dotter_can (dotter_can) wrote,

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Bicycle Drivers

So last Tuesday I was walking along the street to the grocery store to get some salad veggies. I was minding my own business, not really thinking of anything, when I got near a parking lot entrance. Before I crossed it, I looked over my shoulder to make sure no cars were about to turn into it. There were no cars, but this dork on a bicycle was driving down the sidewalk towards me. (Keep in mind, this was two days ago, the middle of winter. Because of a warm snap the sidewalk was clear, but so were the roads. If you didn't know, it's the law in Ontario that bicycles are road vehicles, they should not be driven on the sidewalk.) So I ducked out of his way and watched him pass.

And the dork took offense to that. "What're you lookin' at!" he screamed. "You don't look at me! What're you movin' away from me for!" He had this muck-eating grin on his face as he wheeled his bicycle around in the parking lot entrance and came back at me. "What do you think you're lookin' at! You think you can look at me?" He lifted his bicycle's front wheel at me, as if he was going to use his vehicle as a weapon, then parked it against the fence between the lot and the building next to it. I crossed the lot entrance while he was yelling, but I stopped at the far side. I didn't want to give hm an excuse to get back on his bicycle and drive me down! He, of course, came and stood in the middle of the lot entrance; luckily, there was no traffic wanting to use it at that moment. "You do not look at me when I'm ridin'!" he screamed, pointing at me like a truant school boy. "You don't ever do that! You understand?"

I reminded the dork that he was driving his bicycle in the middle of winter. I reminded him that he'd been on the sidewalk, right behind me. I told him, (since it didn't seem to have occurred to him), that this was dangerous.

"You got a lot of nerve for someone..." and here he paused to assess me for the first time, "...with glasses on!" he continued, momentarily. "When you hit someone with glasses, it really hurts! Especially with these!" he added, shaking a fist at me.

I didn't reply to that. He was moving back towards his vehicle and I could tell that he'd decided he'd gone far enough. I didn't want to escalate the confrontation further either, angry though I was. He got back on his bicycle and drove away through the parking lot. I watched him to be sure he didn't decide to come back and escalate things himself, especially from behind me. (Bicycles are nearly silent, especially compared to city traffic. Had I continued on and he decided to come back and "teach me a lesson," I wouldn't have heard him until he was upon me. Unfortunately I don't have eyes like a chameleon, I can't look over my shoulder and where I'm going at the same time.) He glanced back at me as he drove away, noticing that I was watching him. "And you're still lookin' at me!" he yelled. He had a few more choice words for me, but they were lost under the noise of traffic.

Beyond the parking lot was a street, on the far side of which was the entrance to another parking lot, this one for the supermarket where I was going. I lost track of him as he drove through that. When I reached the store, however, I found his vehicle parked just inside the door. I recognized it by the seat; there was no cover on it, just bare springs. I took a moment to examine it further. It was late in the afternoon and getting dark out, yet this dork was driving a bicycle with neither a front white headlight nor even a front white reflector, no red rear reflector and no reflective side tape. It did not have a front basket or a rear holder to hold his groceries; I don't know how he got them home on it, but I doubt that it was legally. It didn't have a horn, bell or buzzer. It didn't even have fenders over the wheels to keep it from splashing him on wet roads, just a chain to lock it with. It was in rather sad shape generally, but I'd watched him make it go fast enough that if he'd hit me, I'd have been badly injured. Everything I'd seen of this guy and his vehicle were things Traffic Officer Yakachuck had warned me against in kindergarten! I didn't see the dork inside the store and the vehicle was gone as I left, thank goodness.

So this is what I have to expect of bicycle drivers; mouthy, arrogant, self-important, violent offenders who don't give a rat's bum about the law or anybody's safety, including their own, yet feel entitled to respect because they drive a bicycle instead of a car. And you wonder why I'm always looking over my shoulder as I walk along the sidewalk?

And you wonder why I have no respect for bicycle drivers? I see them down on the road where they belong so seldom that I notice it. Bicycle drivers don't even think of it as driving. They say they ride their bicycles, as if bicycles were horses with brains that had some sense and some say in what they did. Perhaps that's part of the problem with bicycles; a badly diminished sense of responsibility.

Back in September 2012, a 38 year old Toronto woman, an experienced bicycle driver, was killed when a truck ran over her. They'd both been about to turn from a side street onto a main street... at the same time, in the same direction! The woman was right beside the truck, turned at the same time it did and was brushed by the side of the truck. It pushed her down and she fell under its rear wheels. According to the local bicycle lobby, the solution to keep this from happening again is to force truck owners to install side guards on their vehicles. If a bicycle driver does something stupid, these guards would prevent them from being killed. Nobody seems to have offered a more obvious solution; bicycle drivers, (and smaller cars), should keep clear of a truck's blind spots and wait their turn behind, not try to get ahead of the truck as it turns. Had this woman waited for the truck to turn, she would not have been in harm's way in the first place.

Oh, but that would make bicycle drivers responsible for their own actions! We can't have that! Bicycle drivers think that because they ride goody-dommy bicycles, not baddy-daddy cars which are polution, they have the right to do anything they want and all the bad people who don't ride the bicycle have to look out for them! I take it back; irresponsibility isn't part of the problem with bicycles, it's the whole problem. Up yours, dork! I'll be looking over my shoulder for you and your kind... and dodging out of the way when I see you... because I know you won't be looking out for me.
Tags: bicycle pedestrian confrontation illegal
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