Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Blood on the Road - Death on the Highway

My ride was interrupted on the Fourth of July by a fatal car accident, reported on in the media here. I try to get out on the bike as often as possible, as a Pinarello is like chicken soup for the cyclist's soul. During the past month I've ridden in the morning, the evening, early-afternoon, late-afternoon and even high noon. I've had young kids stare at me in wonderment, utterly thrilled by the sight of a bedazzled bike rider in matching kit aboard AdrenalinaItaliana (either that or they're wondering what grown-up could be strange enough to be willing to pedal around suburban Pittsburgh in Lycra while their parents throw coffee cups at him). I've had cute girls whistle (unfortunately at my ride partner that day), dogs give chase and I even played chicken with Western PA's resident rat: the white-tail deer.

And unfortunately, on almost every ride at least one motorist objects to my being out there! And yet I'm usually alone, riding 2cm to the left of the white line that marks the edge of the road - and I've been doing this long enough to know how to make things as easy as possible for overtaking traffic!

Thus far this summer I've been hit by a car, swerved at, brake checked, spat at, swore at, and even attacked by a freakin' senior citizen road-rager. What is WRONG with you people?! Why is it that when you slide behind the wheel of your car, you become sociopathic monsters who think you have the right to kill other human beings because either you don't like skinny guys in Lycra riding bikes, or you think you're Douglas MacArthur and that a 10-sec delay in going about your business is going to cost the lives of 100 Allied soldiers?!?

Guess what?! You're not that important! You're just a normal boring human being living a monotonous life like most of the rest of us. You've got you're own drama, of course, and you think you're no doubt special and privileged, but that still doesn't give you the right to treat your Sunday drive like a stage of the Death Race 2000. And you shouldn't anyway, because the odds are that I'm going to either avoid you, because I've learned to always be vigilant, or I'm just going to turn you in to the police after I refuse to be baited by your foul mouth, I take a picture of you driving your car as if it was a Tiger Tank, get a picture of your license plate, find a friendly witness who'll confirm the previous, and then drop it all off at the County Police barracks. A third result is that you end-up dead yourself like the poor passenger in one of the two cars involved in that head-on collision on the 4th. WTF?! Idiots!

And a special shout-out to the young woman who was talking on her mobile phone as she passed me in a huff on Route 88 heading north, approaching the intersection with Brightwood Road, and almost slammed her pregnant ass into the car stopped in front of her that was waiting to make a legal left turn onto a side road. I'm sure your parents would have been really proud of you for dying in the name of speeding and multi-tasking. Idiot.

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