It was Friday evening rush hour. I was driving home from a full day at work, and was just as glad as everyone else on the road to get a jump on the weekend.
Friday evenings have some weird effect on drivers. Here’s what I saw just a few blocks from my house:
I turned onto a residential street, and noticed a Saturn sedan on my tail. I recognized it by sight; it lives two blocks from me. The high school aged girl driving it was obviously impatient with my speed on the street — I was going 30 in a 30 mph zone. She tailgated me closely. At a fork in the road, I went right. She went left. I knew our two roads would converge again in moments. When they did, at a 4-way stop, I was on the right, so had the right of way at the stop sign. She came up on the left, and tried to jump out ahead of me. I wouldn’t let her, and took my rightful turn. I’m sure she’ll make a note of my car in her s__t list, after I held her up from getting home by … oh, I dunno … maybe five seconds.
A half hour later, I was making a run for take-out food. At a stoplight, I was in the right lane, a big black Tahoe or something on my left. I guess the driver was trying to signal me at the light, but because we were side-by-side, I didn’t see her wave at me, or see her turn signal.The Tahoe must have needed to make a right turn real bad, because when the light changed, the driver jumped ahead, shot me a dirty look, signaled her turn, and nearly cut me off. I eased up and let her go. Then, just as she reached the street where she was going to turn, she had second thoughts. She signaled left, swerved into the left lane, then shot across to a left turn lane at the next corner, and did a U-turn.
Both these incidents happened in less time than it takes to read about them. I just shrugged my shoulders and mentioned to my wife when I got home that drivers were a bit loony tonight. That was it.
Now suppose those two drivers were on bikes instead of behind the wheels of cars?
When bikes jump in front of cars at stop signs, motorists get pissed. When cyclists drive erratically, motorists write to the newspaper, or call the local talk show blowhard, and bitch about those rotten bikers and how they all oughta get off their bikes and drive cars the way God intended.
Now suppose every time a biker experiences bad driving by a motorist, he or she writes the same newspaper or calls the same talk show?
Nah. Their letters wouldn’t be published, and the call screener wouldn’t let ’em on the air.