Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No Nimrods Please

It's rant time.
One of my biggest frustrations while riding in town is when car drivers stop to give me the right-of-way when it's not my legal right-of-way. I think most car drivers do this out of courtesy, in the same way they stop for pedestrians. I also think they do it out of fear; you just never know what these freaks on bicycles are going to do.
In the courtesy case; it's frustrating, and I used to wave them on, which took a lot of standing and waiting and waving. The driver would ususually shake their heads in frustration and speed off. Now I just go; I don't give them any kind of recognition; no waves or sneers or anything.
In the fear case, I can't blame them. You see cyclists do some weird-o stuff. My wife and I were driving on the north side yesterday. We were approaching a guy on a bike. He was a commuter: he had the blinky, the safety vest, helmet, rear bag. We always smile when we see these guys, as they are still a novelty in Spokane. He was doing pretty good on the road. It was a 4 lane road with pretty quick traffic and no shoulders. He was riding in the lane. The light ahead was red and three cars were backed up at the light waiting. The guy hopped up on the sidewalk, overtook the line of cars, and jumped right in front of a right-turning car. Holy crap!
What is up with that? It's nimrods like this that make cycling hard for all of us. This is why people unexpectedly stop on a busy arterial and stop 4 lanes of traffic so I can cross. I hate that. But how can you blame them? Maybe a cyclist just pulled a maneuver like this guy did on them.
If you ride a bike in traffic: follow the traffic laws. Be courteous. Be consistent. Be predictable. Don't be a nimrod. Errg.


David Blaine said...

I went through the same evolution of trying to follow the normal right-of-way at intersection and then deciding to save everyone time by recognizing that no matter how much I waved them through they assumed I would leap out in front of them at the last second.
For my own rant: It is ironic that that the people who are afraid to ride with the flow of traffic the way the law dictates often choose to ride on the sidewalk. The sidewalk route forces these riders to ride across intersection every block putting them in one of the most dangerous places on the road. I would rather have a driver mad at me because I have my slow butt hanging in front of his bumper than not to have a driver see me at all. There is no choice but to be in charge out on the streets. It falls under the "best defense is a good offense" saying. I had a short stint as a an art handler in LA which required me to do terrible things like drive giant trucks on the Santa Monica freeway during morning rush hour. One of my co-workers told me to "assert your truckness". This philosophy of being in charge on the road has served me well on a bike, in a car and even when walking through a crowded mall during Christmas time.

Tarik Saleh said...

Hey, Nimrods are mighty hunters. I blame buggs bunny for corrupting Nimrod to mean idiot. Or at least some conflation with Dipstick and Nimrod.

Otherwise I agree with you. I am waiting for some person who yields right of way to me unecessarily to get hit from behind.

My other pet peeve is people who go way into oncoming traffic to give me wide berth. There are a few places where I ride where the big berth puts them in danger of hitting either a concrete median or a security gate. I am always secretly rooting for them to hit them. I think it is more lazy driving than courtesy as it is often coupled with them either coming back WAY too soon and almost hitting me, or buzzing me from behind and THEN giving me a wide berth. Nimrods.

Ken Paulman said...

Weird - just had it happen to me yesterday for the first time in months. I was trying to cross Post street, there was a Suburban on the other side of the street signaling to turn left, appropriately waiting for me to get across before he turned.

We were both waiting for the cross traffic to clear, and the last car slowly...slowly...slowly crept to a stop in the middle of Post street. I gave him the universal sign for "what the hell" and waved him through, but he just sat there. I finally just gave up and broke the standoff, but I wonder if it did more harm than good.