Jan 19, 2011

A Good Idea for the Bad Eggs

It seems like every time I get online, there’s another report of a cyclist getting killed by a car. Locally, in South Africa; it’s happening everywhere. I’ve long been an advocate of my taxes going toward bike lanes and recreational trail systems, but there’s a flip side to that. When you’re a cyclist and you’re looking for training time on the bike or nice scenery, you can only ride in bike lanes and on recreational trails for so long. Sooner or later you’re gonna need to pedal out to the sticks and it’s a little unrealistic to have a trail system or a bike lane everywhere you pedal, especially when headed to the middle of nowhere.

It’s easy to place blame on the local government for the lack of bicycle-friendly roads, but let’s face it: the real problem is that drivers have a difficult time sharing the road. Plus, there are too many cars, and the explosion of the American suburb combined with the lack of public transportation has pretty much made our road systems a mess.

I’m guiltily. I drive four miles to work. But that’s the infrastructure the man set up for us, so that’s the infrastructure we all have to make do with. If all I had to do was go back and forth to work, then commuting by bike would be fine. However, most days I’m dropping of this at lunch or picking up that after work, and when that happens to be a kindergartner, a bicycle doesn’t quite cut it. I need my car.

So, we’ve concluded that for most people living in modern America, it’s unrealistic, or at least logistically and geographically difficult to go to work in anything other than their own car. I can accept that. That means the problem is, once again, the way people drive…

Sure, cell phones are a problem and texting while driving is death-defying, but long before the world went mobile, there have been bad drivers. The impatient and angry drivers are the worst, and grouped as one, probably the most common. They’re everywhere you look, and when I’m riding my bike, they make me impatient and angry.

While I’m riding or even driving, nothing drives me more insane than an impatient or angry driver. They make me want to carry a carton of eggs in my passenger seat. When I see one of them nearly cause harm to another driver, or God forbid, a cyclist, I want to tag their car with an egg. I want that egg, splattered on their car, to be a symbol and a reminder that their impatient or angry driving can result in a smashed human being. They can think about that as they’re scraping the egg remains off their precious car.

Why are they always in such a hurry? I know they’re used to living in a world where instant gratification is the norm. But if they can’t instantly get to where they’re going, that doesn’t give them the right to tailgate or blow their obnoxious horn at a cyclist or another driver. If they’re late to work, it's because they’re lazy and they should have gotten up earlier. If they’re late getting their kid to soccer practice, it's because they're a lazy parent and they should have gotten the kid outfitted sooner. The bottom line is this: They’re lazy.

Sometimes when I’m out riding my bike and I see these angry and impatient drivers, I gaze at them and laugh. They have one of two looks on their faces. They’re either pissed off or stressed out. They wear those looks on their sleeve. What I can’t see is that feeling of guilt and envy they have inside, but I know it’s there. They have a guilty conscience for being too lazy to get out and exercise and they’re envious of me and my riding buddies because we’re not too lazy to be exercising. And so they take it out on us with their big rolling deadly weapons.

What they really need is to go for a bike ride. They’ll be less angry, less stressed, less impatient, and they’ll probably even have fun. Unless, of course some idiot runs them down with a car.