So I was biking to work the other day, when I had a realization. . . drivers are kind of like little kids who don’t know a whole lot about the world around them. Especially when it comes to other users of the road. There was one instance in particular that I want to share:
So I was biking home the other day, headed North along 15th, when the light ahead of me turned red. Since I was about to make a left onto John, I signaled (I always do) and moved over into the left lane. As I come to a stop, a red SUV pulls up next to me on the right, music emanating from inside, the windows up. Actually. . . not music, more so just bass. . . loud bass. As I am sitting there, I hear the music get a little louder, indicating that the driver has rolled down his window. Normally, when a driver rolls down their window at a redlight, it’s to tell me something and usually it’s to tell me something that isn’t entirely polite or nice. I turned my head to the left, hoping to let the driver know that I didn’t care to talk to him, but then I hear the music being turned down, followed by a loud “hey, are you in a car?”. I let that one sit for a few seconds, hoping that my delay would let him know (at least subconsciously) that he wasn’t going to get me with that. After remaining silent long enough to make him feel silly for asking such a silly question, I turned my head slowly and met his gaze, silently. So he repeated himself, “hey, dude, are you in a car?”. I looked down at my bike, then looked back at him with a confused look, then back at my bike and back at him.
“Then why the FUCK are you on the road?”
Again, I let this one sit, reminding myself that sometime no response is better than a lecture when a kid needs to be taught a lesson. So I stared at him blankly, letting the seconds tick by. Finally,
“Umm. . . because bikes have the same rights as cars?”(or something, I forget exactly what I said because my blood was pumping and my heart was racing. I wanted to reach into the car and yank his keys, a la Yehuda Moon, but my experience with my little nephews (and teaching youth) kept my hand down and my scolding lesson just a thought. . .
As he started to stutter some sort of response that no doubt was trying to be funny, the light turned green and with a “oh, look, green light”, I turned down John, hoping that the driver might have learned that baiting a cyclist doesn’t always grant you the satisfaction of an angry response.
There have been plenty of other instances that have concreted my view, but those will have to wait for another time.