Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I was almost home from work tonight on Wilson Road, which is the last road before my apartment complex, when I noticed a truck behind me.  I watched him in my mirror as usual to make sure he moved into the other lane (there are 2 in each direction) and got a little concerned when he didn't since there were no other vehicles on the road besides the two of us.  Two or 3 minutes went by as he approached me and I started to worry and watch him more closely.  Wouldn't he have moved over by know if he had seen me?  Then, finally, a good 2 or 3 truck-lengths behind me, i.e. still plenty of time to move into the other lane and pass me, he starts honking his horn.  "Ah, good," I thought to myself, "he sees me."  The honking, now accompanied by tail-gating since he had caught up with me, continued off and on for the next 2-3 minutes until I reached my turn-off.  Following my usual routine, I gave the "slowing/stopping" hand signal and then the "right turn" hand signal.  This apparently angered his inner child even more than it already was, because he laid on the horn and didn't stop this time.  I continued with my turn and rode into my apartment complex, noting with amusement that the honking didn't stop until a good 10-15 seconds later.  I'm sure the other drivers who hadn't seen me (since he was far past my street by then) were wondering what the heck was wrong with this guy.

This idiot wanted to cause a scene, which he did plenty of, and scare me, which he fortunately did not.  I used to motion toward the other lane in this type of situation, but now I don't even bother with that.  My thinking is that if you're too stupid to figure out how to change lanes, you deserve to wait behind me.  I also realized that, contrary to popular belief, honking from aggressive drivers is not bad at all; it's actually good, because it means they see me.  After that, if any of them did have the audacity to hit me, I'd have a pretty clear case for assault instead of a simple failure to maintain assured clear distance ahead.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I spent Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco, and two things left a lasting impression on my memory.  The first was the number of safe, convenient alternatives to driving.  The biggest difference between San Francisco and Columbus was the state of the sidewalks.  Not only were there sidewalks on every street I used in San Francisco and Berkeley, but they were in good condition, didn't have utility poles in the middle of them, didn't have plants growing out of them, and were extremely wide.  San Francisco also has several different methods of public transit and the metro area has several different bus companies to take you anywhere you need to go in the Bay Area or beyond.  Of course, I also noticed the sheer numbers of bike lanes, the people who rode for transportation rather than athletic training, and the safe way in which bikes and cars shared the road, which leads me to my second point.

The other big thing I noticed on this trip was the respect that all road users showed toward one another.  As a pedestrian, not once did I have to walk around a car that had carelessly stopped in the crosswalk.  I saw no one stop at a stop sign past the painted line on the ground.  Never did I feel as though I had to yield my right-of-way at a stop sign/crosswalk combo to a cyclist for my own safety.  Not once did I see a car cut off a bike; if there wasn't room to pass, the motorist simply waited until there was, a concept that seems to be very difficult for Central Ohioans to grasp.  I only wish I'd had a bike with me while I was there.  I will definitely be going back.