Friday, January 20, 2012

Chase, Pace, Race and Hook, and Other Pointless Bubble Intrusions

There is no prize for getting to the other cars faster

On the ride into work this morning, a car approached me from behind in the lane to the left of me, kept pace with me for a brief moment of hesitation, raced ahead, then right hooked in front of me. It all went just dandy: I heard him, saw him next to me, saw him race ahead, prepared to quick turn with him if needed, and then he turned about a second in front of me. I was whistling a tune and didn't miss a note. It's possible that my obvious nonchalance was an indication to the driver that the race-and-hook would be okey-dokey. But as I reviewed the act, I decided there was no sense in it, no benefit for anyone, only costs. All he had to do was slow down and turn behind me a few seconds later. Most drivers wouldn't do it to another car, but I have seen it happen, and it's equally a bad idea in that situation: what's the point?

Another pointless scenario that I see all the time is the Race to the Red Light. People, typically pedestrians or cyclists, are waiting to cross a busy road, or, in a variation, another car just wants to move into another lane before he gets to the intersection, and signals. Before moving, both check traffic and seeing no one within distance oncoming that would be of concern, start to make their move. But then, for no apparent reason again, some driver decides to hit the gas and accelerate, in spite of the red light clearly showing just ahead. Or, in some cases I'm certain, the reason is actually to CUT OFF the intended lane change or crossing, just for the sheer cussed assertiveness of it. Also, similar to the chase, pace, race and hook, no benefit for anyone just risk, or cost. Also similar to the CPR&H, not something I would do to another car while driving a car. Too risky. No reason to do it. Several reasons to just slow down and chillax.

Both of these violate a fundamental safety rule I always try to implement on the road: the safety space bubble. This is merely a safe and respectable distance from you to the next living being on the pavement in all directions, x, y, and z, as well as the maintenance and preservation of same, visualized as a bubble surrounding each living being, and includes anticipating bubble motion. The required space bubble size expands or contracts depends on speed, as well as what the other living being is doing. If the other living being, for example, is waving their arms and screaming obscenities at you, or perhaps at a tree, a larger bubble may be indicated. If the proper space bubbles are prevented from intersecting or intruding on other proper space bubbles through successful bubble anticipation, the living beings are definitely prevented from smashing into one another.

Chase, pace, race and hook, as well as race to the red light, raise all kinds of unnecessary, valueless space bubble intrusions. I'm in my space bubble, floating lightly. Please avoid pointless, valueless bubble intrusions. You're in your bubble, I'm in mine, let's respect the bubble, and keep safe. Guard your space and stay out of trouble, bubble.


  1. i use a main road to ride in to school in the morning and have experienced the rapud acceleration of heart rate and blood pressure that goes with the race and right hook on countless occasions. it's a chance to address my mortality that reminds me just how much i appreciate and enjoy my time here. shoulder-checking is a must at each intersection if only to know whether the car that's about to cream-cracker me is half decent so i can die under the wheels of someone who can afford to support my family in their extravagant lifestyle.


  2. "there is no prize to getting to the other cars faster"
    Amen brother!

  3. I find it interesting that I drive the way I ride a bike. I coast into stop lights and allow a respectable distance between me and the next auto. Most drivers race to re-position themselves at red lights. Like you said, what's the point? Something to consider...wouldn't we all be better drivers if we drive like we ride, or would that be opening a can of worms for the crazy riders?

  4. I LIKE anniebikes idea about "driving the way you ride." I'm going to concentrate on trying to do that.

  5. Actually, and in reality, as the law states, all of us on wheels are operating vehicles. And those DO need a bubble.

  6. steven: wow. By the time you shoulder check, the bubbles have all popped.

    cycler: although maybe we could make a point of handing out WINNER! FIRST TO THE RED LIGHT pink ribbons.

    anniebikes, AZBC: truly, it would be a better road if all road users saw each other as people, and practiced something similar to the Aikido concepts of self-mastery and protection of others/opponents.

    Steve A, as long as we all can have bubbles, I'll be happy.


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