October 11th, 2009

In response to this post in Boston Biker.

“there’s nothing we can do about drivers not paying attention.”

from the follow-up article

People often ask me why I’m so hard on drivers, and why I am so ruthless on the road – quick to find fault, quick to use my schoolyard bellow and let people know what an ass they’re being. Frankly, this is why. We have no other power. I have been hit by an Audi, called the cops and had them tell me ‘sorry, but there’s nothing we can do’. I’ve been hit by a bus and told, ‘this driver has worked for the MBTA for over 19 years, we are confident that she is a competent driver’. I have had a woman reach out her passenger side window and grab me by my helmet and SLAP me, AND I STILL DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT SHE WAS SO UPSET ABOUT. I wasn’t hurt in any of these instances, so apparently they are not offenses that matter to police or the general public. I ride safely, I wear my helmet and I obey the law insofar as I try to never inconvenience another person on the road, but I know that if I am hit, harassed, assaulted or verbally abused, I have no way to bring justice to the people that have abused me with their aggression, negligence and outright ignorance. I can do nothing at all to call attention to abusive, aggressive or negligent drivers unless I am injured, but alive. Even if I AM alive to tell the tale, there is no guarantee I will be able to catch the plate number of the vehicle if they speed off (as the Audi did, after the operator screamed, “I should run you off the road!”). We are riding naked, and there is no one on our side. This is why I have no mercy for the people that take the privilege of driving for granted – I have no other choice. Out there on the road, no other voice is speaking up for us.

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3 Responses to “Naked.”

  1. 100psi Says:

    sometimes i feel like an elastic band being pulled to the point of snapping. is this the road that leads me to critical mass, or bicycle vigilantism? when guilty motorists are not arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, when the police do nothing to enforce the law, when bike lanes are little more than an unsafe and too narrow painted line on the street, why bother with following “the rules of the road?” the first and only rule is my (and other cyclists) safety. fuck your car.

  2. yourstruly Says:

    “why bother with following “the rules of the road?”” – because these rules do affect other cyclists. I’m about done with nearly colliding with cyclists that run red lights or do other unpredictable things, all the while pissing off drivers/pedestrians with these things so that the frustration can be taken out on me. I bother, because I want to be seen as a cyclist who respects others sharing the same road, even if they don’t yet respect me. Also, in the event that I’m involved in an accident, I can always say: “I was doing everything by the books.”

    I hear you on the near-snappage. Be careful out there.

    Grimlocke: A few months ago I was involved in a car accident caused by a pedestrian/cyclist, and surprisingly was dealt the same card: “there’s nothing we can do.” The best advice I got from local law enforcement was: “Well, you could sue.” I had thought it was a lack of care for cyclists, but maybe our tax dollars are just going toward laziness?

  3. grimlocke Says:

    I’m with you 100% – it’s experiences like yours that we need to scrutinize, and bring to the attention of the local lawmakers as many times as it takes until changes are made that protect those of us that are following the rules. Have you put in writing exactly what happened to you and how it was handled by the police? I’d like to amass people’s experiences and see if we can make a difference through force of numbers. Like that new law – it’s illegal to make a turn in front of a cyclist. How do you even begin to enforce that? I was plowed into the Porter Square shopping center by some dumb bitch on her phone the other day, all the while ringing my bell and hollering at her. And when I chased her down she had the audacity to act TAKEN ABACK that I was upset! The law should be changed to ‘ motorists passing bicycles in order to make a turn must be at least 100ft past the bicyclist before initiating the turn. Any less than this and the motorist is required to STOP and WAIT for the cyclist to pass before initiating the turn.’

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