Monday, May 2, 2011

pet peeve #712 ROAD WORK signage

Every day my bike ride to home takes me across a highway overpass.  There is a bike lane and I am really grateful about that, really grateful.  A narrow slip of a thing but a bike lane and mostly travels are fine.  Lately though the bike lane is blocked by a giant orange "ROAD WORK" sign.

What the fuck is it with the ROAD WORK signs always going across the bike lane?  I'm struggling up this incline and the cars are accelerating towards their on-ramp to the 101 and suddenly I have to get out of my lane and into their lane.  Today the ROAD WORK sign was at the very top of the climb and I had this powerful desire to tip the entire tippy affair over the edge and down onto the cars crawling along below.

Not that I'd actually do such a thing.  I don't care so much about injuring the cars, I mean they're pretty much begging for it with their four wheels and aluminum siding.  Motorcyclists are an entirely different story.  I'm watching for those motorcyclists every second of the day and wouldn't want to risk hurting a single lane-splitting hair on a Ducati rider's head.

After whining about motorcyclists in my last post I got into the car to go to a soccer tournament in Pacifica.  The car was entirely laden.  Contraption Captain was driving, I rode shotgun, Sparkle Pony, Rapunzel and Friend of the Family were in the backseat.  Five of us.  As we rolled along the 280 there were two separate occasions of giant signs arching across the highway with the digital (temporary) message of "SHARE THE ROAD.  WATCH FOR MOTORCYCLISTS."

This is a fail from a few different perspectives.

Fail 1.  As a bicyclist, I can say with absolute confidence that those "Share the Road" signs are about as effective at getting cars to share the road as Cheesecake Factory desserts are a help to those trying to slim down.  If I were a motorcyclist (which I am not because those things are ugly and stinky) I'd be thinking "Yeah, like some sign's gonna make a difference.  Where's MY lane anyways.  Fucking bicyclists."

Fail 2.  We should watch for everyone on the roads.  Do I need to say this?  Killing people with your vehicle is just a junky crappy thing to do.   A "Watch For Motorcycles" sign?  How about watching for cars with little kids in them?  How about watching for sleepy people because they're super dangerous drivers?  How about watching for dads and moms on their way home from work with excited little kids waiting to see them?   If we start prioritizing who lives and who dies on the roadways of America, well,  I just don't see by what criteria motorcyclists should come out on the top of the heap.

Anyways.  Back to the overpass where there is a big orange sign blocking my teeny tiny part of the road and absolutely no one is watching for me because they're too busy checking around for motorcyclists.

If I make it past the giant road sign I head down a steep hill at the bottom of which is a traffic light (usually green) at which I need to hang a sharp right.   At least two times a week the following scenario plays out.

1.  I bike up one side of the overpass.
2.  I signal and then try and go around the giant orange ROAD WORK sign.  Some car in a hurry doesn't give an inch and I scream a little as they whip around me but I don't die (yet)
3.  I head down the other side of the overpass.
4.  The car that already killed me wants to make a right but they get to thinking.  "Wasn't there some thing up there?  That got in my way a little bit?  Could it be a bicyclist?  Is that bicyclist about to hurtle down on my right and get all over my door when I try and turn?
5.  I signal as I hurtle down hill, showing that I want to turn right myself.
6.  The car looks around vaguely.  Something about a something something somewhere.
7.  Now I stop signalling so that I can brake so I don't spin wide on the turn and plaster myself on a windshield.
8.  The car remains at the bottom of the hill, signalling right, looking around vaguely.
9.  I get to the green light and turn right and continue on.
10.  The car breathes a sigh of relief and turns right also and then passes me too close and cuts me off at the next intersection.


SHARE THE ROAD   (With a developmentally challenged  mildly autistic chunk of steel.)

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