Yes, I realize that so many OT residents aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, that you likely practically live in your vehicle, and are probably set in your ways, but even if this rant only penetrates one or two thick skulls, it will still be worthwhile. First, for those who are really too clueless to know it, every study that's ever been done has consistently shown that sidewalks are 5 times more dangerous for cyclists than roads. Anyone who has never had a scare while trying to back their boat into their driveway must not have any kids in the neighborhood.
I don't discriminate. I have hostility towards grandmas who drive 20mph in 45 zones, too.
BTW, time is my most valuable asset because frankly, there isn't enough of it.
This quote from that other thread does the best job of summing up drivers' attitudes. You drive your three-times-bigger-than-you-need SUV from your too-big house three times further from work than you need to live, so time is of the essence, and gives you license to text, shave, brush your teeth, read the newspaper, put on deodorant, put on makeup, and all the other things that drivers do on the road.
I live in Crowley and work in the middle of Fort Worth. Most days, I ride my bike to work. Now before you brand me a commie fag, consider this. It is oil that sponsors terrorists. So the more gas you guzzle, the more terrorists you sponsor. So, I'm not a commie, I'm actually more patriotic than you, riding my bike to work like I do. And I'm a veteran (US Army, 1971 - 1973). Oh, and I'm definitely only attracted to women in that way.
It's a challenge riding to work. Those who drive Crowley Road a lot have probably seen me. I ride the shoulder at dark thirty in the morning, and between 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon going home. You'll probably remember my bike. It's distinctive, a recumbent with a fairing on the front. Once I'm in the old part of Fort Worth, I stay on the side streets. It's easy there; the side streets all go through.
But, getting from Crowley Road to old Fort Worth on a bicycle is easier said than done. None of the neighborhod roads south of Alta Mesa go through to anywhere. Why were all the newer neighborhoods built that way? Because traffic engineers knew that if they made through streets, some of you idiot drivers would insist on driving 80 mph through the residential area, so all the roads go nowhere, forcing anyone who actually wants to go somewhere onto the higher speed, higher traffic roads.
In my case, it's six tenths of a mile of Sycamore School Road that I ride between Crowley Road and the neighborhood roads that go through. It's three lanes each direction, and at 5:30 in the morning westbound, it's not a problem. There's hardly any traffic on the road, and the few on the road don't want the right lane. The ride home, however, is a problem. Lots of drivers want to turn into the appartments on the south side of the road. They're too busy doing all the things that drivers do to see me ahead of time, change to the middle lane, and pass me. They honk their horns, and flip me off if they do decide to pass, all because I delayed their drive home 5 or 10 seconds.
And I ride in the middle of that right lane. It's not wide enough for both a bike and vehicle, and if I move to the far right, they try to pass me without changing lanes, and get dangerously close. It's no big deal to them if they clip me with their mirror, just a nick on the mirror and some blood on their tires if I get knocked under the vehicle. At least when I'm in the center of the lane, they usually change lanes to pass, even if they don't like it.
In the neighborhood south of Sycamore School Road, where I'd rather ride, the streets that would let me get through dead end, just one city block apart. A bike path connecting them would make for a much better bike commute into and out of Fort Worth. I emailed the director of the Fort Worth Bike Plan about that. She didn't bother replying. I'm sure she's just another driver. She'll build some bike paths that go nowhere, and add a few bike lanes to streets. Drivers use those bike lanes for parking, and for passing other drivers who are trying to turn left.
Now tell me this. Why can only 10 percent or so of drivers negotiate a curve without running out of their lane? On the Crowley Road shoulder, the safest part of my ride, every time the road curves to the right, vehicles join me on the shoulder of the road. So, I have to keep a constant eye on my mirror, and move even further to the right, into the thickest gravel and debris, when they run off onto the shoulder. The next time you drive on any road with curves, watch the driver in front of you. There's a 90 percent chance he's onto the shoulder on every curve. Why can't you idiot drivers even hold a lane?
I'm a strong cyclist. I'm usually not creeping along like you drivers think I am. I'm more likely doing near 20 mph, so when you pass me, then suddenly turn right, I'm probably going to have to lay on my brakes hard to keep from t-boning you. No big deal though, it would likely just be a sizeable dent in your door.
I was at a party where everyone was talking about a 7 year old girl who was hit while riding her bike. She rode right out in front of a neighbor's car. Everyone was badmouthing the girl and her mother and empathizing with the driver. It was a family gathering; I didn't want to start an argument. I just shook my head and remained silent. Guess what, folks! Kids run out in front of cars, whether on a bike or not. If you can't keep from hitting them, no matter what the circumstances, then you're driving too fast! Period! And everyone does it. Even soccer moms, SUV full of kids, drive like a racer on their own residential streets. Are you just out to see how many people and animals you can run over?
Anyone remember this crash (don't ever call them accidents; horrible drivers having horrific crashes are not accidents) a few years ago in Dallas, where the 14 year old kid was sitting still on his bike, one foot on the ground, next to the curb, talking to a friend standing on the other side of the curb? As a driver went past, the kid fell over on his bike, and the driver ran over his head. The police issued no citation, the driver wasn't considered at fault. But, if she had used just the tiniest bit of common sense, slowed down, and moved over a bit, that kid would be a vibrant 20 year old today, rather than dead, rotting in the ground. But the driver would have had to sacrifice 5 seconds or so on her drive home, too much to ask.
And if the driver of the charcoal metallic Ford pickup on Meadowview Drive in Crowley who harrasses me all the time is reading, I say this: I take that small street to avoid the higher traffic, higher speed streets, yet I still get idiot drivers like you giving me grief. If you ever stop and get out of that truck, even though I'm an old f*rt with a bad back and missing half a lung, I'll still kick your fat, lazy arse!
I also do long distance randonneuring rides on the weekends. I try to ride only the lower traffic rural randonneuring routes. But, just like the small roads in town, a lot of the small roads in the country don't go anywhere, so I end up on higher speed roads for short stretches. I'd appreciate it if you'd slow down a bit and pass me at a safe distance. I'll be riding hard to get back on the smaller roads just as soon as I can.
I'll ride somewhere around 7,500 miles on a bicycle this year. Even with my fishing trips, I'll put quite a bit less than that on my truck this year. I challenge all of you to do the same. This would be a much better place if you did. Don't give me any excuses why you can't. I've heard them all, and they're all BS. I'm betting that all of you doing the ranting have two lungs. That puts you a step ahead of me. And if you insist on living 50 miles from your job, then drive 40 miles and ride the last 10. You'll see the world from a whole different perspective.
Yeah, I know. You're just going to keep on speeding down the road. In a few days, you'll interrupt our fishing posts to start a thread about your crash (again, don't call them accidents). I'll probably skip that thread. And condemn me if you must, but I hope it's another idiot driver that you hit, and not a cyclist.
Have a great day, all.