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Old 09-08-05, 07:56 AM   #1
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driver hails biker -- is communication possible?

An anecdote that illustrates for me a gap between cars and bikes.

To get onto the bike path that I take on my commute, you have to climb up a steep narrow ramp with two 90 degree right turns. Running parallel to this ramp is a driveway into a parking lot. Last week as I was hammering to get up the ramp, a very very large lady in a stopped car hailed to me from her open passenger window, "Excuse me!" When I didn't stop, she called out even more insistently, "EXCUSE ME!" I tried to yell back, "Hey, I'm riding up a steep hill, I can't stop now," but by then I was past her and I don't believe she heard me. When I reached the summit, I stopped to see if I could help her. Maybe she was lost, I don't know. She started talking to me across her car through the passenger window, but I couldn't hear her. I wasn't gonna ride back down, and it was obvious that she sure wasn't gonna get out of her car to talk to me. I was only 25 feet away, yet we were not communicating at all. After about 10 seconds, I realized the futility and got back on my bike and pedaled to work.

No big conflict, but as I continued my ride I contemplated how this situation seemed to be emblematic of a divergence between cars and bikes.
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Old 09-08-05, 09:07 AM   #2
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I'm a mailman. When I'm out on my route, people frequently ask for directions. Some of them pull over to the curb near the sidewalk while I'm right there, so I cautiously talk to them. Others yell "Excuse me" from their cars while I'm across a yard. I keep following my path and ignore them. I've had them get out of their cars to yell at me for not stopping doing my job and walking over to them in their air conditioned cars. They also get upset because I don't know my way around the entire city of San Jose, Ca.
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Old 09-08-05, 09:09 AM   #3
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I woulda stopped and helped her.

I've had cars pull up next to me while riding and the passengers ask for directions. No problems since it was on good riding roads.
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Old 09-08-05, 08:42 PM   #4
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I think there are times when you can stop and others when you can. When I am on my way to work I generally don't stop and do a long chat. I will stop a little longer on my way home. For instance I saw a driver start to drive in reverse coming my direction! I honked my horn... and then he stopped. I road right by him on the right and then pointed to my cell phone. I could hear that he wasn't able to restart his car. He rolled down his window and we talked. I asked him if he had a cell phone, needed help, lived in the area. He said he did have a cell and lived in the area. He thanked me and showed his gas can he needed to fill. He actually got it started and moved along. I don't mind helping motorists occasionally since It helpes them see a cyclist being helpful. I think people think your just riding for recreation. They forget tha t many of us ride to work or other obligations that require us to get to at a certain time. I remember when I was training for my first marathon. I was almost done with 20 miles. Some lady drives besides me and wants directions (I don't even live in the area). I just shake my head and keep running. I made it to the end of my 20 mile run...spent like four hours or so running it! Pretty crazy how people just assume you will drop everything and help them out!

Keep Cycling!
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Old 09-09-05, 12:35 PM   #5
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I stop. I give directions, I offer help. Yeah it inconveniences me, but I figure it is the good neighbor thing to do.

But I have also been honked at, by other motorists, while giving directions or aid to motorists... and that just ticks me off, it tells me that the honking motorist has no patience for their fellow man (woman) and is just thinking of themselves. Those are the folks that really make me wonder.
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Old 09-09-05, 01:33 PM   #6
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I stopped to give directions once while I was riding a steep hill.

I was pretty ******** from the effort and I don't know where I sent her.
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