Friday, March 17, 2006

The Darwin Maneuver

I’ve written about this before, but now I have a name for it.

Maybe once a week, a motorist will pass me, crossing over the centerline while there’s oncoming traffic. Several times this has resulted in the other motorist dodging off the road to avoid a crash. Once, it was a school bus that ran the other car off the road!

We already have the right hook, the left hook, and the side road pull out, also known as oh-my-god-I-never-saw-him-officer. I believe we should add the Darwin Maneuver to the list.

I’d feel bad if this resulted in a crash, but then again, if someone is so hell-bent on passing a cyclist that he puts his life on the line to do it, he really should have the dignity of a name for his folly.

I write about this because it happened again today. I was riding up a hill toward home on a narrow, two-lane road. The first car passed without incident. But the second one blindly followed the first, only to be ‘surprised’ by a vehicle in the on-coming lane. Fortunately, that guy drove off the road, barely missing a fence. The Darwin-esque motorist drove blithely on.

Is it some hormonal thing that causes this behavior? Is it a momentary brain freeze? I really don’t know. But they’d be doing all of us a favor by removing themselves from the gene pool.


Blogger Pete said...

So naming it the Darwin Manuver means you're hopeful it will result in herd thinning? ;-)

7:56 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I really don't want to see anyone get hurt, but then again, I really don't understand the compulsion to pass a cyclist regardless of the traffic conditions. And it does seem like a compulsion. some people simply cannot lift their foot from the accelerator, even for a few seconds.

It's not limited to overtaking cyclists. I saw a motorist last night nearly rear-end the car in front of him at a stop light. The light changed and he accelerated, aparently unaware that a car had stalled in front of him.

It's like there's a psychological imperative to go fast, never slowing, no matter what.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Clarence Jr. said...

Hey, new to the blogging world here. Just started trying to find out about all the great bike blogs out there.

So stumbled upon yours. Geez, I am from NYC, it is sad to think that nearly no matter where you are, that there is danger everywhere. Even in Portland, OR, while I was there nearly got hit a few times.

Well, just passing this along too, I have a cable access/website show called bikeTV. We do lots of stuff all over the place. If you ever get a chance:

The newest is this one on my visit to San Francisco:

Take care, happy riding,

Clarence Eckerson

4:30 PM  
Blogger Bicycle Commuter Mike said...

My brother calls this process "selective reduction." I certainly don't think he coinded the term but it's certainly a good one.

6:17 PM  
Blogger mallfellow said...

This happens to me all the time on my commute home (there's generally little to no traffic on my commute to work). I just know that, if there should be an accident because one car was too impatient to wait till it was safe/clear to pass, they will try to blame the cyclist (well, officer, the cyclist *made* me pass...). I know I've gotten plenty of angry looks and/or fun finger gestures from the oncoming car. However, I've also gotten about the same number of heads shaken in disbelief...

8:29 AM  

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