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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Can't we all just get along?

Bicyclist making peace sign to motorists
From the West Seattle Herald, 02.05.08:

View From The Saddle - Can't we all just get along?
I'm not the bicycle that I ride, the bicycle that I know some of you hold in contempt. You're not the car that you drive, the car that I am, from time to time, suspicious of as it creeps up behind me with malicious intent. We're both humans whose dogs love us and whose kids (assuming you have them) held or will hold us in serious disdain during part of their teen years.

So, "can't we all just get along?"

It's such a waste of energy not trusting that you aren't about to flatten me, and it must be a waste of energy for you to seethe as you watch me crank along in my colorful jersey, defying the rules of traffic congestion, and as you call home on your cell phone saying that you're going to late once again.

It's got to hurt when you glance over and see me cruise on through, silently, smile planted on my face, a smile that you might well mistake for smugness. But, really, that's not a smile born of a feeling of superiority. It's actually a smile born of the knowledge that I'm doing what I love while doing what I have to do anyway: getting from point A to point B with minimal fuss and impact on my environment. (Read more.)
Heartfelt plea for mutual understanding among road users from the Pacific Northwest. I've never understood the animosity some --certainly not all--motorists have for bicyclists. It's not as if we're the ones causing the traffic jam, the high gas prices, or the heavy car payments. One more bike, one less car, one more parking space. Win-win, right?

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Summer is here, leave your car at home, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Unknown said...

So, are there any "Car Commute Tips Blogs" that we can post this on? They're the ones who need to read it! I never knew of this blog until I start bike commuting myself...

dr2chase said...

I think the number of drivers that dislike cyclists is much smaller than the number who are merely careless or confused, and that the careless/confused drivers present the greater danger because of their numbers.

However, the carelessness creates plenty of animosity from cyclists, in the same way that, if I walked carelessly through a crowd in heavy muddy boots, knocking people off balance, bruising their toes, and getting mud on them, people would get mad at me for my lack of caution.

The lack of a "Car Commute Tips Blog" (Googling for those words yields "save money on your commute", 4 bike commuting blogs, car-free commuting tips, and "avoiding traffic") pretty well points this up -- generally, car drivers don't think that they need any help with safety. The problem is not "getting along" -- it is more a matter of getting people in cars to pay attention.

SiouxGeonz said...

+1, dr2chase.

This morning I had evidence to support that. A student drove totally unnecessarily close to me on the entrance to campus - close enough that I noted his license plate and was considering what action to take, since it seemed there was no reason for him to *hug* me and then cut over to make his left turn.
I get to my lot and he's still there lookin' for a spot and ... he clips me. Knocks that piece of plastic off the "bumper" part of my Gazelle. (The Gazelle is 50 pounds. It didn't even swerve.) NOw, perhaps he assumed a posture of humility based on not wanting legal action to be taken, but he wasn't *that* humble, either. (I blogged it.)
I agree that it's an attention problem. Think of all the other groups of people who harm others obliviously, and create a cycle of fear and hostility that can escalate into hate and war. How do we make it as humans?

clark said...

i live in anchorge but have visited seattle once or twice a year for a few days for 15 years. was just there last week. it seems like there's a fair number of bike lanes, trails, and roads that would be easy to share. traffic's thick in places, more than it used to be. but it seems like it would be the perfect city to find people willing to co-exist and be imaginative. so i wonder why there also seems to be so much controversy? maybe if i lived there all the time i'd get it.