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Ceci n'est pas une vélo

Archive for the 'wrong' Category

Thumbs Up

Posted by @teeheehee on 24th October 2009

Honestly today’s blog post is more to get me to write something because I know I have been lazy. Nothing particularly new happened, this is one of those oft-told stories of harrowing experience, conversation with a motorist, and acclaim from a nearby witness.

For starters, it was a rainy morning. Often this means I wear extra-vibrant clothes to make myself more easily visible to the armored ones I share the road with, but today I sufficed with a light-reflective courier bag and one reflective ankle-cuff. These, combined with my lights, make me relatively conspicuous.

Except if you drive a blue Honda minivan. But, we’ll get back to that after some more build-up….

This morning I went on an errand to the local RCN building (in Arlington) to drop off a couple of cable converters. It was a light rain, and the temperature wasn’t horrible, so I was mostly enjoying the ride except for the occasional red light when I would stop and my glasses would fog up. Note to self: start wearing contact lenses again until the warmer months return.

I was all done with this chore and beginning to switch to the next one (gathering my costume apparel) when I headed back towards Cambridge and Boston via Mass. Ave. For those not familiar with the area of Mass. Ave. in Arlington and Medford: it’s quite wide, but typically problematic with cracks and wrinkles all over. No problems here, though, vehicles were quite respectful this morning.

After I passed the turn towards Alewife the road feature I call the bike share “line” appeared. Cambridge has done some funky things with Mass. Ave., it seems they couldn’t quite figure out what to do to help cyclists – there’s sections with bike lanes, sharrows, and a line with intermittent bike stencils, depending on what area you’re in. The line is my least favorite, even though the area with the sharrows is practically impossible to ride within as it has quite poor road conditions.

Bike lane

Bike lane



Bike stencil

Bike stencil

So, it was a short time after passing the turn-off towards Alewife that I was buzzed by her. Blue Honda minivan. One occupant: driver. I quickly read the license plate and committed it to short-term memory, but before long I had quite forgotten it. (Well, it was short term memory. *shrug*)

Then the usual Mass. Ave. thing happened: I caught up within the next light or two, and passed her. This is not unusual, I stop at all the red lights but being a bike with some marked space on the road I stop right up at the light. Other areas where it’s too sketchy to do this safely I’ll hang back behind the last car in line I come up to and take the lane until the light goes “green”. But, good ol’ Mass. Ave. lets me creep up to the front almost every time.

When I caught up to her I leered over and kind of gave her “the look” as I passed her, then proceeded to wait dutifully at the light. Light went green, traffic went into motion, all the vehicles passed me with at least two feet distance (not the legal amount, but whatever,) until blue minivan comes zooming past within a few inches. Again.

Well, it was still Mass. Ave. and there were plenty of lights ahead. I caught up to her just before Harvard Square at the bus stop. I stopped, waved, and she rolled down her automatic window.

“Hi,” I said. “I just wanted to let you know that you passed me, twice, with very little space between us. Just inches.”

Now, most conversations I’ve had with drivers in similar circumstances would usually cause me to prepare for the usual response in the next moment: my life being threatened. But, it was not so! I may have found one of the nicest, albeit somewhat daft, motorist of the day! “I’d really appreciate if you’d give a little more room.” She nodded and her eyes told a whole story of unexpected shock. She said not a word.

Maybe she didn’t know that what she was doing was endangering me. She had had a couple of feet of space between her left side and the normal lane lines, but hugged the right anyways despite my presence there.

At that moment the light we were at turned green and I cut the one-sided conversation short. I said my piece, she seemed to take it in. I looked to the right at the bus stop and see a dude in bright yellow, bike balanced in one hand, giving the thumbs-up with the other, and he gave a smiling nod which I gladly returned.

Thumbs up

Thumbs up

Posted in bike friendly, rant, safety, traffic, wrong | No Comments »

Ask Not What Boston Can Do For You

Posted by @teeheehee on 7th August 2009

An article today on Boston.com, Boston’s unruly riders, challenges red light runners, sidewalk riders, and wrong-way infringers. Here’s the summary:

Boston has launched a high-profile campaign to become a friendlier city for cyclists. Now the question is whether bicyclists will become friendlier to Boston.

There is the usual “discussion” page which seems surprisingly tame in the initial posts (I’m only up to page 2.) Anyone recognize themself in the video? Also, I had thought Nicole made it well known she didn’t like being called a ‘czar’. Why does everyone still call her that, then?

Posted in bike friendly, news media, safety, wrong | 2 Comments »

Weekend Roundup 20090322: Bike Accessories

Posted by @teeheehee on 22nd March 2009

As usual when I’m behind on posts I have a build-up of links to interesting things. Here are some bike accessories….
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in bike friendly, safety, wrong | No Comments »

Toronto cyclist loses his leg to road rage

Posted by @teeheehee on 23rd November 2008

This is a very sad story [CityNews].
Via TreeHugger.

Road rage is an epidemic. It is pervasive and spreading.

Car culture (in it’s broadest sense, anyone who drives regularly) was innocent enough at first; it was meant to grow the economy. Society’s focus has changed and hardened, though, due to myriad reasons. This change permutes into all aspects of society. The end result is that car culture today doesn’t resemble that of yester-year’s. It’s more aggressive, hostile, and irresponsible.

(Let’s not kid ourselves, the same can be said of bicycle culture.)

Stories like this highlight the fact that people have gotten too used to getting their way and have forgotten the civil practice of brokering a compromise. People in their anger will use their cars in a fight. Cars are two-ton weapons. Human beings, being fragile in comparison, will lose in a fight with them every time.

This story’s a little old, I couldn’t find any updates to see what became of the cyclist, or the driver.

Posted in rant, sad, wrong, wtf | No Comments »

Almost got clipped today

Posted by @teeheehee on 31st July 2008

I woke up wicked early this morning and decided with all this spare time I’d take a joy-ride down the Charles on the Storrow Drive path. I’m just about all the way back when I hit the Cambridge Street hill where the merge with I-90 traffic is.

I loathe this merge-point. Cars and trucks coming off of I-90 are used to going 75-80 MPH and they don’t want to slow down for Allston city speed limits. This morning was particularly nasty because I’m not used to riding at this time and it’s rush hour. Well, rather than try and cut over to the right in front of a line of cars (usually it’s just one or two and I wait for a gap, which doesn’t take very long) I had to stick to the middle lane.

I don’t know if the truck came from the highway or elsewhere, but after the crest he passed me with only inches to the mirror.

This is the first time in a while I’ve been in a dangerous spot like this. He had an open lane to his left, there was no more traffic a little ahead and to my right but I didn’t want to be in that lane because it’s turn-only. I was where I needed to be, not overly into the lane but left of the line by about a foot.

Well, I can’t just let that go, can I? I mean, he’s driving dangerously – I’m out here busting ass and he zooms by in an unsafe manner. At the light at the Hess I caught up and called into the truck:

“Hey, you came pretty close to me back there, guys.” There were three burly men, goatees all among them, stacked with muscles like construction workers. Seasoned construction workers. Makes sense, the truck looked like a work truck, though I didn’t catch the label on the side.

“Get off the road!” This was the driver

I replied: “I’m where I should be, thank-you-very-much!”

“Get off the road!” Still the driver. The other two say nothing.

“I’m where I need to be!”

“Get off the road!” I realize I’m not going to win his mind or heart in an argument, he’s limiting himself to simple, impulsive barking.

Whatever. I move on and take a right onto North Harvard. So does he. Masshole zooms me again shouting “Get off the road” one last time.

But I got his license plate.

Well, I have his license plate, what the hell do I do with it now? I’d like to track down the company he works for and file a complaint with them – I’m not a fan of slogging a case through the courts.

Any suggestions?

Posted in rant, safety, wrong | No Comments »

NYC Critical Mass cyclist tackled by police

Posted by @teeheehee on 28th July 2008

Whatever your sentiments on Critical Mass are, this is just despicable.

Update: here is a little bit more information via BoingBoing. The cyclist was arrested and charged with attempted assault and resisting arrest. Wtf?!

Update 20080729

The police officer has been stripped of his badge and gun. He was just out of the Police Academy, third generation officer, and did not seem to file an accurate report of the event based on the video that was anonymously posted.

Posted in personal view, rant, safety, wrong, wtf | 1 Comment »