Forget making motorists feel guilty for sucking up all of the oxygen, out and out killing forty-thousand a year, melting the ice caps and adding billions national debt, just let loose and rant them into dumping thier cars. Well at least motorists might soon consider buying more candy bars (at a time) to save gas.
Get Off My Back, Motorists!
Writer: MICHAEL BROWNE, POINT BREEZE
Iíve heard the complaints against cyclists -- theyíre rude, they donít obey traffic laws, they scare me, they slow me down when theyíre climbing hills in groups.
But to be honest, Iím a cyclist, and I donít care what an automobile driver has to say. Hereís why:
The built environment has no consideration for my needs. A perfect example -- you know those pressure-sensitive pads that activate stoplights? I, as a cyclist, donít weigh enough to activate them. So if I want to obey the rules like Iím supposed to, I have to wait for a 2,000-pound mobile object to slide up within three feet of me. Ever wonder why I donít move over to let you pass? Our fair city of Pittsburgh doesnít have lanes, although theyíve been promised for many years, and then slashed from the budget at the last moment. Our streets arenít wide enough for me to avoid obstacles and chance getting knocked off the road by you, the inconsiderate, impatient driver.
And in case you havenít been paying attention, automobiles are nice self-contained units that keep their passengers oblivious to the stink of catalytic converters and the noxious poison thatís released through a tailpipe. And you wondered why I go to the front of a line of cars at a stoplight.
Ever wonder why I blow through stop signs? Because most people in cars already roll through at about the same speed Iím traveling. I can stop on a dime, unlike your metal monstrosity, so I feel comfortable maintaining my speed. And I have more visibility, unlike a driver with safety beams and a carefully crafted windshield. I donít stop because unlike cars, my bike doesnít move forward by pressing my foot an inch downward. Every ounce of momentum I have, Iíve gained through my muscles or the use of gravity. Are you pissed because you have to wait a few seconds to pass me? Well guess what: Itís barely an inconvenience to you, but whenever I slow down to let you pass, I have to work twice as hard to get going again.
But I donít want to complain about the physical constraints of riding a bike -- thatís one thing I love about it. While you are getting fat and frustrated, I am staying lean and fast. The better to kick your ass, should you challenge me like that semi-truck driver did on Penn Avenue between Fifth and Penn Circle.
Ever wonder why I donít smile at you, even though you might be attractive? Because the convenience of car travel that you take for granted is exactly whatís killing this society. And for that, I resent you. One person driving isnít killing the world, but an environment that continually encourages personal combustion-engine travel is the reason weíre facing problems in the world today: obesity, terrorism, energy shortages, lack of national health care. (Itís expensive to pay for triple bypass surgery -- healthy people are cheap!)
So thatís why I do the things I do. Some day, when gas is more expensive than a bottle of fine wine, youíll see me out on the streets. And for once, Iíll smile at you. I might even help you figure out how to fix a flat tire. Until then, stop honking at me to get out of the way.