Wednesday, 9 October 2013

We Move About in a Bubble

Two posts in a row inspired by a Rosie DiManno article.. This is a trend that has to stop.

I have a simple observation. As a general rule, drivers are not thinking of cyclists and pedestrians, cyclists are not thinking of pedestrians and drivers and pedestrians are not thinking of cyclists and drivers.

I drive, walk and cycle and have come to the conclusion that 1 in 5 people are inconsiderate assholes (or that everyone is an inconsiderate asshole 1 time out of 5). As a pedestrian and cyclist I've almost been hit by cars. As a driver and a cyclist I've had pedestrians step into my right of way. And as a driver and a pedestrian I've had near misses with cyclists ignoring traffic laws.

The point is, there is no such species as "cyclist", "driver" or "pedestrian". They are all, each and every one, human beings. And human beings are an accident prone, unaware, self-absorbed species. Does not matter what mode of conveyance they are using, human beings can be just as annoying and dangerous standing in a crowd blocking off a sidewalk. We don't even have to move to be an inconvenience and create dangerous situations for others. "People are morons" may be very simplistic, but it's a sight more accurate and is what people forget when they curse "drivers", "cyclists" and "pedestrians" as if they are another breed of humanity.

The one lesson I try to imprint in myself and my children is always think and be aware of other people, period. Always assume the other person is an idiot and is not paying attention. Be the smarter person, and be prepared. That's all you can do. I've even stopped raging on people that offend me, I've realized that is ineffective and all it does is get their back-up. The last thing it does is teach them the error of their ways so that they stop.

Stop thinking of people by their mode of conveyance, and start thinking of them as people. Even try to look at it from their perspective and see what you could have done differently. If it's a recurring threat, work with the municipality to see if a safer system can be devised. But in the end, always be aware and keep yourself safe.

What do you get when you mix a driver, a cyclist and a pedestrian? Three morons and a whole bunch of curse words.


Ken Breadner said...

Few people are enlightened enough to have your perspective. I don't. I honestly believe cyclists are the worst of the lot, at least locally (the closer to Toronto you get, the more the balance levels off between cyclists and drivers, is my view).
I mean, just consider the lighting. How many drivers do you know who will deliberately drive around in the middle of the night with no headlights? That describes probably ninety percent of cyclists. How many drivers will barrel down sidewalks? Not many, I'd hope. I see MANY cyclists doing so even in the presence of a perfectly good bike lane. Drivers going the wrong way down a street are news. For cyclists it's pretty much normal.
(And yes, for other readers of this blog, I do not have a driver's license and most of my transport is by bike.)

Catelli said...

Heh. I take your point.

Drivers tend to show their aggression and stupidity to other drivers. Passing on shoulders, cutting through parking lots, driving with lights off on a foggy day, etc.

Whatever the net effect, I find people try to get away with what they can. Bikes just offer different opportunities. Idiots will be idiots whenever and however they can.