Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can't we all just get along?

I had a great ride this morning with the 5:46 riders and then continued on to work.  I was going to write about peer pressure as an aid to keep us working out.  But then my ride home happened....

At the intersection of Dorsey and WB&A Blvd I was leaving the trail to head south on WB&A.  A cyclist who arrive at the light just ahead of me had already hit the pedestrian walk button and we waited for the walk signal.  Just as we clipped in a wave of eastbound traffic arrived on Dorsey Rd slowing to stop. (coming form our right).  In a span of about 3 seconds I saw this all unfold:

  • a car came in much too hot and finally stopped very abruptly, blocking the cross walk as we were trying to... cross.  He apparently didn't see the red light and he certainly didn't see us on the bikes, and a jogger who had joined us.
  • the rider ahead of me moved to ride behind this car then in front of the other traffic, all stopped a reasonable distance back.
  • at this point our impatient driver realizes he's blocking the cross walk and puts it in reverse, almost striking biker number one who puts his left hand out and touches the trunk as the car lurches to another sudden stop.  I was yelling to the driver at the same time to STOP!
  • rider 1 makes a profane remark to our driver
  • our driver puts it in park, returns the profane greeting and raises him one by getting out of the car
  • rider one takes the challenge and circles to the front of the car.
  • blows were avoided when biker 1 realized he didn't have his cell phone and could not snap the picture he wanted of driver's plate and nose extending beyond the stop line
  • additional "pleasantries" are exchanged and everyone parts company as the light changes again, all riders and pedestrians safely across the intersection
 Fast forward to my own neighborhood a half mile from home.  Manhattan Beach road is a comfortable, wide blvd past the gas stations and up the first rise then narrows abruptly as it crosses in front of the American Legion post. I typically try to "take the lane" as I crest this hill.  From the top of the rise until I make my left it's all down hill with little shoulder.  It's simply safer for me to hold the lane the last 1/4 mile until I make my left.

Just at this crest where things neck down a speeding car comes up beside me despite my position in the middle of the lane.  She gives me much less than three feet clearance and immediately brakes, slowing to match my speed.  Then turns left in to the American Legion parking lot.  She made an unsafe pass around me in to oncoming traffic to save herself one or two seconds over the time it would have taken to simply slow down and follow me.  I doubt any sober driver would try the same move if I'd been in a car but she couldn't be bothered to follow a slow vehicle an additional 50 feet!!

The first driver was wrong and knew it, and simply got angry when called out.  Biker 1 inflamed the situation by resorting to profanity and yelling rather than simply letting it go.  Driver 2 was also in too much of a hurry to be bothered slowing for cyclist.

What's the hurry folks? Slow down, smell the coffee and let's all get where we're going safely.


  1. I sympathise with you Mike. The same happens here and most of the time the people in the wrong think they're right. A minority of both drivers and cyclists.

  2. I always remember my original training Corporal back in the day coming out with the saying when anything went wrong due to a mistake "Human Beings, crap design." It has seemed to be a truism as I have gone through life.

    I've accepted it, I'm always ready for it and my life is far more relaxed as a result!