Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike rage

I did a search for "bicycle road rage" but only seemed to find incidents of car drivers having road rage against cyclists. I am not having an easy time finding people discussing cyclists having road rage! Maybe no one admits to it? Maybe this is because when car drivers road rage against cyclists there are more harmful immediate consequences (like, cyclist death and injury) whereas when a cyclist is overcome by road rage it mostly takes the form of trying to memorize car details and fantasizing about finding them and beating the crap out of them? Not that I would know or anything...

I was biking to work today when every single cop in the city decided they needed to be where I was going. The road I bike on to work is treacherous for bikers at the best of times in this location--you have to cross a lane of freeway-bound traffic to get from one bike lane to another on top of a hill, it totally sucks. At this time however, three lanes of car traffic were smooshed up together on the right side of road to let the police through. No one was moving and I had no bike lanes at all. So I'm weaving through the stopped cars trying to get to a place where everything made more sense and was not absolute chaos when this lady yells out her window "Are you out of your mind?!?!"

I replied. "Maybe. What the fuck do you suggest I do here?" and continued on with my route-finding, while ignoring the (thankfully brief) urge to stop, go back (her car was stopped, she wasn't going anywhere) and give her piece of my mind and possibly break a few laws.

Seriously, I never have these problems behind a steering wheel. I leave that to my little sister who had her license revoked for six months because of an incident of road rage. I might curse at someone who's behaving in a particularly dumbtarded manner, but I never have brief moments of contemplating their death or how I might drag them out of their car by their hair. I'm a very non-violent person normally. What changes when I get on a bike?

One other point--damn do emergency vehicles make things dangerous for bikers! People in their cars hear sirens, panic, and swerve over to the right without even looking! If they don't get dangerously close to hitting me, there's the problem of my lane completely disappearing. It's totally not cool.

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