Friday, January 08, 2010

Road Rage Driver sentencing

Story in the LA Times about the sentencing of the doctor who slammed his brakes in front of those cyclists last year.

You can read the whole bunch if you want, but the comments that bothered me the most are those from people who relate their being inconvenienced, basically, by cyclists. The law is that people are supposed to share the road, but many people seem to think that they have a right to drive the speed limit or greater at all times, and that a cyclist in front of them making them slow down is inconsiderate at best, and violating the law at worst. There are calls for cyclists to stay in the bike lanes (which is getting to be like a ghetto) when the streets don't have bike lanes to begin with. So the writers are implicitly saying cyclists don't have the right to be on the streets without bike lanes.

Anyway. I think all the anger and frustration with cyclists isn't really anything to do with cyclists at all. I think it has to do with people being impatient because they overschedule themselves and are always running behind, and thus sensitive to every single perceived obstacle to their progress. So this is the comment I submitted:
  • Some of the most offensive comments on here are from people who THINK they are being reasonable. Several people recount their own stories of being forced to [gasp] slow down [shudder] because of bicyclists in front of them.

    You know, it isn't your personal road, people. You have to share it. You may have conveniently forgotten, but you have had to slow down for other cars many times each week. You have had to slow down for pedestrians. And yes, you have had to slow down for cyclists. And yet you come here and seriously argue that because you have been delayed due to cyclists, that somehow this is a mitigating factor that somehow excuses attempted murder.

    The real problem here is not the cyclist. The real problem is all of you who feel indignant that you are being impeded by cyclists and slow drivers and pedestrians.

    Why don't get your damn schedule in order, and leave with enough time to make it to your destination without speeding and rushing around? That way you won't be driven into paroxysms of rage when you find yourself unable to drive as recklessly as you are accustomed.
    If you can't manage that, then get a driver, take the bus, or [gasp] get on a bike. Just do something so that you don't have such idiotic anger at the prospect of having to share the road.
    Posted by: Yoshiyahu Jan 8, 2010 3:22:29 PM

It's something I am very aware of, now that I don't drive. Sometimes the train is late. But I never stress, because there's no way my work or my family is going to be mad at me for the train being late. It's out of my hands. But when I was driving to work, there was always the feeling that I could make good time, or take shortcuts, or so something to cut the commute time, and all my hard work in being a sneaky and speedy driver could be ruined if I was stuck behind a cyclist. Not that I've ever been stuck behind a cyclist on my freeway commutes, but yeah. I am probably adding years to my life expectancy by taking the train and shedding all the stress from driving and feeling rushed.

1 comment:

dave said...

I think you nailed it! I'll never forget a driver instructer fifteen years ago telling me, " Don't use your vehicle as a time machine"