Monday, March 31, 2008

Cycling rant

Warning: VERY angry rant ahead stemming from my experiences as a cyclist/commuter, after nearly being hit this morning on my way to work for the umpteenth time in my life. I have composed this rant, or something like it, in my head many times over the nearly two years I’ve been blogging. (And this is not directed at the average driver, like all of you, but at the fucking ASSHOLE ones.)

You know what, man in the fancy, expensive car who nearly hit me as I made a left turn, having dutifully signalled that turn, when I HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY? Who looked right at me as you pressed the gas very hard, breaking the law to make your turn and causing me to brake suddenly, scared? You are a piece of shit. And I know your kind well. It was one of your brethren who, years ago, opened the door on me and broke my hand as I cycled by. And then acted oh-so-put-upon that I was lying in the street, injured, and he might have to think about someone other than his precious self.

I try not to get righteous about cycling. But I came of age as a cyclist in Home City, where the city estimates that 1000 people every summer die prematurely from smog-related illnesses. This is because your kin – people who feel irrationally angry at cyclists like me, and try to scare them like you did to me this morning – refuse to even think about giving up their cars, even in a city with an extensive public transit network. My being on a bike makes the roads less clogged for you. That’s an issue here, too, where the traffic is a nightmare. You should thank me, you fucker. Everyone who cycles to work like me makes it easier for you to get around. And yet, no, you’re so important that you can’t wait 5 seconds while I turn, and in fact even seem to resent my very existence and need to prove you’re a big man by scaring the shit out of me and even endangering me.

You suck. I hope you and your fancy car move to some big city and you die a premature death from smog-related illnesses.


plam said...

Hear hear!

(another cycle commuter---about 15 minutes---though I haven't had too many bad experiences, either here or in Montreal.)

medieval woman said...

Oh god - I'm so sorry this happened, but it totally made me laugh as well! (Not your fear, but your rant...). A pox on them!

Hope you cycle safely for years to come...

Brigindo said...

As word has gotten out on campus about my colleague who was hit while cycling by a student who was text-messaging, I've been amazed at the number of people who admit to this past-time. Is it me? I don't really understand how someone can imagine they can drive and text at the same time.

He's getting better and was on the news tonight in an attempt to make a change for cyclists.

Hilaire said...

Plam - Glad to hear you're a cyclist. I haven't had TOO many bad experiences, considering how long I've been doing this, but I have had a couple of "door prizes" including the one that broke my hand, and I was once full-on hit by a car (which could have been far more disastrous than it was). Happily, my route here is actually quite quiet - which is what makes it even more surprising when people are so aggressive.

MW - Glad I was good for a laugh. :)

Brigindo - That shocks me, the texting while driving. I'm glad to hear awareness is being raised!

Maude Lebowski said...

what a fuck ass that driver!

i used to commute by bike when i lived in Grad City. it's a little hard here to do that, and i miss it.

a friend of mine got hit by a car last year. internal injuries a plenty. he was in the hospital for weeks. it was scary. he's fully recovered now. but, he got run over because some asshole ran a stop sign and wasn't paying know, hitting a person is going to make you much later for whatever you're rushing to get to than stopping for less than 30 seconds at a stop sign.

be careful out there girl.

plam said...

Yeah. I did have a car attempt to sideswipe me once, in Montreal, but I yelled at him. I commuted last year (that was about 30 minutes each way) and this year. Actually my commute in Montreal was on Sherbrooke, which is not a quiet street, forcing me to be aware of stuff going on. The commute here is on quieter streets, but I have to, annoyingly, cross some main streets. (Maybe I should've lived somewhere else).

Walking is too slow for me, and driving just sucks.

Hilaire said...

Plam - commuting on Sherbrooke would be pretty stressful. There are no bike lanes, are there? (I have to say I find the bike lanes in Montreal unsettling anyway...the way they're between the parked cars and the curb...seems kooky to me.)

My commute is about 37-8 minutes there (to be exact) and about half an hour back. The way there is uphill, obvs. It means that the way back - at the end of the day, when I'm done with my work, and coasting down effortlessly - is really fun. Also there are horses! And a llama. And a donkey!