Chronicles of an Angry Driver
I remember when I was younger and tried to learn how to ride a bicycle. It seemed interesting back then to balance myself over two wheels; but the fact that it could get me around the block so fast and in such a fun way, I found it fascinating.
I was riding down the block one day, on a day when bicycling on the sidewalks of New York City, was welcomed, I rode around the corner and bumped head on into a person also walking along the sidewalk that I did not see. From then on, that motif of life ended and I lived my life in other patterns, never really bike riding again.
I remember going to take the test to receive my driver’s permit. We all had to take this test to determine our mind-readiness for driving. I got every question right except for one which was about bicycling. I had not known til that day that bicyclists are supposed to obey the traffic laws because I’d never seen a bicyclist do it.
You're driving through a green light and boom, here comes a bicyclist whipping past that you almost hit because they dodged past you as if they were running to catch a train that was about to pull out of the station.
Or, You're in the intersection about to turn left going east bound with another driver also turning left going west bound while other cars going north and south keep moving and a bicyclist coming from east just cuts through the traffic and come in between the two turning left cars almost to have caused a terrible major accident.
Or, You're at a red light and a bus is turning and a young kid looking at his phone while riding to cross the street failed to lift his head to see the bus turn and gets pulled underneath by the bus.
I actually thought about getting on a bike again and moving around NYC. It's great exercise. It can get you around more efficiently then a car. It keeps you moving. Then I remembered that I am a NYC driver, an angry one at that. It was almost as if the thought just grabbed a travel case and flew right on out of my brain. I can’t seem to erase the residue of all the horror stories I witnessed, almost hitting a bicyclist who didn’t follow the traffic laws.
So if you are going to be a NYC driver, be careful. It is not easy. You are driving with taxi drivers who will skip two lanes and cut you just short of hitting your car just to get a passenger. You are driving with people who feel like 25 mph in ice and snow is too slow, keeps beeping at you and then angrily drives on the oncoming traffic side just to pass you and speed at 50 mph on the city streets. You are driving with people texting and looking at their phones instead of the roads where a bicyclist is riding down a block going in the opposite way of traffic, past a hidden driveway that also hides the bicyclist from the driver’s peripheral; even worse if looking at the phone and failed to see him.
If you are going to be a NYC bicyclist, the roadways are supposed to be shared, not taken for you to decide I’m gonna ride my bike 10 mph in front of a car, though you have a bike lane and not care; because people with road rage will not take it lightly. Be careful of those drivers in a rush to get where they need to be. And when you decide that you do not have to follow the rules of the road, hopefully a driver under the influence, (my six hour class instructor said every three drivers are under the influence), might not be the one to go through a light unconscious of the fact that they are even driving and hit you, now knowing; or because they were texting and didn’t see you.
We can all ride joyfully in the sun’s rays if we keep each other, bicyclists, drivers, pedestrians, in mind. Confidence may be your strength and you may want to flex the new acrobatic tricks you learned to do while pedaling. Leave that for the parks. The major thoroughfares are really not for that. Neither is it for a person cutting every car while going 90MPH on a road where everybody is trying to keep 55 mph at least and not speed. Let’s keep the roads safe.
The melody of the thoroughfares will still linger on. Just a little bit sweeter. Let’s make the driving and riding experiences sweeter for each other.