This is one of those occasional grumbles. So Grrrrr…..
We start with a statement made in court by the father of a 25 year old woman who killed a bicyclist; after claiming that the hit-and-run death by his drunk daughter had been sensationalized by the press, he extracted gasps from the courtroom by saying “If you do ride [a bike] on the open road, be aware about what can happen. You have a responsibility to your family.” Yep, getting killed for riding a bike is, just, well, something to be expected.
Dad should be sentenced to riding a bike the rest of his life. Not sure how comfy we all are with him behind the wheel.
For what it is worth, the statistics aren’t quite that awful: only about 2-3% of road accident fatalities are bicyclists in Colorado–but 20% are motorcyclists (and GG wonders if that tenfold increase is even worse if you had a per mile estimate).
This though opens the floodgates on irresponsibility on the roads that GG is sick and tired of. So here we go; please imagine your best “Get off my lawn, you whippersnapper!” voice (think Lewis Black).
People who need a clue:
- Drivers wandering from lane to lane as they play with their cell phone.
- Bicyclists wandering from side to side as they play with their phone.
- Bikes who think traffic laws don’t apply to them: not stopping or slowing at a stop sign, lurching across two lanes of traffic to make a turn, weaving in and out of traffic.
- Bicyclists wearing headphones. You are sitting on a mobile footstool around big metal death machines and you want to lose a sense that might clue you in to trouble?
- Drivers running lights. Really stale red lights. As in, the next green light will come in less time than that elapsed since that last one ended.
- Drivers who turn across bike lanes without looking.
- Pedestrians who start to cross a street while the walk sign says don’t and the traffic light is turning yellow. Just why do you expect to survive this stroll?
- Bicyclists who treat multiuse paths as bike freeways even when there are pedestrians.
- Worse, bicyclists who treat pedestrians as kind of gate markers for bicycle slalom as they zoom along a multiuse path. GG has seen the results of this behavior lead to ambulances on said paths. There should never be a need for an ambulance on a multiuse path.
- Pedestrians who blockade multiuser paths walking four or five abreast. What part of “multiuse” escapes you? Special loud shout out to those wearing headphones where they cannot hear bike bells, calls from bicyclists, or air horns to move to the side, please.
- City planners who think a white line at the side of the road will prevent cars from hitting bikes. We’re probably far enough along that a return to the veloways of the past might be a good idea. Veloways, gang, not more multiuse paths.
- Ill-mannered or inconsiderate drivers. Remember you are in charge of a death machine, one that can kill as easily as a submachine gun. Letting a bike go across an intersection or waiting for a pedestrian to finish crossing the crosswalk won’t kill or even slightly threaten you; you being hasty, on the other hand, can injure or kill them.
- Motorcyclists leaning over the center line on blind curves in mountains. Are you really hoping to be decapitated?
- Cyclists who lean over (or cross) the center line when descending on curves in the mountains. Especially on a tandem bike. Yeah, GG’s seen the Tour de France, too, but they close the roads for those guys. Best to assume a truck is coming up the hill in that lane.
- Drivers who pass on blind curves. Hey, you might not care if you die, but the folks coming around the bend might just not have signed up for a suicide mission.
- Flatlanders in the mountains. Can we please set up a mountain driver training school to visit places like Texas so our vacationing friends from the plains aren’t road hazards (or worse) when they come to play in our mountains? Maybe we should have mountain valets at the base of the Rockies (“Do you have your mountain driving certificate? No? Well then, hi, I’m your driver for this trip. Please sit back and enjoy as I take care to make sure we are moving at a reasonable speed while staying in our travel lane as we drive through the mountains. Don’t worry, I know all the best photo stops so you won’t be sitting halfway off the road as you run back to take the perfect selfie.”)
Enough. Have a safe and happy summer. And yes, GG has on occasion screwed up, as we all do, so while striving to be good, allow some latitude for those who haven’t reached your level of good behavior, especially if you notice a remorseful driver. But if you see aggressive and dangerous driving, report it. In Colorado, call *277.