Friday, May 15, 2015

Commuting stories

I've been thinking of compiling these stories, of life on two wheels commuting in traffic, for a few weeks now.  Maybe this will be short or maybe I'll add to it over time.  If I add more stories, I'll add them in here or in other posts.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment