Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Worry About You Out There on the Road


Regarding a proper cause for worry


"Be careful, I worry about you out there."

If you live or work with other people who know that you commute by bicycle, you've probably heard this. But the more time I spend out there riding around observing automobile drivers, the more I feel this worry is misplaced. It's my friends, coworkers, and loved ones who drive and ride in cars that I worry about. Automobile occupants watch out! It's a car-razy world out there!

For the most part, I manage my bicycle commute to avoid the heart of the metal maelstrom, but the cars, trucks, and buses, and the people in them, are right in the middle of it! Whether racing to the red light, or cutting each other off for position, or lack of attention from texting, the biggest danger to drivers out there is clearly, by far, other drivers! Yikes! My advice to friends, coworkers, and loved ones: avoid driving or riding in a car any way you can, you could bike for example, but if you must car, please car with care! It's a madhouse out there!

Every day I witness more head-scratcher driver near-misses. Luxury cars drifting across two lanes causing other drivers to swerve. Red light running. Egregious speeding. Egregious tail-gating. You name it. Sure, most or all of those maneuvers would be risky for any bicycle commuters who happened to be around, too, but let's face it: we're few and far between here, vastly outnumbered by cars, and, in most cases, definitely in mine, already expect this sort of thing from drivers, constantly, all the time, which leads me to put myself in the position of observer with ready escape route instead of active maelstrom participant. You can have it, car drivers, it's all yours, but friends, coworkers, and family members, I worry for you out there: are you sure you wouldn't rather ride a bike instead?

I have a sneaking suspicion it's becoming a familiarity thing. I believe I see many of the same drivers every day, and if that's the case, then many of the same drivers are seeing me scrupulously obeying the traffic laws on my bicycle, stopping fully and taking turns at stop signs, signalling and merging safely, and so on, and some of them may be growing accustomed enough to my behavior that they reciprocate. 

On the other hand, since they generally seem to expect and give the worst to other car drivers, they reciprocate in that way, too, toward each other. I've given some thought to intervening in the car-on-car war, and have on a couple occasions waved emphatically at the cars across the intersection when I saw an oncoming vehicle about to run the red light, and there was my infamous and foolhardy waving down of traffic to save the geese crossing Hayden Road. But as the car-on-car war appears nonstop, intervention on a bicycle would keep me so busy it would be tough to ride too! And is probably inadvisable for other reasons anyway. So when people tell me they worry about me when I'm about to bike home, I'll just reply that I worry more about them when they car home, and then ride on.

7 comments:

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    1. David that's the Fifth Avenue sign in Scottsdale at Indian School road.

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  2. Reading your post's title, I was ready to jump on you. Reading the post - not so much. In the final analysis we all die. Lately, I've been mourning a lot of motoring friends. RIP Mike - and others.

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    1. When we go, we go, but there is a high resistance in my gut to being slaughtered by someone in a car who is texting LOL WUT!! as they kill me or anyone else for that matter.

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  3. I origenally ment cool picture. In my youth I had highly modified Ford Mustang. I am now going into law enforcment. I realised thant I broke traffic laws every day all day. I took traffic 101 throught the Leauge of American Bicyclests. I beleive it made me a better car driver. Thanks for your view on this subject.

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    1. When I look at what we did as teens while driving I wonder if we shouldn't wait until kids are older to give them licenses. For me, the combination of getting older/wiser/mellower, plus biking a lot, has done wonders for my road manners and safety practices.

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