I am a car guy, and for that matter a driver – but rarely pilot a vehicle.
I ride a bike for as long as the seasons suggest I can do so safely. Most years this is October. The rest of the time I walk, unless driving is the only option.
For as long as I have held a license (one parking ticket) I have shined vehicles and kept them in top shape. These efforts are for two exclusive reasons: groceries and camping (see Blog No. 5).
There seems a problem with driver behaviour. Like bugs in trees, this problem appears to be spreading. One common issue is the freeze of use of the in-car directional. You know, the one that tells others what you’re doing. Seriously, how long does it take to signal?
It is a delicate topic writing about something I am also responsible: driver respect and safety. I can assure you I bring the respect. In my experience with respect out front safety takes care of itself.
This is also not supporting or sanctioning bad cycling, those who do little to help drivers or move the larger needle forward within a transportation situation that I marvel isn’t a lot worse, from a death stats perspective, than it is.
Some recent examples:
Within the last two weeks, riding down Somerset, lady in Acura (Quebec plates, confrimed up close) doesn’t acknowledge me (rear window view eyes straight ahead), much less signal, and turns right, into a laneway, cutting me off at the tire. Really?
Within the last 72 hours. Approach fourway. Stop. Actually stop. Look. Proceed. Woman in Toyota coasts across stop line and accelerates, eyes straight on, cutting me off at the tire. I followed her to the next light and banged on the window. Hello. Miss, could you please pay attention? My life depends on it.
Stop signs. Who uses them – by the actual rules of the road?
Yellow lights. Seems an invitation to go, no?
The overall picture is thankfully positive. The responsible, respectful and accountable drivers outnumber those who are not so responsible, accountable or especially respectful. I will admit sometimes when I observe and let rampant transgressions get to me, they do.
This is what I wonder most: We live in the best country in the world. Or at least a top-fiver. It’s at least, Ottawa proper, probably the singularly most polite spot (Yes please, No thank you), with outdoor options (and grocery stores) second to none.
Yet behind the wheel we seemingly can’t be a fraction as nice to each other. Why is that?