Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Offensive & Craigslist

Posted an ad. It's about people who ride bicycles. Originally in Missed-Connections, but got flagged so I moved it to Rant & Raves. Allow me to repost it here for ya, along with some of the responses (and my response to one of them).

"To all the cyclists in the city & county of San Francisco

Okay, I get it. You like to ride a bike - a bicycle. Cool beans, man! Good for you, seriously. You're getting a work-out, reducing use of fossil-fuels, and looking really spiff in front of all the hipster chicks with your fixie's neon-colored frame. Congratulations! I mean it. I used to ride a bike too... in high school. It's fun jumping off curbs (oh but your skinny tires can't do that can they?) or spinning in the air off a ramp (oh, the frame is too big? sorry) and even braking real fast to pop my back tires (wait, you can't do that because your only brake is to pedal backwards? wow, how old school is that! like 18th century dude!) No, really, I appreciate my two-wheeled roadside companions.

Now, can you just return the favor of me NOT running you over with my big freaking car by following a few simple rules of the road.

Here's a list of HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS and POINTERS to avoid me getting JAILED for MANSLAUGHTER when your precious bicycle gets caught in my tires like spinach in someone's teeth.

1. Stop signs. They mean stop. See that red thing there? It's to let you know. I'm sorry if you can't read English, but the color should help, right? And if you happen to be color-blind, well... sorry. (Learn to read.) If you want to share the road with cars then you need to stop at a stop sign. Don't blow by like a train. You didn't have the right of way. Don't wave at me when I look at you like you're crazy. Would you like me to give ya a "love-tap" with my front-bumper? Or will you play nice and stop like YOU'RE LEGALLY SUPPOSED TO. Unless you have a death wish. In which case, may I suggest the Golden Gate Bridge?

2. Signal. Your lame blinking light attached to the seat-back does not count. When you're going to turn, you need to let me know, because I can't read minds. Sorry, my mutant super-power is growing my nails really really long. So we'll just have to settle for you LEARNING to COMMUNICATE to the other people on the road as to what insanely random intentions you have regarding turns and stuff. If you don't know your hand-signals, please bring up the main-page at Wikipedia. Type in "retard." See that picture of your face? Now let me explain: left-arm straight out means LEFT, left-arm bent up at the elbow (but still out) means RIGHT, left-arm bent down at the elbow (and again, still out) means STOP. Got it? Good. Please use it.

3. Speed Limits. I understand you're not the Bionic Man (or woman). You can only pedal so fast before you begin to have a heart-attack, okay. But, again, if you're going to share the road, then you need to NOT GO FIVE MILES PER HOUR IN A FORTY ZONE. See me driving really close behind you? (It's okay, you can use your head and look around, that's what a neck is for.) That's me saying you're going too slow. Get into a higher gear and pedal faster or move out of the way! I wish I had all day to just trail behind you and watch how good you can ride your bicycle with all your friends! But I don't. I have a life. (I know, amazing isn't it?) So follow the speed-limit, or stay off of those streets.

4. Lanes. They're kind of a big deal. They distinguish the space you're allowed to be in. See that bus? Even though he's SOOOO BIG, he still only takes up one lane. (With maybe some change.) You need to do the same. Don't swerve around in a big group and take up every possible one. Leave room for people going faster to get through. It's polite, and less likely to cause ill-advised road-rage to end your ignorant little life. I know you want to all get together and ride your bikes together, making sure everybody sees you biking together - that's great really - but you can't take up THE ENTIRE ROAD with you and all your friends, and then start playing hot-potato with your lane choices. Typically there's a fast lane, and a slow lane. Pick one! Oh, also, if you see a bike lane... STAY THERE! THAT LANE IS FOR YOU!

5. This is probably the most important. Don't, and I mean Do Not Ever run into my car, then pedal off like it's no big deal. Sorry guy, but you just got into a traffic accident. Sure, my car ain't no Rolls Royce, but it's still MINE, and you broke it. Get off the transportation-toy and gimme your info because now you gotta pay for it. If I see you trying to escape, I will take drastic measures to ensure you act like a responsible person. For instance, I might just chase you with my car. Or perhaps a tazer, air-soft gun, maybe even take an honest-to-gawd rope from my trunk and lasso you. You WILL pay for that scratch/dent/broken tail-light. And if you do manage to get away, guess what? That's called HIT AND RUN. Try pulling that too much and you're likely to end up in court, jail... or with my fist in your face.

Those are the basics. Follow them, and you will likely survive to ride again.

Sorry if this offends any good, decent, traffic-law fearing cyclists who actually respect the rules of the road, and their smaller mass in it compared to us four-wheeled types. This is not for you. I only wish to avoid accidentally killing someone because they weren't smart enough to be aware of the world beyond their handle-bars. Also, I do this for every motorist who has ever sat behind a group of bicycles, had their side-mirror torn off, or been scared nigh to bloody hell by some reckless bicycle douche who seems to have a death wish. You are not alone, my friend.

Thanks! See ya on the road!

***Author's Note: thanks for whoever flagged my post from missed-connections... You really don't have a lot of time on your hands, now do ya? I guess I should've posted a missed-connections between my foot in your [expletive deleted]? Anyways, at least my post is in the "right place" even though I really did have a missed-connection with all the cyclists. Please enjoy the readings and have a good day.***

-- Your complete stranger"

Here was a particularly juicy response of anger & virulence.

"[...] Uh... a speed limit is meant to be an UPPER limit, not a lower limit - the only place where you're legally obliged to maintain a certain speed is on the freeway. You'll not see many cyclists on the freeway.

It's a shame - I am (obviously) a cyclist and I found myself agreeing with a great deal of your post until we got to this part. Sadly, your 'point #3' reveals that all you really are is just another frustrated ass sitting behind the wheel of a ton or so of metal death and thinking how the fifteen seconds of your life that it would take until it was safe to pass me is far more valuable than the rest of my life that would be lost should I end up under your wheels.

Yes, bicycles generally travel slower than cars. So do pedestrians but you don't take aim at them if they don't get out of the crosswalk quickly enough, do you? Do you?

Quit being so entitled and just accept that there are other human beings in this world and they aren't all going to part like the Red Sea for Moses every time you have a hot date to get to or you're late for work or you have to get home in time to watch the new episode of Mad Men.

See you driving really close behind me? That's you telling me that you think you're better than me and that I should bow down to your superiority and let you pass unhindered - but, let me tell you, I view that as you acting like a moron, and anyone rolling right up to inches behind my rear wheel is going to find me making damn sure they can't get past as I deliberately slow my speed to walking pace for a couple of blocks. Maybe one day I'll do this to you and you can man (or woman) up and get out of that safe little cocoon of yours and discuss it with me."

I responded with:

"You seem to have me confused with a 35 year-old Financial district douchebag, when in fact, I'm just a 23 year-old SFSU student. I watch Dexter - not Mad Men.

The speed-limit IS an upper-limit. It is to tell you how fast you should be going, and also how slow you shouldn't be going. You can't go five miles in a forty because that creates unsafe driving conditions as drivers have to suddenly slow down which leaves a trail, which causes traffic, fender-benders, rear-enders, etc. I guess as a cyclist, this might escape you, but it happens. A lot.

Your life actually DOES matter to me. As I explain in the post, I don't want to kill you. Manslaughter = bad. Running over someone with my car = very very bad. Essentially, I care about you because I care about me. Make sense? You're a stranger; it doesn't go much beyond that.

Pedestrians are a different story. They have a sidewalk to be on. When they're in the cross-walk, that's shared territory, and in California they have the right of way ALWAYS. But you don't. You're like a car in this case. You need follow those rules that we all do.

It's funny because in my post, I was talking about how cyclists need to stop acting like they're the only ones on the street, and then you turn it around and say I'm the one being "entitled". I mean, fair game I guess as far as arguments go, but it doesn't really do much other than show you don't have much imagination. I'd be happy to get out of my "cocoon" and discuss it with you, anytime, except that when I choose to drive, I'm actually busy, as opposed to fifteen seconds late for a television show. Remember that people sometimes are legitimately in a hurry. For instance, my roommate had to go to the hospital a few months ago, and unfortunately it took an extra ten minutes because a group of cyclists decided to have a party on Market street at 3 AM. I guess that's as good a time as any to mess around, and maybe I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but should my roommate have to suffer for that while I try honking my way through to the emergency room?

Instead of making me out to be this narrow-minded asshole, try being a decent broad-minded person. See my genuine, rational point. See my completely ridiculous angry tirade. And maybe be a little more aware next time you're out for a ride? If not, then I guess I'll see you on the streets. I'll be the one slamming my car door on your back-tire.


And here's my favorite response, from this sweet lady who must be the most bitchass oldster I've ever had the pleasure of getting email from.

"I loved reading your article, which I wish I had written myself. Not too long ago I ran into about 100 of them going through Sausalito with three of them as "guides" or "protectors" of the large group, in GREEN tops with "BICYCLERIDERS" (or some other innocuous phrase) written across the back of their shirts in white capital letters. They led the group (which stayed in the bike lane) by riding in both lanes in front of the cars. One car had stopped already to tell them to get in their own lane, and an argument ensued. I was stuck behind them, and so, at age 71, I opened my door and hollered, "The light's green. Stop arguing. There's traffic. Move on now!"

Like the spoiled brats they are, they were looking for an encounter, so when we came to the next light, seeing me motioning them to get in the bike lane with the BIG GROUP OF FOLLOWERS that they were LEADING... (clearly they wanted everyone to know they were the LEADERS (hence the green shirts with BIKERIDERS —or some other innocuous phrase printed on only their backs!). One of them threw his bike down in the middle of the right car lane, directly in front of me, and came to where I was forced to stop, grabbed my window, (which was half way down and started cursing and berating me). I didn't think fast enough to roll up the window, and was afraid I'd hurt his fingers, but I had a good look at his spoiled brat face, distorted face, high on adrenelin or (?)whatever it was, and definitely in a RAGE). I watched his face in the window thinking if this little spoiled brat creep was leading the group, what must the rest of the followers—all the other bicycle-sheep be like!)

I vote to capture them all and give them 30 days at hard labor, to see what it feels like to exercise. I did report the incident to the Sausalito Police, but I never heard if they ever caught the little twerp in the GREEN shirt with the white letters indicating his position among the huge group of tourist-timid-slow-minded bikers who followed like stupid sheep. And please no offense to the sheep is meant. But really what can be said about human beings so decidedly out of whack with their environment, that they think they are filled with the power of GOD almighty!

May we all be saved from such jacked up, whacked out hubris!

And hopefully some of the same young spoiled brats will learn to say "You're welcome" when people say thank you, instead of "No problem" . . .


An older stranger stranger!"

Gotta love the randomness of internet interactions.

Cheers ya'll.

9 footnotes:

Sarah Alaoui said...

Haha, favorite post! I was just thinking about how obnoxious and self-entitled bikers are the other day while I was driving and how one biker took up the whole lane I was in and rode as slowly as he pleased RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME (I didn't have much room to pass either!). Great post, and it's annoying also how quickly people flag stuff on Craigslist, argh. Love the response from the old lady and also love how non-vulgar your post on Craigslist (as you posted it here) was...unless I missed an obscenity here or there? haha, nonetheless, good work. Cheers.

Andruba said...

if bikers actually acted like cars, which they are when they are on the road, they'd really know what's up. Instead they think that they're impervious to everything like they're riding in their little culdesac that they grew up in. I've gotten too many tickets for not obeying traffic laws that apply to cars while being on my bike. Biking against traffic, No headlight or tail-light at night, going over the speed limit, which incidentally happened at the hill at fairview park coming home from school and i'll never figure that one out. A bike is a moving VEHICLE while on the road. They might even have to start Bicycle Licenses just for San Francisco it seems. hahaha.

Loved the post. Made my day.

Zek J Evets said...

@sarah: really? your favorite? of all my crazy meanderings and musings, this one tops it, eh? haha, well, thank-you.

i intentionally took out my obscenities (though i wanted so badly to use them) because i knew they'd violate the TOS for craigslist. believe me though, if i could i would've cursed out like a sailor's mouth.

@tuba: bicycle licenses? haha, brilliant! that's exactly what they should do! it'd piss a lot of people off, but at least the roads would be safer.

glad you like the post, man.

JacqueRoxx said...

Haha! This was funny. I love the old lady.

I almost hit a bike rider two weeks ago. I turned left on a green arrow at a major 4 lane intersection and here he is riding TOWARDS me in the lane I was turning into! So I had to swerve and almost hit the car that was turning right into the next lane. Mostly, I don't have a problem with bicyclists but that guy could have gotten all three of us killed.

American Black Chick in London said...

LOL! Hilarious post! And I couldn't agree more...especially the bit about observing stop signs/red lights (they're there for a reason) and I say this as a pedestrian. If I have one more biker give *me* the side eye because *they* ran the light/stop sign/peddle the wrong way (against traffic) and damn near hits me...but I digress. That old lady is kick ass!

Anonymous said...

I hate when you try to be funny in your blog posts/craigslist ads/video blogs. It's so very awkward and uncomfortable to read/watch.

Zek J Evets said...

@anon: sorry you feel that way. maybe, don't read my posts or watch my videos then? if it's really so awkward/uncomfortable.

or you could keep with the anonymous compliments. whatever makes you feel better i guess... just don't mind me while "i b rollin', u b hatin"

haha, oy vey, such silliness.

Anonymous said...

HAHA! It's probably just me and my quirkiness but I hate how fixie riders always roll one pants/jeans leg up when they're biking to avoid getting greasy...just one more reason why cars>bikes.

Zek J Evets said...

@goldforever: yes! indeed. don't like the asymmetrical fashion of rolling one pant leg up. Seems like they just leave it there too... because they want everyone to know they ride a bicycle, even when they're not actually riding one.