Monday, May 23, 2005

Stoopid Driver Tricks…

We’ve all had them: the right hook, the left hook, and the oh-my-god-I-swear-I-never-saw-him-officer as they pull out in front of us. Lately there’s been another one that’s getting me a little concerned. It’s the suicidal pass-the-bicyclist into on-coming traffic. Honestly, this is getting to be far too common.

It happened again this morning. A pickup came up behind me, and rather than slow down he decided to pass, despite the line of traffic in the on-coming lane. A woman in a car actually had to stop to let the fool complete the maneuver. To make it worse, he went down the road another hundred yards and pulled into a parking lot. In order to ‘save’ a few seconds, he endangered himself, another motorist, and me. Sometimes I hate stupid drivers.

I tried to yell “Asshole!” as he went by. But my voice barely rose above a whisper. I’m still not over last week’s cold, so the yelling wasn’t audible or effective.

The other suicidal move that seems to be on the increase too, it the follow-the-leader maneuver. The first car passes a cyclist, then every car behind him passes too, regardless of whether they can see what’s ahead. I’ve seen this one performed into on-coming traffic, over the crest of a hill, and around blind corners.

I’m almost certain that if a collision occurs, one of the motorists will try to blame the cyclist. “He was a swervin’ all over the road! I was just trying to avoid him!” Yeah, right.

On Friday, as I rode along our brand-new four lane arterial, a woman came up next to me in the passing lane and laid on the horn. I hoped the light up ahead would change, but it stayed green. She sailed through then made a left into a bank drive-thru lane. I caught up to her.

“Ma’am, please don’t do honk at cyclists. It’s rude.”

“I didn’t honk at you!”

“Yes, you did, just west of the railroad tracks.”

“Well, if I did it was an accident.”

“I don’t believe that, ma’am. Just don’t do it.”

“Well! You’re entitled to YOUR opinion!”

What is it about driving a car that turns normal, intelligent people turn into morons? I used to think that a driver’s intelligence was inversely related to the square of the available horsepower, but riding around professional drivers changed my mind. I’m talking about gravel trucks – the heaviest thing on the road here in Oklahoma. Those drivers know where the corners and sides of the trucks are. They know how much space they need to brake or accelerate. Over ten years of near-daily commuting, I’ve had just three incidents with the big trucks. For the most part, their drivers are competent and safety minded. It’s the amateurs out there who worry me.


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