Saturday, April 13, 2013

here's the tiniest violin in the world

Sent to a group of road bicyclists of which I am one.  I'll wait while you pull yourself together after that fit of hysterical laughter.

"Pretty, pretty, pretty please, don't ride three abreast (as best I could count) south down [redacted-road] in the morning. I just got threatened by another driver because I wouldn't hit you. Seriously."

The reply I thought about writing but did not send because although it came right to the point it didn't seem to add much to the conversation:

"Counting to three is a stretch goal for you?  Really?"

The (entirely ignored) reply that I actually did send:

Hey everyone, I'm sure [redacted-person] sent a second also polite email to the Road Car list asking them to "pretty, pretty, pretty please not resort to threatening and road rage when they are slowed down.  Seriously."

What happened next?  The predictable squabbling among the bicyclists.  Here are the camps they fall into, you may have seen this argument play out in your own home town flame wars if you do any semi-urban or urban cycling:

1.  Bicyclists should share the road and follow all rules, damnit! 
2.  Cars should not threaten to kill bicyclists, the fuck?!? 

What did I do next?  I really did wonder if Ms Pretty Please had sent an email to the car people asking them not to threaten her when her way was slowed by thoughtless inconsiderate bicyclists who rode together, possibly talking to each other.  Answer:  No, she did not.  Of course she didn't.  Who asks the cars for anything?  The cars are like the weather.  Immutable and unchanging.  You don't ask the cars to slow down for the same reasons you don't ask the wind to stop blowing or the granite to be a little bit softer.

....but I owe Ms Pretty a giant thank-you because lurking the car-people list has provided me with hours of entertainment.  I had no idea!

Stuff Chafed Guessed Cars Talk About Among Themselves Without Actually Knowing:

1.  What are nice tires for my car?  I am going to guess this one because on the bicycle list we obsess endlessly about which tires are fast but not likely to go flat.  We have a long painful discussion about our bicycle tires about once a week or whenever anyone gets a flat tire, which ever comes first.
2.  They talk about who has the nicest car.  The bicyclists love to gossip about their bicycles.  It just makes sense that the car people like to talk about who spent the most amount of money on their car.
3.  Where to go to get their car repaired when it breaks down.  Bicyclists talk bike shop and making their own repairs, car people probably talk car garages and making their own repairs.

Personally I think these are all very good guesses.

Stuff Bicyclists Talk About Incessantly that you will notice is not on the above List of Stuff Chafed Thinks Cars Discuss:

1.  Is it ever ok to ride two or even three abreast?
2.  How wrong of us it it to slow down but not un-clip at a 4-way stop?
3.  How can we avoid being run over by a Hummer?  What about an Odyssey?
4.  If there is a bicycle lane but we are afraid of the parked cars dooring us, can we ride outside the bicycle lane?

And now.  What do the car people actually talk about???

1.  Be careful, there are "tons of cops" along $road.  They must be trying to increase revenue again at our expense.
2.  Don't you hate the way pedestrians will sometimes have not finished crossing the street when the light turns green?  I think it's illegal of them, has anyone checked?
3.  Since everyone speeds, it is totally unfair that I was the one who got pulled over.

Do I have a point with any of this other than pointless whining?  Not really I guess.  I accept the reality which is that the cars have taken over most of the road and that most of the laws are in their favor, at least in this country.  I accept (but do not like) that in a collision the bicycle will always get the short end of the stick.  What I object to is how the cars are just there, doing their car thing, threatening someone who slows down and that the answer to the car asshattery is to tell the bicyclists to be more careful and less annoying, and that the bicyclists totally accept this answer without question.  And finally what I am surprised about is that from their place as kings of the road, lords of all they survey the cars can make so much time to complain about having to wait for pedestrians (wtf, pedestrians???) in crosswalks.  

Final tangential point.  It's a known fact that I get mad and make insulting and personal remarks at drivers who scare me.  So do cars ever get mad and act out?  I did some very easy research and it turns out the answer is yes

My personal favourite:  "I went for all 4 tires and so should you.  That was the best dollar I ever spent."

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