Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Watch the wheels....

I've ridden motorcycles on and off (always better on than off) for over thirty years. While a few things are annoying--bugs in the teeth, bits of rotting roadkill kicked up by a car, the unexpected downpour--the joys far outweigh the negatives.

The one thing that threatens to tilt joy to despair are the folks in the 4-wheeled cages who simply do not see bikes. Live cars sitting at intersections make me wary.

When I see one, only one thing matters--its front wheels. Are they moving?

Only that, nothing else matters, nothing.  Riding gets down to the bare physics of things.

If it creeps forward, react. Do not waste time looking amazed, or yelling, or flipping the bird.  All are useless
The motive of the driver does not matter. At all. It cannot be changed even if you knew it.

You'll hear a lot about how Arne cares for kids, how Gates humanitarianism saves thousands of children, how the new nationalized standards and multimillion-dollar tests are good for our children, and a few misguided souls may even believe it.

When the front wheels are moving, it doesn't matter what the driver thinks. We need to react.

The front wheels of the edu-plutocrats are spinnning so hard they're leaving patches of rubber. React


John T. Spencer said...

I miss riding my bicycle to work. I was connected to the land, to the physics, to each neighborhood I passed. I don't have that anymore.

I was hit three or four times by busy people who didn't see me. Only once did the driver stop to see if I was okay.

I was probably safer in a bike than in a car (statistically) but I was always aware of my mortality. Wondering if maybe the least safe to be is inside of something really dangerous that feels really safe.

amanda said...

Yeah, cars give the privilege of not being particularly aware of your surroundings (you only really need to care about things at least as big as another car).

I always check the wheels of cars that are in parking spaces but whose engines are running. If the front wheels are pointed out toward the street, give a wide berth.

doyle said...

Dear John,

You tossed out an inocuous statement "I was probably safer in a bike..." and I just spent a chunk of my mortality looking at research.

And it' mixed, to be sure, but you raise an interesting point. If we add the increased life expectancy gained by regular exercise, the numbers become even more interesting. I may write a post on this.

As always, thanks for getting me thinking.

Dear Amanda,

I've seen pics of you riding on urban streets--you're clearly a pro at this.

My biggest problem with parked cars is the sudden open door.

The older I get, the more likely I am to claim a lane when the nonsense on the right gets to be much. I doubt the various fingers thrust my way will affect my health. =)