out at 1600 Penn Ave.

the other morning I was able to to go for a ride before work
over an hour on the bike after just about thirty minutes with the dog in the woods
followed by a gentle roll around town with the camera slung around my neck
after the ride there was some time so I rolled down Penn. Avenue
with an interesting site within view I pulled out the camera
I decided to snap a few more shots of the man with the unique protest bike

sort of a rolling office

I snapped a few shots of him
then I snapped a few shots of some passing bicycles
one cyclist passed
I turned and snapped a few shots
he flipped me off as he passed
then he turned around and asked me not to take his photograph
I should have asked him not to flip me off
but I was not looking for conflict

tonight on my way home I cruised down the lit city streets without light flashing on my bag, without lights on my helmet or my bars
the city can be bright enough
but I still feel as if I should have had lights

as I made my way home I took the shortest most direct route
I passed through dupont circle and slowed to see what was going on with the three park police vehicles with flashing lights parked in the center of the circle by the fountain
there were men in handcuffs
but it was none my concern
I kept rolling through

I took 18th Street through the main drag of Adams Morgan
before the base of the hill I had already had my fill of non-sensical behavior by the cars around me
as I passed the elementary school onto the most commercial stretch of road I was passed by a joker on a neo-scooter
it was not particular fast or particularly close
the scooter changed lanes back and forth in an effort to get ahead of the double parked vehicles and the left turning vehicles
traffic slowed the momentum of the scooter... I gained ground on the motorized vehicle
the scooter took the lane in front of me without a glance back
then went back into the left lane then gained some more ground

my trajectory was straight
my pace was unaltered
I spun my single speed geared for off road at a steady pace
again I closed ground on the scooter
he dipped into the lane along side of me and I grasped his shoulder
he looked over at me
and yelled DON'T TOUCH ME!
I responded... look where you are going.
to that I got an aggressive... YOU WERE IN THE RIGHT LANE!
well... I should not have touched him
but I felt he was not taking me into account
from my perspective he was not so intouch with the vehicles around him

I gained ground on him
pulling further and further away
not trying to continue the arguement
not looking for conflict

it was wrong for me to touch him
but... I would rather be cautious and rude than knocked over by some neo frat boy hipster on his cute little scooter

I admit... I may have been wrong to touch him
but from his "right lane" comment I feel that he may not have felt that bicycle traffic has the same rights to the road
he was able to pass within my lane
while I was not permited to pass him in the same lane
even if my pace and trajectory was such that he should not have entered my lane
I felt he was putting me in danger
he felt that I should not touch him
I should not have touched him
he should not have put me in danger


riderx said...

You were right, he was wrong. Maybe if you pushed him over and his little toy got scratched up as he took a dive his perspective would have changed. Of course, I don't promote doing this unless it was necessary for your own safety and survival.

Actually in a way he *was* right, you were in the right lane: as in the "correct" lane.

gwadzilla said...

rider x
it is all about respect
and respect for space

I felt he did not respect my space
I did not respect his judgement

I may have been wrong to touch him
I may have touched him prematurely
I could not wait to see if he bumped me over
so I touched his shoulder

had he been more respectful of the world around him
he would have seen me on the first pass and anticipated my being there
my speed had not changed
my trajectory had not changed

I was in the right lane
he was all over the road
there needs to be a method to the madness
the urban cyclist may zig and zag
but the tendency is to predict the movement around oneself

this guy lacked that

had he known how to ride in traffic he would have never been slowed by the cars around him
he would have anticipated things and flowed through

Dr. Logan said...

Unfortunately it's getting to the point (or am I just beginning to see it as it always has been) that one can reasonably assume that the people on motorized vehicles around them are going to behave like morons. Apparently that includes scooters. It's not out-of-line to touch his shoulder to let him know you're there. If he wrecked into you it would have sucked just as much for him.

Tim said...

I can't help but wonder who is more in danger, you handle a bike far better than he could a scooter. You maybe shouldn't have touched him but he should show the respect to another vehicle. Clearly the guy was out of his element, he should ride his toy elsewhere to learn how to handle it. Not on city streets.