Today I watched someone behind me, at a light, checking her phone. She had to take off her glasses to do it. I saw someone checking her phone in the same spot a couple of days ago. I had the chance to glance in that car as she passed me (on the right, I was taking a left turn). Her phone was conveniently located over her speedometer. That seemed convenient. Who needs to see your speed in city traffic anyway?
A couple of weeks ago I decided to ride through Belmont. It's always useful to see that people put up with such horrendous traffic to live in what seems otherwise like a nice town. Going slow, I watch a car weave at slow speeds. I passed it on the right cautiously. The guy driving was doing something on the phone. I told him that texting while driving is now illegal. He said he was looking at the map for directions. Later that same ride, in Cambridge, I saw a women driving and texting in her expensive new Audi on her ancient flip phone. Really? Couldn't you get a smart phone and use the voice to text converter rather than a numeric keypad for texting?
That same week, I was waiting for the green at the first light on Somerville Ave. A guy in a Verizon truck thanks me. For what? For stopping at the light. Right, it's the law. He said that he'd try to avoid hitting me, which I guess means that he might hit cyclists who don't stop at red lights.
Three weeks ago I was riding on Webster towards Cambridge St at Prospect. I was riding through the intersection and saw a car that might be gunning for a left turn in front of me. But I closed the gap with a van in front of me and went through protected. The car eventually went through nearly cutting off a cyclist behind me. It turned out that cyclist was someone I talked with on at least a couple of occasions in the past. I couldn't imagine talking with people in other cars when I'm driving but I get to talk with people while I'm riding.
This morning I stopped for a couple waiting at a crosswalk in Cambridge. I yelled "STOPPING" since I couldn't brake and signal with my hand with such short notice. I looked back and apologized for the quick stop to the 4 people behind me. Almost in unison they all said way go, right thing to do. Earlier in the commute a woman riding just behind thanked me for my precise signaling, not that I do anything unique.
Today on my way home I had at least two drivers stop for me instead of making me stop to avoid a right hook. They did the right thing but it didn't stop me from thanking them.
So, there is some good, some bad. That's life on the road, in a car or on a bike. Just go slow and make sure you are following the rules, especially if you have 2 tons of metal surrounding you.
One thought for the Arlington police: do your texting enforcement by bicycle, undercover. You would be amazed what you see from that vantage point.