Friday, May 18, 2007

Put this in your Prius and smoke it

Today, or yesterday, if you live on the Left Coast, which is constantly ahead of the rest of the country, to hear L.A. Daddy tell it, is Bike-to-Work-Day. It's a day of political grandstanding, smug self-righteousness, and declarations that by next year, we'll all be pedaling to work, to home, to the park, to the moon! But for me, I always hope that there will be enough bikers and enough of a reduction in traffic that drivers will see that, rather than being a nuisance, every biker is one less car in their way, and then maybe they would stop trying to kill us all.

Brother #2 asked if I would make an ironic statement by driving to work on BTWDay. No, I don't want to drown out the ironic statements that come so naturally to all the knucklehead politicians who participate in BTWDay:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, in a black track suit, survived the ruts on Valencia Street on his loaner mountain bike and made it to City Hall, where he was joined by a half-dozen supervisors on bikes.

"You should see the potholes in this town,'' the mayor said.

from SFGate

Er . . . you've never seen the potholes in the town that you're the mayor of? Where, exactly do you live? In San Francisco? On the Yellow Brick Road? And you get to work how? Clicking your heels together? (And you've got to love Steve Rubenstein for his writing. In lesser hands, that quote would have been dropped into the article like a cactus in a fish tank, rather than having its barb deftly set by Rubenstein's nimble fingers.)

And of course, the home of all those single-passenger commuter cars, L.A., got in on the action with bikes from a sweet lowrider to a beautiful--freakin' beautiful--de Bernardi fixte with cards in the wheel (WTF?!) for a ride through a tunnel to city hall. Of course there's video of their ride--this is L.A., where nothing is real unless it's on film. Or video. Or DVD. Or . . . oh hell, you get the point. Despite having to ride through L.A., I will say that the L.A. riders do score bonus points for ending up at Philippe's, home of the (still!) 10-cent cuppa joe.

Then, as always, there's news about cars and drivers--two deadly items that, much like matches and gasoline, become more deadly in combination with one another, and that, as a result, should never come into contact with one another:

Let's face it: We are rude, self-important, cellphone-yapping, road-raging, stressed-out monsters behind the wheel.

Motorists across the United States recently confessed their sins to pollsters, who listed the Washington region as having the fifth-rudest drivers in the United States.

from WaPo
Those pollsters could have saved a pile of cash and achieved the same results by just trying to ride a bike around those cities. I'm sure they could have devised a formula based on the number of times
  • a motorist cursed at them
  • they cursed at a motorist
  • a motorist hurled polysyllabic curses at them
  • they had to hold their water bottle in their teeth to flip both birds at a motorist
  • a motorist hurled an object at them
  • they picked up said object, chased down the motorist, and deposited it into the motorist's car through the sunroof
  • a motorist tried to kill them
  • they reported a license plate number to the police while still riding
So, when you see a bike commuter, or a herd of them, tomorrow, put down the phone, the coffee, the cruller, the lipstick, and the sippy cup that you're handing into the backseat, and try to drive in a straight line for a few seconds. And maybe you could try it the day after that, and the day after that, and . . . and perhaps you'll sleep a little easier knowing that the life you saved today might have been mine.

Let's all be careful out there--and not just for one day, OK?

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  1. Oh, now I can comment. Did you know there is no real reason to upgrade to the fine JBL 6 CD player on the Prius, because if you get the first stereo upgrade it lets you plug in your iPod which lasts lots longer than 6 CDs? Who needs 9 speakers in a car that small?

  2. Anonymous4:51 PM

    I have a fun little trick when I ride my motorcycle. Whenever I see anybody toss a cigarette out of their car window, I ride up next to them, pull out the cigarette butt I have stashed on my bike, and hold it out. I say, "I think you dropped this..."

    They usually snarl at me and drive away. I laugh like there's no tomorrow... or the green house gases have wiped us off the map. Whichever comes first.

  3. I always wanted a front hub mounted dart gun to shoot darts in the tires of the BMWs (why was it always a BMW)that cut me off. I have had that desire in several locales, and the make of car never varied. Let me know if you find one at your local bike shop, I never did. They might work on police cars too, but I never said that.

  4. L.A. Daddy: That works better from a motorcycle, I think, although I've heard that it's a frequently used strategy in Europe.

    CA Girl: You're not the only one to comment on Beemer drivers. I've had several friends back here make the same observation independently. Any Beemer drivers care to represent the other side of the discussion?