Thursday, February 19, 2009

Credit Where Credit's Due

Most of the cycling blogger community will tell you that every motorist in Boston is an incompetent clown who is going to accidentally kill you while talking on a cell phone, and if he somehow notices you before impact he'll probably decided to hit you anyway, because he hates cyclists.

Most of the driving community will tell you that cyclists are road-hogging, lawbreaking, inconsiderate douchebags that hold up traffic just long enough to get stuck at a light, which they then blow, so they can hold up the same line of traffic on the next straightaway while riding down the center of the lane, and if you ever pointed this fact out to them they'd key your car and block you anyway, because they hate drivers.

The reality of the situation, of course, is that most people aren't total dicks, and non-dickery is still normal enough in our day-to-day lives that you don't notice people just being "normal." It's not the 100 cars you pass without incident on your commute, it's the soccer mom who almost right hooked you that you remember. God I hate drivers.

Anyway -- the point of this is that I almost bought it yesterday, and the only reason I didn't is because someone in a car was being impressively attentive.

I was coming home, crossing through Inman Square, it's dark and it's snowing and the light just went yellow, but there's traffic all sorts of backed up because of left-turners so I put a little sprint in to get into the intersection before it went red. I'm overtaking a whole bunch of cars (bad idea #1) when a minivan breaks out of the left-turner crowd to go straight, which kind of crimps the line I was heading for. Fueled by snow-based adrenaline I head for the smallish gap between the minivan and the curb (bad idea #2) and since I'm still overtaking it I exit the intersection drawing even with its rear bumber (bad idea #3).

The minivan sees the open parking space in front of Punjabi Dhaba and realizes that Indian food beats the hell out of rush hour driving and heads for it while braking pretty hard. At this moment, I realize that I am completely f'ed.

I've already formulated a "plan" -- hit the car, ride it into the spot, attempt to jump the curb -- when the minivan miraculously sees my tiny Knog light through the darkness and snow in its passenger side mirror and stops hard. I swing through the parking spot he was heading for, push my heart back down my throat, and ride on home.

So I know it's fashionable to act like everyone in a car is a moron, but I disagree strongly. In fact, it's the fact that most cars around these parts are aware of cyclists that makes those that aren't so dangerous.

10 comments:

rosey 2/19/2009 12:34 PM  

punjabi dhaba is totally worth killing a cyclist for.

i was riding home in the blizzard last night and was quite impressed with the amount of attention drivers gave me on comm ave and beacon st. perhaps it is my super high beam front light that helped. those knoggs are nice supplements but not sufficient on their own at this time of year.

of course, i did almost get t-boned by BC on Tuesday night. She even made eye contact with me before deciding to pull out across my path. unbelievable sometimes.

obie119 2/19/2009 1:11 PM  

I hope you have more than a knog - especially in the snow!

I got screamed at by a runner this morning. What's up with that?

Kris Dobie 2/19/2009 2:29 PM  

i've got to start riding to work - i could use a little more excitement in my life!

Big Bikes 2/19/2009 4:05 PM  

What it comes down to is this:
PEOPLE are idiots. Whether they drive a car or ride bike they will manifest the same idiotic qualities.

If I have a choice between riding the bike path on a hot Saturday in July and facing the cars on Mass Ave., I'll choose the latter every time.

Glad you have Jedi/Ninja reflexes, too, that would have been no way to end your season.

-t

Anonymous 2/20/2009 1:38 AM  

the KNOG frog wont cut it in the snow - but you need to try their skink - or gator light! brighter than a sunday @ church!

gewilli 2/23/2009 1:22 PM  

in the snow and shit on friday night the hipster cyst did just fine at lighting up a big spot of reflective snow, the headlight just freaking blinded me...

glad to hear you lived through the tale...

i agree with thom, gimme a crowded busy street with cars over a crowded multi-use "Bike" path any day. At least cars are somewhat predictable, even if they are predictably dangerous or idiotic at times.

CITIZEN RACE PHAN 2/23/2009 7:26 PM  

I CRAVE STOWE DERBY COMMENTARY!!!

Anonymous 2/23/2009 10:52 PM  

AH JOINZ THAT SENTIMENT!

Colin R 2/23/2009 11:02 PM  

Hey internet! Chill! It's coming!

The video woulda been up tonight, except vimeo has a four hour backlog on video conversions right now. See if it's done here, or wait until the morning when I can post it.

trackrich 2/24/2009 12:53 PM  

And that driver thinks you are a moron... :)

Those of us who know you are a moron but appreciate you for it are glad you lived through it anyways... :)

I can't decide if I'm frightened or excited for the ride-to-work season to start again for me. Overnight frozen runoff in the suburbs has still been way too plentiful for me to try it yet.

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