A few random musings – not necessarily something like sprite’s “Three Beautiful Things,” but simply a few random bits of reflection.
En route to my “Coffee” control in the 2013 ErrandonnÃ©e, I had a less-than-excellent interaction with another motorist. He had been boxed out of his lane on Massachusetts Avenue NW, impeded by a taxi that had decided to idle along the curb.
The motorist – a construction worker driving a white van with Maryland tags – tried to pull out in front of me im my lane, not signaling his lane change, simply barging into my lane. I let out a little toot of my horn to let him know that, without a signal, I had no idea of his intent, and wanted him to know that any additional movement of his van would result in a collision.
The horn set this guy off. He rolled down his window and started to unleash a series of F-bombs my way. I tried to wave him off with a small smile, but he was full of steam. I then rolled down my window, and mentioned that a turn signal would have diffused this entire situation.
The result? More F-bombs.
He unleashed a total of 19 – I counted – and I once again, without unleashing a single expletive, mentioned that the turn signal was a courteous thing to do when changing lanes (as well as the legal thing to do). He got out of his van and stood in the path of my car – not a huge deal, as the traffic was heavy and the signals were slow to change, but still not a reassuring position. I asked him to let it go, as we both had places to be.
Then he let forth words that I remember verbatim: “I’m going to fucking murder all you cyclists.”
Charming. And scary. I tweeted out a preemptive apology to other cyclists (my bike was on the roof of the car, as I was headed to Bowie to meet a friend for my “Coffee” ride). Simply having my bike with me (atop the car) made me “the enemy,” which is frightening. This man’s vocabulary was very limited, and I understand that he was not in a great mood (nor was I after my interaction with him). But his reaction shows me that cyclists are still personae non grata to quite a few people on the road.
A cyclist crashed into me on the way home the other night. It was dark, and I had my full complement of lights, rode legally in my lane, signaling all turns and stops, stopping at intersections, engaging positively with other road users (mostly drivers).
The other guy was riding on and off the sidewalk, earbuds planted firmly in his ears, darting around cars by switching lanes, and running all stop signs, all without any lights or reflectors on his vintage 1970-something road bike. The rider was in his mid to late 20s, by my estimate. We had made brief eye contact a few minutes earlier, at 32nd Street and R Streets NW.
As I turned left onto Q Street NW from 28th Street, having stopped at the intersection, waiting for other cars to take their turns. As I rounded the turn, this other cyclist passed to my left, blowing through the stop sign, and clipping my rear wheel. He ran headlong into a parked car.
I stopped to see that he was OK. He’d been bruised, and was angry at me for not noticing him. I proceded to tell him that he was in the wrong in many ways (running stop signs, wearing earbuds, riding in the wrong lane, no lights at night), and the he really should be more careful if he wants to live to see his 30th birthday (OK, I wasn’t that harsh, but I did get him a stern reprimand for being a dumb ass).
Note I haven’t mentioned the fact that, landing head first, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. It took him a minute or two to get his bearings.
The plus: a pedestrian commended me for riding by the letter of the law. I mentioned that it works well in building cyclist relations in a part of town where folks treasure their precious, expensive cars.
OK, this has been a downer, thus far, so let’s look at a positive.
sprite decided to test all of the “fairy lights” (i.e. Christmas lights) we had in The Burrow, and she found that a very long strand that we had written off were, in fact, quite intact. I strung them up around the perimeter of our living room, and the glow is a nice, warm, pink blanket over the room. Hooray!
Sure, there were other things that went on this week, but these were the most notable, and the ones that I felt like writing about.