14 February 2011
Why Me......or Maybe.....Why NOT Me?
I wonder what it is in some people's psyche that causes them to choose to be aggressively mean instead of just going on about their day.
I'm riding along peacefully in a 8' wide bike lane along Alaskan Way. There is a single lane northbound, single lane south bound and center left turn lane. One of our wonderful "road diet" throughways in Seattle that is one of the most used cycling commute routes from West Seattle and the south end into downtown along the waterfront. Of course, being along our waterfront, it is also the main north/south corridor for all of the container traffic coming from the rail yards in the south end to the large container ships at the south end of downtown. The City has spend a bit of time and expense the past couple years making it better, but there are two long puddles that parallel the street when it rains, caused by the heavy truck traffic. Now, most of the time this is no problem. Everybody simply moves a little bit to the left as they come alongside a bike so as not to drown the cyclist. It all works very well, especially early in the morning when there's not much southbound traffic and rarely anybody in the center turn lane.
But every once in a while, there's that one guy who just HAS to aim right at the puddle, timing it just right so that he totally inundates the cyclist he's riding past. Am I paranoid? Do I think they're all out to get me? Not hardly. I know better. Well over 99% of the vehicles I deal with any given day are courteous, friendly, cautious and respectful. But then there's that rare individual.....
This morning was a really classic example. Fortunately, I'd dressed in full battle gear. I've left the light at Hanford and am headed northbound. Then there was a whole line of cars and trucks coming up from behind. I've placed myself as far to the right as I safely can in the bike lane. First up were a couple of container haulers. Then a concrete truck followed by a white school bus (prison bus on its way to the courthouse) I see frequently. Each of these vehicles moved cautiously out and to the left. It doesn't take much, not over a foot. But then there is a big ol' Chevy pickup. One of those raised up ones with big tires and loud diesel smokestack kinda pipes that get used sometimes to "fog" me. Well, this guy wasn't moving anywhere to the left. Even though four vehicles immediately in front of him managed to. Maybe it is my imagination, but he seemed to slow just a little bit, then romped on the accelerator as he went by me, hitting that puddle full on and managing to send a cascade of water fully engulfing me in his wake.
And as I rode on down the street, fussing and fuming about this dickhead, all I could do was be grateful that he hadn't hit me with his mirror.