. I work in McLean. My daily commute from Fairfax is, to say the least, not the greatest of sorts. I'm really dead-set on the idea of biking to work. I'm going to start biking to work once I figure out the safest route (I'm coming from Fairfax City, near GMU). The biggest obstacle for me is dealing with unruly drivers. I just need to find the safest route possible (with minimal traffic) and then I'll be set free! Wonderful post, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Funny Greg, everyone thinks its "the other people" that are inconsiderate. I am "the other people"....You are "the other people".....Too bad only some of us can see the world from 30,000 feet. All you dudes, including Mr. Me Me Me (Zilla)need to chill out and practice being as zen as you think you are.

Betty ;)

gwadzilla said...

betty is right... but it gets exhausting to continuously turn the other cheek

especially when you are on the bicycle and other people's inconsiderate behavior puts a person's life at risk

I can be chill... I can be chill... I can... get angry

it is tough to always be accepting of the behavior of others
especially when their inconsiderate behavior puts your life at risk

Gerrit said...

When we got our first big snow I decided to walk and not bike to work, and it was a fun change and challenge for a while... well, until the roads were clear enough for drivers to behave like idiots again.

Sidewalks hadn't been cleared in many places, so pedestrians had to walk on the side of the roads. Did drivers care? Did they even notice that there was a little snow around that forced everybody to adjust? Not only did they squeeze to drive in two lanes where there was only room for 1.5 lanes, they also INSISTED to stay in the one lane people used to walk in instead of switching into the free second lane or just letting people pass. I tried not to get too upset about this and stay calm and zen, after all everybody had to deal with the snow-disaster... So I always stepped to the side and waited until traffic passed before I continued my walk. But even being calm, collected, friendly and "considerate" didn't help... some idiot drivers continued to treat the one lane as a race track and honked maniacally each time they spotted a pedestrian.

The days passed and the roads are pretty much clear now, but many sidewalks still haven't been cleared. There is no excuse that home/business owners still haven't cleared their sidewalks. This is just another example for the inconsiderateness all around this city. I hate their "me alone in my own universe" attitude and laziness. Is it so hard to keep your own sidewalk clear? If everybody just did their part, there would be no trouble, no problems, the snow-blast wouldn't have had such an impact. But with everybody not giving a damn about the next, it's no wonder the entire city and state gets paralyzed by a bit of snow.

In the meantime, sidewalks are being used to dump the ice & snow from streets. Drivers are happy, pedestrians once again become victims.

I'm really tired of how car-centric this place is, how the lazy, inconsiderate, self-centered a**@les get rewarded and others are treated like garbage. Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can take it and when I'd begin to become more aggressive and violent, throw rocks at cars or set them on fire.

Oh well, it's difficult to live like a victim all the time, but luckily I'm still able to turn the other cheek. I know I would just become one of 'them' if I ever started to fight back. This makes me the winner in the end :)

gwadzilla said...

and Betty is right
I did some obnoxious stuff driving my kids to school today... I could not resist
there was some much selfish behavior going on around me that I was being played the sucker by doing what was right... so I did one or two obnoxious\agressive moves to get away from the madness

I got caught up in the SNOW RAGE

yes Gerrit... I fully agree
biking can be dangerous with the melting ice and dropping temperatures... BLACK ICE IS EVERYWHERE

but... where is the granting of space?
people are walking in the roads because the sidewalks are not clear

it is madness... and SNOWRAGE is only building

I just got finished clearing out ANOTHER space on my block

had someone cleared everything out when the snow was fresh instead of just pulling out and leaving the snow wall that had surrounded their car it would have been easier than me breaking apart solid masses of ice

my wife is marking her space
while I have been crossing my fingers when I move my car

I am torn on the whole saving parking spaces

but I am in full agreement that people just need to do their part

Anonymous said...

Howabout walk softly and carry a big stick: LITERALLY. I found this out by accident, but it is very satisfying. Go about your daily errands with a nice big, wooden, walking stick to help on the icy patches. Or a big ice scraper. Be happy, be chill. Of course, if a car starts giving attitude, a quick glare and merely grasping the stick seems to change minds pretty quickly. Most a-hole drivers are bullies- cowards as long as they are protected by their 2 tons of steel.