Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tips for driving like a non-crazy person

As many of you know, bicycling is my primary form of transportation. To my amazement, I was once told that some people thought I didn’t drive because maybe I’d been convicted of DWI (not correct, for the record). Around here, like most of America, biking as a form of transportation is as incomprehensible as the notion of reading a book for enjoyment.

For the second time in eight days, I came within less than a yard of being hit on my bicycle by a clueless driver, so it’s unfortunately time for a bit of a rant on the topic.

I’ll say this as clearly as I can.

DRIVERS MUST SHARE THE ROAD

I don’t care if you like it. I don’t care if you resent it. My taxes help pay for that road too so deal with it.

Being impatient and self-absorbed are qualities we easily slap on teenagers, but the truth is that adults in today’s society are just as guilty of this. In fact, their careless self-absorption is often more harmful because they have more means to inflict harm, however inadvertently.

Some argue that senior citizens should be subjected to regular re-testing to maintain their driver’s licenses. I’m starting to believe that all drivers should be subjected to this. I’ve been nearly hit many times over the years and while sometimes it’s been a younger driver and sometimes an older driver at fault, most often it’s been middle aged people. And contrary to popular belief, males tend to be worse drivers than females. Sorry guys, it’s true. If you don’t believe me, ask an actuary.

So here are a few tips I have for how not to be a complete twit while driving...

-Realize that you do not have the right of way while turning over a biker who’s going straight. You may, with every bone in your body, want to run him over so you can get to the next stop sign two seconds faster, but you really shouldn’t. The Big Mac you're so eager to scarf down will still be there.

-You are legally obligated to use your turn signal every time you turn, even when (you think) there is no one behind you. I will signal to help you out; you can do the same.

-Just as turn signals on your car are not merely decorative, neither are mirrors. You can look at them for reasons other than just fixing your hair. I'm told some drivers actually check mirrors to see if anybody's behind them.

-Even in supermarket/big box store parking lots, stop signs are not suggestions.

-If there is a car stopped and waiting to turn left and you want to go right into the shoulder to go around him, actually look before you do so.

-If you are yacking on your cell phone or texting while driving, I hope you get a ticket every single time. Truth is, you’re not nearly as good doing those two things at once as you think.

Until drivers start doing these things and actually respecting the rules of the road, I think I should start carrying a paintball gun while I’m biking.

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