9.21.2010

same story different day...

this morning when driving my kids to school a white contractor van approached an intersection where they had a Stop Sign while I had the right of way without a Stop Sign
the white van did not slow or stop for their Stop Sign
they made a fast entrance onto the road in front of me
it was not dangerously close
there was no real risk of our cars colliding
but... this sort of loose driving style is the error of our ways
it was not close this time
but... if they were just making a quick glance for a large vehicle
there was no anticipation of pedestrian or bicycle traffic

they did cross a crosswalk and a bike lane to get in front of me
so... pedestrian and bicycle traffic could be present variables

yep... it is the same story on a different day
nearly exactly the same story on a different day
but not just a different day
the next day... everyday
everyday... all day

that is how it goes on the road
this loose driving style becomes a bigger issue when on the bike
we all have stories of the road about angry obnoxious drivers
I try not to bore my wife about my encounters on the road
in fact... the blog was born as an outlet for such things
after years of ranting and raving on the blog I learned that it was not a healthy place to vent as much as it became a place to store my anger
so I try not to get too into the show and tell of the close calls with the idiots and assholes on the road

yet here I am... reliving the moment
experiencing that anger and tension again

the other day as I rode my bike down South Capital Street towards the launch of The Capital Bike Share I anticipated the misbehavior of a white pickup truck approaching South Capital Street from one of the side streets
I could tell from their speed that they had no intention of stopping at the stop line
my pace was slowed then after checking to see that things were clear I faded into the lane to my left and safely dodge the point of intersection as the big white truck rolled through the stop sign

I was then in front of the scoff law driver in their over sized pick up truck
most any cyclist can guess what happened next
yep... you guessed it... the driver of this white pick up truck honked and gestured that I needed to get out of his way
I continued to pedal along at less than race pace on my urban single speed that is geared for not so fast of a pace

I then faded into the left hand lane so that I could take a left hand turn at the intersection of South Capital and M Street
the driver then pulled up along side of me with his window down
now I am no scientist... but my guess is genetic testing would prove that somewhere in this man's blood line a brother bred with a sister or worse yet a father bred with his daughter

the man started to give me a piece of his mind... which I thought was risky
as it appeared he did not have much to spare

this man started in on how I needed to get out of his way
how I was taking up the whole road
blah... blah... blah...
I threw it right back at him... telling him he ran the stop sign to which he responded with question, "I need to Stop at the Stop Sign? what are you? the police?"

ah... no cop... no stop

my light was green and he had arrived at his 7-11 destination

so this meeting of the minds was cut short
which was fine... I had nothing really more to discuss
I was not going to enlighten this dim creature
so I went along my way

so... the following day I was headed home from a dentist appointment in Friendship Heights
I was cruising down Reno Road in residential Northwest Washington DC at a decent clip
not so fast as this bike does not go that fast
which is fine... because it does not brake so well

rolling along I see a car approaching Reno Road from a side street
from the speed of the car it appears that they have no intention of stopping at the stop sign
they have a stop sign... I have the right of way
in an effort to be safe I slow my pedal stroke and slow my bke
then I glide to the center of the road
avoiding the point of intersection
avoiding the worst case scenario
then I fade back into the lane in front of this scoff law driver

guess what happened next?
yep... you guessed it
the woman in the white convertible with the top down honked at me and gestured for me to get out of her way
well... she as the 100th Monkey

the 100th Monkey is the car driver who causes me enough grief that they get the anger... aggression... and the words that I held back when the previous 99 cars made me angry

she told me to get out of her way... she told me not to take up the whole road

WHERE WAS I SUPPOSED TO GO?

this driver already displayed that she was not the most cautious driver

DID SHE WANT ME RIDING IN THE GUTTER?

WOULD SHE HAVE PASSED ME WITHIN THE LANE INCHES FROM MY FLESH?

well... the truth is.... I was riding to the right of the center of the lane
which is the right hand side of the lane
not in the gutter... not all the way to the right... I am where I am supposed to be
I am where I am most safe
just as with the white truck the day prior
had I been riding all the way to the right where they want me to ride... well
I would have t-boned her little car

oh man... I was steamed

I had no real concern for her failure to stop at the stop sign
but for her to feel I needed to get out of her way
well... that made me steamed
so... I used words that I would not use in front of my mother when I spoke to her

where does she expect me to ride?

then she comes at me with the "I ride a bike all the time"
which I could tell was possible... she did have a trunk mounted rack on the back of her car
but where does she ride?
in the gutter?
does she ride such that cars can pass within the same lane?

I hate when a car driver tries to use the "I am a cyclist" logic
as if that gives them a right to bully another cyclist in their car

I also drive a car
that puts us on a level playing field
I try to put myself where I am most safe
obviously this person did not have any care or concern for my well being when she approached the intersection
why would I trust them to make a safe pass?

oh... our words were slight
I was negative and nasty
there was not time to educate her
I had to roll... I had to keep it to myself

she passed me aggressively and fast
then got stuck in a line of cars that were stuck at the red light ahead
I passed the line of cars down the center of the road
I would pass on the right... but the cars never leave me space on the right

then the light turned green and I rolled forward
seeing the next light was red I slowed and stopped thinking we could share a few sage words with each other
nope... I reverted to cussing at her again
she came at me with more failed logic
which had me revert to a monosyllabic animal

not the encounter that I was seeking
but... that person should have been apologizing for their initial behavior
then falling into line

it is best for me not to talk with drivers when on the bike
so often it is a case of ACTION and OVER REACTION
the arrogance that I get from these selfish drivers that have no concern for any other person on the road then themselves
not granting anyone else their right to space and safety

SUBMISSIVE CYCLING ENABLES AGGRESSIVE DRIVING
and well
aggressive drivers make me cuss some times

I am flawed
but... to my credit
my over reaction is caused by their inappropriate behavior
these encounters do not help the bicycle-car relationship
I will try to hold my tongue
but... there needs to be something
maybe a giant mirror so that the car drivers can see their contribution to the situtation

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