DC Bicycle Commuter Documents his Daily Rides... including crashes

District Bicyclists to DC Council: Yes, We Need Protection from Angry Drivers

Evan Wilder's blog about DC and being a Bicycle Commuter in DC

a week or so ago I was picking up Pho for the family with my Frankenbakfiet
with soup for four in the wheel barrow bike I pedaled through my residential neighborhood of Mount Pleasant
as I turned a right off Park Road onto 18th Street I felt a car trailing close behind
I did not need my Spidey senses to let me know that this driver was in a rush to get past me

the block here is a half a block long before my left hand turn
I gestured that I was turning by pointing to the left as I faded to center of the lane
but quickly steered back for fear that this close following car was going to make an obnoxious and unnecessary pass

I made my turn and then this car stopped and the car driver shouted something out at me
I shouted something back
we exchanged words
the words were the basic ideas of both camps

this man was saying I need to ride to the far right
while I was saying that he needs to give the cyclist more space
these ideas were shared with anger, aggression, and maybe some expletives
it was not long before the discussion got off topic

the discussion went from a Car vs. Bike thing to a Man vs. Man thing
our maleness was then the discussion
we were at a stalemate
he in his car and me on my bike

in the end... I put my ass on my bike seat and pedaled away knowing that fighting does not prove anything
anything more than who is the better fighter

we called each other's bluff
sensibility over took me and I walked away
or should I say I rode away
I rode away to ride another day
knowing that there is no winning a fight
actions have consequences

one of the consequences is the potential for future contact
having to see this person again on the streets
being on the bike or on the bike with my family
I am not invisible... especially on my Fat Albert and the Gang Bakfiet

well... I did not run into this man in the real world
but I am confident that I have seen him in the electronic world
sure enough... I have seen a FACEBOOK page of a person that I believe to be him
yes... I am confident that I recognize this person
this person being mutual friends with a great number of my friends

and well... today FACEBOOK recommended him as one of my friends
the humor... the awkwardness... the humor

I got home and regretted my behavior
I regretted my behavior even before my FACEBOOK sighting
but now after this FACEBOOK sighting I have even more regrets
hopefully my regrets will alter future behavior

when I say SUBMISSIVE CYCLING ENABLES AGGRESSIVE DRIVING I am not saying that cyclists should be aggressive towards car drivers
but that they should ride their bicycles aggressively
that cyclists should take the lane instead of hiding to the side

cussing, spitting, giving the finger...
none of these things ever satisfy anything more than the immediate
they do not help the situation
they do not help future situations for future cyclists

I wonder how that guy in the car felt about our encounter
how did he feel about how he behaved? how does he feel about how he drives around cyclists?
more than likely our interaction only fueled his negative feelings about cyclists?
I expect to see him again... maybe at a bar... maybe at a party... maybe at a friend's house
hopefully we have a laugh and can talk about our childish behavior and the notion that there is room for both cars and bikes on the road
and that slowing down for a cyclists does nothing to slow down the travel of the car


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