Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hold on to your Igloo.

Pedal Omaha. I do it, I do it quite a bit -- rain, shine, ice, fire, light, dark, puppies, kitties. This register (for me) will be a way to share events that happen when I interact on two wheels with the streets of our community. The good, the bad, and the ugly on these streets will hopefully evoke emotion in others as it does for me.

I find this blog would be a great way to share with everyone else the crap and the cake that happens in between heavy breaths and spinning cadences. Events such as this:

Yesterday (January, 7th) on my way to UNO, I was headed down Farnam approaching Saddle Creek. A block before the intersection a large truck pulls out and cuts me off. It's 5:15, I have lights on, I just may be invisible. Whatever.

I get up to the intersection at Saddle Creek and Farnam and stop. The guy in the truck is behind me. I could tell while going by him he wanted to merge into the left lane: He was glancing back over his shoulder while holding on to his lunch box as I slid by next to the curb. He had no opportunity to get over.

Suddenly the keeper of the lunch box revs his engine and quickly accelerates by me, his diesel engine resonating the air around me, (the Saddle Creek traffic has green arrows at the time) and takes a sharp left pulling into the now beginning to move traffic on Saddle Creek (stopping it), and then backs up into the turn lane on Farnam so he can turn once the arrow turns green. WFT (See illustration if this sounds as stupid as you think it does -- you are correct).

I don't recall if my jaw dropped or not, but I just sat and watched this. And I continued to stare until said idiot looked at me. I smirked and shook my head as I looked away. He then powered his window down and began to yell, "jibberish jibberish... or can't you afford gas?" He quickly rolled up his window as I screamed back, "What was that buddy?" as he gassed his F-250 Turbo Diesel and putted away with his yellow belly exposed. I was fumed, but life goes on, traffic moves on, and I continued to pedal.

Somehow his stupid ego-driven driving was my fault, I am sure. I mean come on, he pays taxes!

I invite others to share. It's fun to hear this stuff.


erik said...

cold weather communication failure.

i admit i was flustered by my lobster mitt this morning. i vainly tried to return a certain fingered gesture someone decided to offer me out a window parted for cigarette consumption.

what did i do wrong? take the lane at a red light such that they couldn't get by to turn right (40th & california).

it gets much worse of course, but i try to forget everything short of being hit or run off the road.

munsoned said...

Yesterday, as I was turning onto Leavenworth from Saddlecreek, there was a guy waiting to turn onto Leavenworth also. So we were both turning into the Eastbound lanes, of which there are 2. I'm turn right from my direction so I have the right of way, correct? This guy apparently didn't think so. He was turning left and wanted to beat some other traffic I guess because he turned into my lane instead of the left hand lane like he should have. Granted, he was a really old guy and probably had no idea I was there. He also was driving at about the same speed as me, so it's not like it was malicious, but still, his ignorance could have caused a collision if I hadn't slowed and pulled over.

Oh well, he'll die soon cause he's old. (ok, now I'm going to hell)

munsoned said...

Ok, re-reading that, my description made no sense. I was going from North bound Saddle creek on to Eastbound leavenworth, taking a right. Driver was going Southbound Saddlecreek, taking a left(across traffic) onto Eastbound Leavenworth. Make anymore sense? Probably not.

Biker Bob said...

That last sentence in your first post made perfect sense. ;-)

One of my favorite events was when I was biking past the interstate off ramp and somebody got on their loudspeaker (yes a car mounted loudspeaker) and told me in colorful language to "get on the sidewalk". Which was entertaining as there was no sidewalk on that section of Center street.

A "your not the sharpest tack in the box" head shake was all I could manage.

In general, I try not to respond poorly to the rude drivers I encounter. My hope is that this will generate more goodwill with the other 99% of drivers that witness the event and only see one jerk involved in the situation instead of two. However, emotions have gotten the better of me once or twice.

EB said...

Good stuff everyone,Lucas funny as usual-

Munson thanks for your words and knowledge

Bob I appreciate the post, I agree with all my heart its not easy when you feel alone out there.Thanks for bringing your influence and level-head-ness (mos def not a word)here and to the drivers of omaha.

Scott Redd said...

Honestly, I don't encounter too many dummies on my daily 10 mile RT commutes. In the rare occasions that I have, I tend to ignore them. I've vowed never to curse or flip them off, preferring to take a higher road. Though I can't blame you if you do.

I try to forget them, like Erik said, and focus on the positive experiences instead.

There are times when I will wave (with all fingers and open hand and wild armed as if to say, "Hello? Don't you see me here?" I assume that a percentage of those drivers are, like Munson said, distracted, blind, senile, or just not very observant and really don't see me.

The worst rude driver experience I had was during a wet and cold late fall morning. I was cruising downhill on Leavenworth approaching 16th Street. There was a car parked in the virtual bike lane, so I signaled that I was moving over. I moved over, and the car behind me came very close while passing. I did my wave thing, and the car stopped suddenly right in front of me, forcing me to stop behind him.

"Here we go," I thought, looking for an escape route if the driver of the IN TRANSIT labeled car got out for a little ultraviolence.

I just sat there. I really didn't think he was up to getting out in the cold and rain. I was already wet, and not a bit cold.

I waited. Biking to work has taught me almost infinite patience. Eventually he drove off, and I gave him my wave again.

On the flip side of this, in this same stretch of road, I've had countless cars let me merge in all the way to the left lane for a turn after signaling. I always then throw back a friendly wave with my right hand after getting into the lane.

I don't want to put too much into this, but in a way I feel that when a driver encounters a cyclist, he sees every cyclist he's ever encountered. If I piss him off too badly, he'll take it out on the next cyclist he encounters. And likewise with the friendly gestures. They may be returned in kind upon the next cyclist.

Biker Bob said...

Well said.