BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: traffic

Your mom must be so proud

We all fall victim to ranting in the passion of a moment, and this is just that. Call it a flaw of the internet for providing instant information and access to an audience.

I caved in and drove to work today – the first weak moment of the day (writing this being #2). I am not one to make excuses, but here are my excuses: I rode an extra 10 miles yesterday after work to get to a starbuck’s “jam session” with a friend, then continued on to church, then back home (at 8:30 pm). I had a long day yesterday, and it was cold this morning (for Phoenix at least). Moving forward…

As I am driving home this afternoon, I am cruising along in the middle of 3 lanes, approaching a stop light. A beat-up GMC Jimmy (missing one side-view mirror) speeds past me on the right, and the guy was obviously not paying attention to what was happening in front of him – 6 or so cars were stopped as the car at the intersection was waiting to make a right turn. The Jimmy on my right notices that the cars in front of him are not moving, slams on the brakes and cuts in front of me at the same time. All of this happens within inches of my precious hood. The guy proceeds to swerve around a bit as he settles into this lane, then resumes driving like a moron. Thankfully, no physical contact was made, aside from my hand on my horn.

As we approach the next light, I am still in the middle lane, and this guy has moved over to the far left lane. Cars come to a halt, and I notice that I will be pulling up right alongside the guy. I can see him edging forward as much as possible to prevent us from being right next to each other. No such luck for this fine gentleman. His windows are down, and a similarly aged female is in the passenger seat, seemingly oblivious to all that has taken place. This was my first real look at what this guy looked like. Late 20s-ish, smaller guy – I could take him if I needed to (although I like to think of myself as non-violent).

As I come to a stop, I simply stare to my left, and the guy is glancing out of the corner of his eyes, then sort of turns his head a bit more to me – all the while one hand is providing him some sort of false sense of security. Then it happens…

He flips me off.

He, flips ME, off.

I was caught so off guard by this gesture that I started laughing. The light turned green and the guy quickly accelerated out of view.

He flipped me off.

The guy has the nerve to cut me off because he doesn’t pay attention to the 3000 pound hunk of crappy American steal he controls, and then give me the universal sign of “go F- yourself.” I was stunned. I still am.

the classic

Thanks Moe for reminding me about the “classic” image.

I am disappointed, because this brief interaction with a stranger has left me wondering where all the civility has gone? The fingers can be pointed in many directions, but I won’t do that just yet. I hope that occurrences like these are rare – but I cannot say that for sure. I have yet to have a similar interaction while riding my bike, so maybe this is just one more reason to stay out of the car.

I Have a Dream

The P.F. Chang’s Rock n’ Roll marathon was held today in Tempe/Phoenix, AZ, and as a result many of the streets were closed to automobile traffic to clear room for the estimated 37,000 runners and 5,000 volunteers. The race course traveled around the area in which I live, potentially rendering me house-bound for most of the morning…but only if I wanted to drive. I hopped on my aluminum steed at 9 am this morning to traverse the 5 miles to church, and had 4 lanes of road all to myself since the race had not made it that far just yet. The street I rode had been blockaded and even had motorcycle cops making sure no clueless drivers ended up on the wrong side of the orange cones. I stopped and chatted with two of the cops and they told me to help myself to the road, since the runners were 40 minutes behind me. I happily complied and enjoyed the dash down vacant streets on a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning.

When it was time for me to go back home, the race was still going in this part of town, but I was allowed to travel along the race course, inside the barricades, so long as I stayed out of the way. At this time, it was mostly the people who were walking that I encountered, but they only used 2 of the 3 lanes, leaving me plenty of room. One lane had been opened to auto traffic, but they weren’t really going anywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed riding past all of the cars as they impatiently waited for the 100 people in front of them to progress through the next traffic light, one car at a time.

And this got me thinking: first of all, I would love it if this situation would happen more often, with 3 of 4 lanes of road being designated for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. But what a dream that is! At the same time, I realized that is somewhat selfish in that people who legitimately need cars (handicapped, elderly…but it’s all grey territory) would be greatly inconvenienced by such a system.

But then I thought that this might be the kind of situation that is required to impact great transportation reform – and by that I do NOT mean “build more roads.” If people were forced (I tread VERY carefully here) into realizing how cycling (or even carpooling since 9 out of 10 cars I pass have A person in them) is a more efficient form of transportation, they might just be more willing to try it. But as long as our urban infrastructure and layout make it more convenient/easier to drive, I am sure people will be content doing just that, no matter how much gas might cost.

But I guess the major problem would be finding a mayor who would willingly close down 3 out of 4 lanes of traffic to let cyclists roam free. But then again, we all have to have dreams, right?

This is going to the local PD.

I was really bothered by the “Dumb Driver.” So I decided to see about clearer images from the video I took. After playing with the videos and taking screen shots, I finally got a clear shot of his license plate and his face. I’m making a copy of the video and photos and sending that over to the Fullerton PD. Now if I see him living in the area, I’m giving him a copy too with a note saying that its been sent to the PD.
Click on image to make it larger.