Carefull of aggresive drivers
I’d cut them a little slack, edmonds. There’s enough linear shelf feet of code, and it changes enough, and some of it is obscure enough, that it’s not all going to be on the tip of the tongue.
I know in my industry, we are constantly disagreeing, discussing, and reminding each other of what our professional (and in this country, legal) code governing our work actually says. We likely have more code than average, but it happens daily even to the people who literally wrote the code.
And he had the cojones to read what was handed to him, accept he was wrong, admit it to the guy he wronged, and apologize. I hope that kind of behavior is more common than circumstances allow us to witness it, but I also recognize it takes a really good person to be able to do that. That’s a person with the potential to be awesome.
I’m not saying he shouldn’t have known. I’m just saying since he was willing to learn and apologize, perhaps there are a number of perfectly accurate and more positive adjectives we can come up with than “pathetic”.
Besides, last I checked, cyclists didn’t make up a significant amount of the traffic in Robinson. If he’s encountered them as often as I have in my suburb, perhaps “rare” is a better word than “obscure”.
Maybe it’s like working at Westinghouse and not knowing about radioactivity
which, believe it or not, there are hundreds of people who work there, are good professionals and excellent at what they do and don’t understand radioactivity at all. Some don’t understand physics. Some don’t understand chemistry. Some don’t understand electronics. Some don’t get mechanics.
I’m serious. I’ve never known a professional who knew off-hand 100% of everything that could be expected of them. Maybe I’m rare, or stupid, but I’ll admit that there are huge gaps in my knowledge that I work every day to fill and find more gaps the more I work. And often, as soon as I learn something, it changes.
Is this board that cynical and jaded that we can hear about someone learning and apologizing, and still shit on them?
Perhaps if taken in aggregate it’s a symptom of a systemic and cyclists’-life threatening problem, but as an anecdotal story I’d rather hear this than that the guy flagged him down next time he saw him and told him he didn’t care, cyclists still don’t belong on the road.
^What she said, mostly.
On the other hand, it is one thing to have an incorrect understanding of the law, and another thing to behave aggressively and endanger someone based on them not complying with your incorrect understanding of the law. So yeah, the guy really screwed up.
But who knows whether someone else actually taught him the wrong thing (as opposed to him just choosing to believe whatever he wanted to believe) or why he behaved that way that day. At least he was willing to be corrected and own up to his behavior. I’d rather have that guy behind me in a car than a lot of other people.
Per his story:
“The speed limit is 25 and I was easily going 30 because it’s a steep downhill. A guy in a white pickup truck sped by me, even though I was taking the lane, then braked hard in front of me and turned left into the parking lot.”
It’s one thing to be wrong about the legality of bicycles on the road. It’s another thing to drive in a manner that puts a cyclists’ life in danger. Cutting them off going down hill does that.
I’m with you ejwme.
My cop story is ongoing. Last year, I had a run-in with a school bus in South Fayette. Long story short, the Chief of Police was a bit of an ass about it. Fast forward to earlier this week, he has a question about cycling on certain roads in South Fayette. While he clearly does not know and understand the law, he asked me for help. We’ve had a couple of civil e-mail exchanges, which I never would have predicted after last year. In the last one, we talked about sitting down over coffee yo talk about how we can help each other be safer.
I guess old dogs can learn new tricks. Or at least we hope so.
I’ve been trying to stay calm on the road and not let things get to me, but then this morning…
I’m riding down Wilkins @ Denniston, in the middle of the left lane both because I’m turning left and there are cars parked in the right lane. There’s a lady starting to cross Wilkins with two dogs. I stop, she takes a few steps, then suddenly she turns around and bolts for the curb. Turns out some douchebag in a car is swerving around to pass me on the right (itself was a tight squeeze due the parked cars). So much for staying calm – I screamed “hey asshole” through his open window and then flipped him off. As much as I’ve been trying to ignore things drivers do to me, aggressive/impatient shit is the worst, and in this case it wasn’t just me who this asswipe terrorized to save himself 3 seconds.
Dumb looking car with a big Steelers decal on the back window and a curly haired douche wearing the jersey of his drunk-driving idol Hines Ward. I know that doesn’t narrow things down much.
It’s wonderful that the Robinson cop was able to learn his mistake, grow as a person, and apologize. Well, maybe wonderful isn’t the the exact word I was looking for, maybe the word I was looking for is – that’s-the-way-people-should-be-anyway. Being happy about this cops behavior is kind of like being happy my teen and near teen kids don’t poop on the rug in the living room.
I wouldn’t label the board as cynical, there are plenty of good positive people on here, thank goodness. But I’ll gladly accept the mantle.
Aawww, Bill, I think curmudgeonly fits better than cynical. Maybe just curmudgeon-in-training.
“…being happy my teen and near teen kids don’t poop on the rug in the living room.”
They would just blame it on the dog. You do know your dog eats burritos right?
This has been an interesting thread…
1) Cops are humans; give them a break. A large proportion of the public they have to deal with on the job tend to be assholes who have just committed some anti-social act and are intent on denying it. If you have a beef, act decent. They will eventually notice and respond accordingly. Enforcing the law is hard (mental) work.
2) Willie’s interpretation of the interaction between the cops and the a-hole corrections person is way too paranoid. I expect that they were explaining to him that he had seriously fucked up and that, by the rules, they should just take him in. Of course, they explain, if he simply understood that he had screwed up maybe they just could let him go this one time, especially given the (presumed) consequences for his job. He may or may have not been contrite. They then conferred between themselves and decided that it was close enough and that they would let it slide. I also assume they told him that if they ever catch him doing anything illegal again, they will totally fuck him over real good. Note that this is the socially correct thing to do: we all screw up and most of us just need a brush with the law to get refocused. Besides, it’s really expensive to deal with offenders; moreover most people are wussy enough to take cop threats seriously. It all works out (mostly).
3) Talk to cops. Be friendly. Remember, each biker that talks to a cop makes that cop better disposed towards bikers: given a choice, wouldn’t you give the benefit of the doubt to someone who’s been nice to you? For example (from my experience) pull up to a (bike) cop at a stop light and say hello, ask them about their assignment. Smile, commiserate. A few days later I run into her on a line on the Batman movie shoot; I get a warning, with a tight smile. Someone else gets thrown against a wall.
Eventually bikers become good guys (well, at least the ones that bother to obey the traffic laws). In the end that’s what we want, right?
[Personal note: I’ve never been in law enforcement, but I did do a project that involved spending time with cops and accompanying them on patrols. They are good people (well, at least as much as the general population is good people).]
Anonymous 08/31/2012 at 2:32am #
And here I thought I was the only one seeing more aggressive drivers lately!
I just had an encounter with a driver this morning – blaring his horn, the whole nine yards.
When I caught him (10 seconds after he passed me, stopped at a red light) I tried to tell him about the 4 foot law. But the profanities woven in with my explanation of the new Pennsylvania law probably didn’t help. We basically just continued to scream obscenities at each other.
I’ve always tried to behave in a manner that would help spread the image of all cyclists in a positive light, but something about this guy just got under my skin. I’m not proud of how I acted, but doubt I’d have the self control to do it differently if I had the chance.
I’ve thought in the past about riding with a helmet cam to record my commutes to work. That way, if anything happens (hit and run, etc.) I’d have evidence, license plate numbers, etc.
Now I’m thinking it may also help with my own self control. If I know I’m recording, I may be less likely to act like a raging maniac.
Anyone have any recommendations on a good (fairly inexpensive) helmet cam?
@jim et al:
We’re in a transitional period. Bikers are something new for drivers. They need to adjust.
In a year or two all should be fine.
That said, I’d rather people wear cams (and report violators!) than get any more bikers killed.
^+1. From what I see on this board and website, as well as what I see when I come to Pittsburgh, what Ahlir says I think is exactly right. There are now enough cyclists on the streets of Pittsburgh that that automobile drivers can’t ignore us anymore. They have to learn to look for us and deal with us as part of traffic. A change in the status quo, and some people don’t deal with that very well. Time will solve this as they get used to a new status quo that includes us.
Don’t forget that not only are cops just out there doing a job they are often overworked and treated like garbage almost all the time. Next time you ask them why they didn’t do something it could be because they just left the scene of an accident where a family was killed or just got done hearing from some 16 year old how he pays his salary and should do his bidding.
That said, there is just some shit that people should know.
I’ve posted several vids of questionable driver actions over in the oblivious pgh motorists thread. Thankfully, the noteworthy stuff happens pretty infrequently considering that I commute almost every day.
I think that wearing a cam can help with self control a bit, but in the heat of the moment asshole drivers are still going to invoke deserved incomprehensible rage despite your better intentions.
Didn’t know that one was out. I have been wanting one to mount on the pug when he goes out and been eyeing that up based on some comments here.
Looks like my afternoon is shot now. /productivity
Haven’t seen this one yet, it is cool. Hat tip to Urban Velo for the link:
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