The uncomfortable piece of Charleston is thankfully short. There is no bike lane. The lane on the far right quickly becomes right turn only. The lane in the middle and the lane to the left are for people going straight. I take the lane in the middle as I am going straight but I admit to feeling a little exposed. A few days back two cars got into an altercation behind me, screaming at each other and banging on their horns and I worried that one might accidentally run me over in his zeal to get at the other. It's like being chased by a an angry tantruming toddler who happens to be carrying a working chain-saw.
So I am in this middle lane approaching a red light with a car in front of me when a second car decided that they do not in fact want to take a right. So without notice, and without room, they wedge their car diagonally into the middle lane. I manage to stop in time and the car behind me does not go over me so I'm thankful for small mercies.
We wait like this until the light turns green. The car that had pulled in front of me straightens out and I see that they have a Handicapped tag hanging from their rear view mirror. Belatedly it occurs to the person (who I will call Handicapped) that they should have signalled some time earlier today so they turn on a left turn light. I pedal along behind.
The car signals left but moves right, gradually shifting over until they are driving up the bicycle lane. They get so close to the edge that their tire rubs along the curb and smokes. I give Handicapped plenty of room. Ultimately they make a right hand turn on to a different road. Satisfied that they are done signaling turns for the time being, they turn their left signal off.
"No shit you're handicapped" I thought as I pedaled away. "Your brain is handicapped." That's when I had this fantastic idea! If you get N points on your driving record, you get a stamp on your license and a tag to hang from your mirror that says "STUPID." This will warn everyone that you don't know how to drive.
Also, if your plates say "STUPID" you will get a special parking place allocated just for you! Too bad it's in the next town over from the store you want to visit but hey, who wants a STUPID driver in their neighborhood, right? Speaking of neighborhoods, who wants a STUPID driver heading up the residential street where there are families and children? No one. So STUPID drivers will have to park in special lots several miles away from where we live.
If you get enough points on your license you become STUPIDX10 and the police send a notification out to everyone in your community so they know to stay away from you. Yes, as if you were a sex offender.
Say you don't care. You just keep STUPIDing right along and one day you kill someone. It was an accident, right? You didn't mean to, you're just, well, STUPID. What would I do then? Well I'd fine you way the fuck more than $42 for starters. And for finishers, that would be it for you and cars. No more tag, no more car, nada. THEN how would you get around?
Not a road bike, that's for sure.
A tricycle. Yes, we'd fine you and garnish you wages and we'd bust you back to tricycle. Eventually, if your victim's family felt that you had paid your debt to society, if you were very contrite, we might allow you onto one of those Beach Cruiser bicycles.