#147: Because There Seems to Be Some Confusion

April 5th, 2013

Because there seems to be some confusion, that white thing with the circles on the bottom painted in the lane on the right side of the road is a picture of a bike.

It’s not a picture of a big fat moose who has to be let out of the car four feet from the restaurant because walking any longer would cause heart explosions

It’s not a picture of a cabbie sitting there to tally up bills and smoke.

And it’s not a picture of a big-ass van that decides pressing the little flashy lights means any spot that’s paved and isn’t actually being inhabited by a human being at the moment is a parking spot.

It’s a picture of a bike. B-I-K-E. Wheely, persony thing that doesn’t have a motor, that doesn’t belch smog and that comes up on the deathy end of any interaction with another vehicle.

So that’s why we have three feet of pavement. To avoid the death.

Because there seems to be some confusion, a person heading in a straight line at a constant speed is not a cause for you to blow your horn and squeal rubber when you might actually have to adjust to the world around you.

Sorry, you heart-attack-bound gaswrecks. There is nothing I did that means that little strip of lane with a picture of me on it is anything but mine. Even if you do want to turn right but think looking in the mirror first is a chore.

But while we’re on the topic, there seems to be some confusion on the other side as well.

Because there seems to be some confusion, red means red you hipster asshat riding side-by-side with your girl east on Chicago Ave. the morning of April 3, 2013. Red means stop, not stop until you look both ways and realize you’re not actively being run over at the moment. Stop until it’s not red anymore.

Because there seems to be some confusion, you have to act as a vehicle if you’re going to piss and moan that no one treats you that way. You have to stop at reds, you have to stay in the little lane with the picture of you and you sure have to let those big gaswrecks ahead of you when it’s their goddamn turn.

I’m still there after you meander and cut around the street as your bliss and inscrutable exhortations demand. I’m left on the road stopped at the stops you refused to stop for. You’re gone. I’m left on the road with the drivers you pissed off and frankly confused.

I can plan around cars because I have a general expectation of how they’ll act. I can guess when they’ll stop, when they’ll go, when they’ll turn and not. This keeps me safe.

The cars can’t guess around bikes when you insist that your whims of “I want to be heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere now!” are a damn Kantian imperative.

They don’t know when a bike is going to stop, when it’s going to go, when it’s going to turn and when it’s going to just hit brakes a third way into an intersection on Chicago Ave. the morning of April 3, 2013, to kiss its girlfriend goodbye before they take separate paths to work.

The car drivers are confused, they’re pissed off and I’m the one left on the road with them. But I’m on a bike. If I get confused and hit them, I get hurt. If they get confused and hit me, I get hurt.

So how about we both suck it up and do what we’re supposed to? How about the cars drive in their spot and the bikes in ours? How about we both follow the rules for vehicles if we want to be treated like vehicles?

That’s my plan, that’s my theory and, until the snow falls again and I put the machine away for the winter of 13-14, that’s my goddamn obsession.

Because there seems to be some confusion.

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You are currently reading #147: Because There Seems to Be Some Confusion by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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