Friday, October 16, 2009

Bike Girl Gets Back Up

Every protagonist has his kryptonite. Bike Girl's morning was spent dealing with hers. Fortunately for Bike Girl, progress towards a more bike-able Southland is her anti-kryptonite.

Things are looking up in Santa Monica. Politicians there are toying with a strategy that could meaningfully reduce traffic and encourage cycling and walking.

You can read the article by clicking here.

Bike Girl Needs A Pep Talk

Today on Bike Girl’s commute to work, a driver looked right into her eyes at a stop light and told her that her life was not worth a 1 second delay. Bike Girl asked how much that moment would cost her, and guessed the amount was less than five cents. She then asked if a human being’s life is worth five cents. This middle aged female driver said no.

This exchange took place just after the woman in her snazzy gold sedan merged into Bike Girl with no turn signal, nearly smashing into her front wheel, less than 5 feet from a red light, where the driver had to stop, still straddling the lanes.

“Lady, you were in the middle of the road,” the woman said. This is true. Bike Girl was in the middle of the right lane on a 5 lane road with construction on the tiny shoulder. The middle of the far right lane is exactly where Bike Girl should have been.

Bike Girl, like any cyclist, endures a lot of abuse from drivers, and she endures it on a regular basis. She endures it with a smile and a wave, and occasionally a yell of, “aaaaah!” Bike Girl also makes a conscious effort to obey the rules of the road. She even uses hand signals to turn in a town where drivers seem to believe their signals, speed limits, and even license plates are optional.

But today’s stony-faced, gray-haired, female driver found Bike Girl’s breaking point. Her blunt response that she would rather kill Bike Girl than be 1 second late sent our usually fearless protagonist to the curb, sobbing for 40 minutes.

Bike Girl sobbed because she’s tired of fighting. She’s tired of risking her life to get to work. She’s tired of memorizing license plate numbers of truck drivers who hit-and-run her and laugh. She’s tired of explaining the law to confused police officers. She’s tired of hearing that making her commute safer is infeasible. She’s tired of politicians who can get credit for being bike-friendly without actually doing anything to improve the bike-ability of their district.

Today an emergency room doctor is on trial for intentionally slamming on the brakes in front of two experienced cyclists and sending them to the ER.

Today a beautiful child is an orphan because of a truck driver’s inattention, and that truck driver is home with his family.

Somewhere a cyclist will be killed and journalists will ask if that cyclist was wearing a helmet. They will be shocked to hear that the cyclist died despite wearing that magical piece of styrofoam.

Please help fight this fight. Because while Bike Girl loves to ride, today, Bike Girl is tired of fighting.

If you want to fight, you can start by reading this.