Tuesday, August 19, 2008


In California and especially in LA, there is a large focus on “being green.” You know, the movement regarding every person doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint to help ease the cause of global warming. It’s a good thing. There are hand-washing soap and dish washing detergent that don’t toxify our waters. You see more and more hybrid vehicles on the streets than ever. I’ve even seen a few fuel cell vehicles, those are the ones that run on hydrogen fuel cells and emit water! A Shell gas station nearby has started construction on additional pumps for hydrogen fuel cells! We are making progress. Though the most obvious difference is on the street. With the price of gas forcing people choose gasoline over their $4.50 Chocolate Ice-Blendeds, others are choosing to use bicycles as a source of transportation for shot trips. Yay!

Yay? So now there are more bicycles on the road. It would be cool if… Well for one thing motorcycles and scooters are fine. We are used to them, and most importantly, they always act like vehicles because you need driver’s licenses to drive them. Any thirteen year-old can go buy a bike. The problem is that cyclists don’t always act like vehicles. People want to take up a lane of traffic, which makes perfect sense when you are on the street. But then they also want to roll through stop signs without even slowing down as if it was their backyard with absolutely no regard for a car that may be turning right at said sign! When you want them to act like a bicycle they go and wait in the left turn lane like a vehicle and keep you from turning as the light goes red. The nerve! It makes me want to hit them. Not with my car, but with my fist!

Los Angeles is not like New York City, San Francisco and especially Portland, Oregon, where a relatively high percentage of vehicles on their streets every day are bicycles. LA is much more like an urban experience in a suburban setting, so we’re used to having our blood pressure raised by idiots in cars, not on bicycles. And it is beginning to get to us. Some cyclists are racing through red lights at rush hour! Some pedestrians have even been hit by cyclists themselves, to then only to have these cyclists use their attached horns and beep at them. Not surprisingly, there has been a rise in hostility towards cyclists this summer. Some doctor in Brentwood was charged with assault because he intentionally braked in front of two cyclists, causing one to crash into his rear window and the other to be knocked to the pavement. Dang, who ever said that Brentwood wasn’t The Hood just didn’t know. Another cyclist pulled up next to a car at a red light only to have the back window roll down, revealing a child no older than seven look into his eyes and give him the finger!

Yes, these events are strange and would be called isolated, except that the rate of “isolated incidents” has risen sharply since this spring. What can we do? Well the only idea I have so far is this hint for cyclists: Either ride on the sidewalk like a child and have all the fun you want, or ride in the street and act like a fucking vehicle! Crikey! Cyclists will probably say that we should all “share the road” the way cars do with motorcycles and scooters. That is true, but also misleading. Cars and motor driven cycles all respect the rules of the road first and foremost, the rules that govern our choices which gives off the appearance that we “share the road with each other.” We have to, we all took tests just to have the right to drive in the first place. As soon as cyclists begin to respect those rules first and foremost then they will be sharing the road with us. And that benefits them because when it comes down to it, if there’s some sort of accident between a vehicle and a bicycle, who do you think is going to win…?

© 2008 MD TOTAL all rights reserved.


Gwen said...

It goes both ways -- a cyclist kicked my car (hard enough that I was worried he dented it) as I was waiting to turn onto Wilshire and he sped past on the sidewalk. I caught up to him and tried to confront him (a dumb idea, I know) and he went completely apeshit, threatening to hurt me and calling me some really offensive names. A few blocks later I passed him again, and saw him punch a dent into the hood of a Jaguar driven by a old grandfathery-looking guy in Beverly Hills. Neither me nor the Jaguar driver were doing anything other than waiting at an intersection. It was really unsettling, and made me feel much less friendly towards cyclists.

My personal theory, by the way, is that this particular man must have been bicycling because his driver's license had been revoked for reckless driving/road rage/DUI.

Sabrina said...

I COMPLETELY AGREE. I love this post. ALSO, WALK YOUR BIKE ACROSS THE CROSSWALK. There, I said it and it needed to be said. If you are using the crosswalk on your bike, you best be walking it across or you are going to have a very angry Sabrina shouting our her window "Walk your bike across the cross walk." They make laws for a reason. If you are in the road, follow the rules of the road, on the side walk, you follow those rules. Don't just bike across it, drivers aren't expecting you to be there and can't judge the timing.

Wow, apparently I have a lot of anger about bikers in crosswalks.

And honestly, I ride my bike all weekend long everywhere. And what do I do. Follow the rules.