Irritants IX

Let’s focus on transportation themed troubles this time, with a bias for bikes, since that’s an expanding arena of experience for me.

But subways get first dibs. How difficult is it to wait for people to EXIT before rushing in. The train driver can see those outside and will wait, but not those inside, trying to get out. What’s worse is when this happens at the terminus of a line. It’s ridiculous!

Then we have the supremely generous types who like to share their often arguable taste with everyone else. I’m talking about music, or worse yet just the tinny, irritating treble from it, being audible out of people’s headphones or other personal listening contrivances. Now imagine being able to hear the music clearly. Take another step into the unfathomable and believe that sometimes this can be heard over the sound of the moving subway. Not all trains are as loud as New York’s, but it is still impressive. What do these morons think they’re doing? In a few years, I’ll probably be asked to pay for their hearing aids or be a victim of their driving because they couldn’t hear properly in traffic!

Moving above ground, we have the Harley phenomenon. Affectionately known as hogs, these two-wheeled transports also assail auditory systems used by humans, i.e. ears! I don’t want to begrudge anyone their joy and enjoyment, but why at others’ expense? That rumbling, roaring is no longer necessary. It was a byproduct of less advanced technology, but is clearly avoidable. Just listen to other motorcycles. So please, if you want to make that much noise, do it someplace desolate, unpopulated.

While pedestrians often are poorly treated by drivers, those indulging in the most human of transport mechanisms, walking, are not totally innocent either. As bike paths are built and extended, often with adjacent space for pedestrians, conflicts between the two uses arise. Sadly, this is totally avoidable. Unfortunately, because of the very social nature of walking in such setting, people tend to stop, chat, let their dogs take care of business, etc. While doing so, they park themselves in the marked bike lanes. Worse still, they mount headphones of a sort, and walk with their backs to approaching bicyclists, blissfully oblivious to the obstacle they present to those on two wheels, properly traveling in their assigned lane. Just a little bit common sense and courtesy is all it would take to avoid these clashes.

The real menaces to bicyclists are cars. I noted half a year ago the case of a doctor who intentionally slammed his brakes on in front of two riders. Often, drivers are either oblivious to or detest the presence of bicycles, maybe it’s jealousy. They don’t see the bikes, they drive too close, they split lanes with the two wheelers, they honk needlessly thinking bikes are not allowed on the road, they yell at or curse riders, they don’t use turn signals, and the list goes on. But equally problematic are the drivers who are too bike-sensitive. It’s happened to me many times. A car clearly has the right of way. Yet, the driver will stop, or slow down, bewilderingly. Result? I can’t tell if they see me, are planning a different move, are just plain confused, or what. We end up in a strange, time-wasting standoff. Please, just obey the rules of the road.


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