Tuesday, November 26, 2013

People driving cars hating people riding bikes

On my (driving) commute home today I witnessed two related incidents that illustrate some of the feelings that people who drive cars have about people who ride bicycles.  I am purposely avoiding "drivers" and "cyclists" since both are people, right?

The first one: I was driving down Shepard Street, which is one way in the direction I was traveling, from Mass Ave to Garden Street in Cambridge.  It was long after sunset.  There was a tight squeeze with a car (the one in front of me) before Avon Street and it was tighter in part because there was a person (often called a ninja in this circumstance) on a bicycle riding the wrong way.  He was unlit and had no apparent reflectors and was wearing all very dark clothing, which is why I might refer to him as a ninja, as some people commonly do.  There were words exchanged as the person riding the bike passed the car.  I heard something like "shove it" from this person riding the bike without lights.  If someone was at fault, it was certainly the person on the bike but no damage was caused to the car and both could have safely passed without pause if the person driving the car would have chosen to do so.  I was annoyed at the person riding the bike, if only because his actions seem to cause many people driving cars to be annoyed at all people riding bikes, assuming, incorrectly, that none of us follow rules.

The second one: the same car is involved, of course.  This occurred on Garden Street before the Huron Avenue intersection, still in Cambridge and less than 1/2 mile from the first incident.  The person driving that car saw a person riding a bicycle in his* rear view mirror.  The person riding the bike had decent lights (and reflectors) so she was obvious to him if he was paying any attention to his surroundings.  Once he saw the person riding the bike, he moved to the right, eventually keeping her from passing the stopped cars, starting with his own, on the right, with less than a foot between his car and the curb, leaving a lot of room on his left.  This happened over a couple of blocks and I was still right behind the car in question so I could have shouted to the person in the car, if his window was open.  I talked briefly with the person riding the bike, who had no appetite for confrontation, which is about where I would be in a similar situation.  She did say that she heard "get out of my way" far too many times when she was riding in bike lanes in Cambridge.  I haven't heard that myself but I can believe it, even before seeing the way the person driving the car was behaving.  I turned off in the next couple of blocks so I didn't see what happened after this but I suspect the person on the bike had a very slow commute home today.

So, there is this person driving a car out there being purposefully mean to a person on a bike because he saw someone misbehaving while riding a bike (and worthy of a ticket, which he would have earned if any police happened to be there).  The second person riding the bike, who was behaving in a way that couldn't be considered unlawful by any stretch of imagination was the victim of minor road rage.  Perhaps hate is too strong a word.  Perhaps minor road rage is too strong.  But it certainly wasn't nice and was intentional.  Should I have reported this?

* I believe it was a man driving the car, based on what I could see in the driver's side and review mirrors, but I can't be sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment