Rides 11/6: Files and Phials

Did anyone else write this post already? No? Ok, I should probably do it then. So, let's.

It might have rained this morning. Honestly, I can't recall. I do remembering that I wore a rain jacket, so perhaps my failing to recollect the rain speaks to the efficacy of the jacket or maybe it speaks to its superfluity. The jacket itself does not speak, but I'm sure the problem of non-speaking jackets will get sorted out by Silicon Valley super-geniuses soon enough and then we'll all be the better off for it when our jackets can read to us our tweets or maybe tell us what weather.com says the weather is. I bet we'll look back on the time before speaking jackets as a kind of dark age, when all jackets ever did was keep us somewhat protected from the elements like some kind of analog sweater like they had in olden times. Maybe our speaking jackets can speak to others (or others' jackets- 'passing on the left. boop beep boop) or maybe speaking jackets 2.0 will write blog posts without such silly digressions. The future will be wonderful.

I think the thing I repeat to myself the most during my bike commutes, though it's really meant for others, is 'please don't do the thing that you're about to do.' Such commentary is mode blind. Bicyclists, motorists, walkeristedestrians (a new uncomplicated term meaning what you think it means), pogoists, none are immune to bad decisions and watching those bad decisions unfold from pre-folded to unfolding to unfolded, all why trying to determine the appropriate pre-action/reaction, means that I repeat my plaintive request many times a commute and many times over each week. "Please don't do the thing that you're about to do" sometimes coincides with people not doing that thing (or at least postponing it until I'm no longer in the way or as grossly impacted by it), but just as often, since magical incantations, no matter how polite, are not especially effective, the thing that you though they'd do and wished the didn't do is exactly the thing they did. Like cut me off or pass to close. And then realizing that cutting me off put them in a right-turn only lane, so they cut me off again on the other side. This happened this morning at M and Wisconsin. It was silly and I reacted poorly, namely by getting back in front of the driver, taking the lane, and slowing down to about 3 miles per hour. She just passed me too closely again. I didn't really think it though.

But sometimes the 'please don't do the thing you're about to do' doesn't even involve me and it's a bit like watching a horror movie. You yell at the screen "DO NOT GO INTO THE WOODS ALONE" or you, in your head, go 'don't stop in the crosswalk. There's a school right there. Come on." In in both cases, horror movie or with real life urban transportation issues, thee's a chainsaw-wielding maniac. Or maybe just some miffed pedestrians or frustrated other drivers.

The construction work on Massachusetts Avenue is no longer and they've appeared to fix many of the gashes and gaps that have made the road perilous lately. (GGW has a post about utility cuts endangering bicyclists). I was especially grateful for the flat road tonight since it seemed extra dark and the rain didn't convince me that my bicycle could easily stop or remain upright had their been some unexpected reason to need to clutch the brakes. It felt so dark tonight. It felt like the drivers felt it was dark.

I rode 23rd Street to L. At 23rd and L, there's a left turn only sign in the left lane. It is routinely ignored by drivers.

do you mean 'only' or 'only only'?
Hard not the blame #CONFUSION. [Confusion and #CONFUSION are not the same.] #CONFUSION is the endless capacity to forgive drivers. #CONFUSION is always finding an excuse for misdeeds. #CONFUSION is being unwilling to accept that lawbreaking is intentional or that there's volition in it. #CONFUSION denies intentionality- it comes from the same epistemological place as "accident." #CONFUSION never seems to be offered to anyone but drivers. #CONFUSION is meant to excuse the same way that "I didn't see you" is. #CONFUSION, once you start seeing it, is something that can't be unseen. #CONFUSION, in my opinion, should be called out and called out loudly. #CONFUSION is disingenuous. No one sees a bicyclist go through a stop sign and say 'oh yeah, he probably doesn't know that he's supposed to stop. Sign could mean anything really.' But how many news stories do you read or see on tv about people parking in bike lanes or driving in cycletracks or basically doing anything with cars ever that prominently and abundantly feature the word and concept of 'confusion'? So, which is this? Are the drivers in the above picture struggling with the meaning of an arrow and the word only? Are they unable to parse out what they're supposed to do? Have they tried to figure it out, given it the best of efforts, really grabbled with the many things that I could mean, and only unwittingly stumbled into the wrong answer through no fault of their own but through some nearly impossible-to-grasp concept and unclear depiction of it? Or is it #CONFUSION?

White House Plaza closed. I walked by bike on H Street. It was unpleasant and crowded with the other pedestrians and cyclists diverted and maybe even some cyclists and pedestrians who intended to be there in the first place. I think we need a viable non-White House plaza 15th Street cycletrack.

At the grocery store, I parked my bike next to Justin, of the #bikeDC and also of Hill East and we talked about the inadequacy of the bike parking situation, which is obvious and sad. For as many shoppers who arrive by bike (and it's many), the bike parking is just a lame toast rack and a railing. I don't think I'd ever boycott a grocery store over bad bike parking, but maybe I'd pretend to threaten a boycott on the 37th most popular local bike commuter blog. That'd show 'em.

1 comment:

  1. grocery store cyclistNovember 07, 2014 1:48 PM

    Assuming you're talking about the 14th and D St Safeway: You might consider going a couple blocks south to the Harris Teeter on Potomac Ave, which offers not one but two bike racks in the parking garage, as well as multiple U-racks outside. Plus it's a lot brighter and cleaner and has better customer service. And then maybe drop a line to the Safeway letting them know why you're no longer spending your grocery budget there. Or, anyway, that might be what I did :)