Monday, November 26, 2007

Ranting after rush hour

Are bicyclists just stupid, or do they have a death wish? Or, charitably, have they simply never driven an automobile at night, in the pouring rain, in heavy traffic? Perhaps this is it, and they lack the essential knowledge of what, exactly, an automobile driver can SEE through a rain-streaked window, reflected from a rain-streaked sideview mirror. Maybe this is why bicyclists persist in assuming that they're just as visible as a 16-wheeler with dozens of running lights--especially to someone trying to merge into traffic from a parking spot in the pouring rain, in heavy traffic, in the dark while not either hitting another vehicle, bicycle or being struck by same.

I have a lot of respect for Portland's cyclists, especially the die-hards who commute every day regardless of how crap the weather is: rain, sleet, cold, even snow (the truly mad among them). But, BUT, bicyclists have to remember they're jousting with big heavy moving masses of steel while they have nothing but a cheesy helmet and bravado in return. If you ride a bike, for God's sake, you have to assume that everyone in a car is blind, stupid and self-involved. You cannot assume that just because you happen to be in The Bike Lane! that you're visible, even if you also have one of those really cool blinky lights on the front. Always assume you're invisible and split seconds away from death.

For that matter, get the hell off the main drag (Hawthorne Blvd, in this case) even if it does have a bike lane and even if it is the most direct route. It's also where all the damn cars are!

It's OK. I'm home safe, not having killed one of you through no real effort of your own. We've survived another commute.