Posts Tagged 'road rage'

#51 Pedestrians vs. Cyclists/Drivers

Road Rage is a TAPTS original series.
Part 1: Cyclists vs. Drivers
Part 2: Drivers vs. Cyclists
Part 3: Pedestrians vs. Cyclists/Drivers

To the average pedestrian who chooses to work and live in the same zip code, walking is the number one mode of transportation. Peds don’t have to worry about traffic, gas prices, helmets, reflectors or running red lights (although they do occasionally cross a green light when there is no traffic coming). A pedestrian’s commute is reduced to simply moving their legs in order to reach a single point. Years ago, this was considered the ultimate form of transportation. As communities have grown, people moved away from walking to embrace the wheel. Eventually, humans grew into monsters wreaking havoc with their more efficient transportation.

The cyclist is looked upon by the pedestrian as the “rebel of the road”. Too many times I’ve witnessed cyclists parading downtown with not a care for themselves or others. All cyclists will take the sidewalk (no matter how many people are on it), if it’s convenient for them. Or run a string of red lights… if convenient for them. They almost never seem to be apologetic or forgiving to those whom sidewalks were made. Disrespect oozes from their yellow jackets and streamlined helmets. Small and swift – but deadly –  I equate cyclists to the Velociraptor.

The driver is analogous to lazy American society. With the ability to travel 5-10 miles over any speed limit, motorists laugh at the thought of someone who would walk to work. Their shiny, fast, debt machine owns all roads and has no laws if there are no police around. A citation is looked upon as “unfortunate or unlucky”, but never as a reminder to be responsible. The motorist consumes without remorse never questioning their actions. Large, hungry and fast – I equate the motorist to a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

I walk/jog to work. I walk to the grocery store. I walk to restaurants and bars. No matter what the day or scenario, I have a unique opportunity to witness some stupid cyclists/motorists.

  • On my way to work, I witnessed a car run a red light on Everett, get t-boned by oncoming traffic and flipped on its side. The light was red for about 5-10 seconds.
  • A motorists was waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street at a stop sign. A cyclist decided to pass them on the right. Once the ped had crossed, the driver turned right and the cyclist slammed into the side of the car. The cyclist was at fault for failing to yield to the pedestrian. I’m sure the cyclist didn’t have to pay for any of the damages to the car.
  • I have seen a cyclist being tailed by a mid-sized SUV honking away (seriously, just laying into it). The cyclist turns around, and flips the SUV driver off. The SUV changed lanes, sped up, and then cut the cyclist off.

Ultimately, I don’t hate the people that operate these vehicles. I believe in my heart that they are kind and generous creatures. But for some reason when they hop- on/get-in their rubber wheeled vehicles they have a sick sort of entitlement. These people become Velociraptor and T-Rex monsters bent on their own self preservation. Eventually, they will attack each other and destroy one another until Pedestrians rule the Earth.

#50 Drivers vs. Cyclists

Road Rage is a TAPTS original series.
Part 1: Cyclists vs. Drivers
Part 2: Drivers vs. Cyclists
Part 3: Pedestrians vs. Cyclists/Drivers

I’m not going to say something irrational like, “cyclists suck and we shouldn’t have them on the streets”. Bicycling is a great workout, and for people that want to use bikes as a mode of travel, well, you’re certainly allowing me to breathe cleaner air and buy gas at a cheaper rate. Thanks! But often there are major problems with the whole “Share the Road” campaign.

How many times have you seen the following? Cyclists with NO helmet, NO blinking light, and BLACK clothing riding through town at night. Because keeping your fauxhawk perfectly groomed is much more important than making yourself visible to vehicle traffic. Or how about this? An “intense” bicyclist (Lance Armstrong wannabe) shooting through intersections and screaming “on your left!” to peds. A few more of my favorites are wear-a-skirt-that-is-dangerously-close-to-the-bike-chain girl, fixie-bike-messenger guy ducking and weaving through cars, and mother-with-bike-trailer slooooowly climbing a hill with 20 cars behind her.

It’s not the bicyclists fault that they are so stupid. Oregon law makes it incredibly easy for them to be ignorant. Many people move to Oregon from other states to take advantage of our “bike friendly” culture. But there are few mechanisms, minus a nice instructional accident, to inform newcomers of Oregon’s bicycle laws. In Oregon, bikes are treated as vehicles in the eyes of the law. Fair enough. That’s why bicyclists are required to wear helmets, pass safety tests for licensing purposes and carry insurance. Oh wait. They actually aren’t required to do any of these things.* But yet, they are allowed and encouraged to share the road with motor vehicles. This is so nonsensical. And bikers are obviously not smart enough to realize that they are at a disadvantage in the whole scheme of things.

The reason drivers are required to carry licenses and insurance and conform to certain safety standards is the simple fact that objects moving around in the same area will inevitably bump into each other. Add bicycles to the mix, and it is only a matter of time before a collision. And guess what? Even though drivers/cyclists are about even when it comes to fault, big car will smash small bike every time. I’m pretty sure every driver who has hit and killed a bicyclist, even if it was the bicyclists fault, feels really horrible about it and is traumatized. That is why driver’s get so pissed when a biker pulls a stupid move. The bikers have the same liability, but no conditions to enforce responsibility.

*Exception being helmets required for children under 16. The minute you hit 16 years old, your life is in your own hands! But don’t try to vote or drink.

#49 Cyclists vs. Drivers

Road Rage is a TAPTS original series.
Part 1: Cyclists vs. Drivers
Part 2: Drivers vs. Cyclists
Part 3: Pedestrians vs. Cyclists/Drivers

Visitors to Portland frequently comment about how nice we Portlanders are. A friend visiting from NYC actually made a comment about all the niceties: “It’s starting to freak me out!” Portland is also recognized as one of the country’s most bike friendly cities. And even though a rare 20 minute hold up in traffic will send any seasoned Portland driver into a full on panic attack, LA this is not.

However, the cyclist versus driver war has erupted into irrational levels of general madness. Since everything else about people’s lives is so… well… nice, are we just hating motorists because of the potential threat they can cause to our lives due to their cell-phone/child-rearing/food-eating vehicle experience? I realize some cyclists suck but I’m convinced that every driver operates a mass murdering vehicle of death.

People, I drive and I bike – and I have personally sucked at both at one point or another. I have ran stop signs in neighborhoods. I have used sidewalks and other non-designated “safe” bike lanes (cycling is an improvisational art!). I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen motorists run red lights without considering the damage that he/she could cause to others. At least when I cut corners, I’m only putting myself at risk.

So for all you motor vehicle operators out there, start paying a little more attention to where the *expletive deleted* you are *expletive deleted* going. Not only do you have a responsibility to your passengers, but you are obligated to SHARE the road with others. Just because you drive a 2004 BMW doesn’t mean you can cut me off therefore putting my life in danger because I wasn’t going 10 miles over the speed limit.

For more information about Oregon cycling, sign-up for these e-newsletters:
ORBike
Cycle Oregon
Wild Heart Cycling



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