THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Bumps Update #2
It’s time for my first annual Cyclist Report Card, a tradition that goes back minute ago.
I was never great at report cards. My problem was that the longer I was in school the more I was convinced that my goal was not to get good grades, but to spell something funny with my grades. I was know for creating such memorable quotes as “Look Mom and Dad, DABBAFAB!” I was so dang proud of those grades.
As a tribute to my dimwittedness it has taken me all these years to realize that spelling something funny was not the goal, and this may go a long way towards explaining my aversion to both higher levels of education and scrabble. So kids don’t be like Uncle Dan the bus driver and what ever you do, don’t tell my daughter about my grades.
I know just mentioning cyclist in my blog post has made the management at Trimet Jump and scream “NO NOT THIS AGAIN!” and I know there are cycling advocates who think I’m the DBD or Dirty Bus Devil.
Unto all you fools I say “Cool thy Jets” because this is a good thing. Hear me out befor you blow a brain rod.
Now lets look at the cyclist report card.
First the good
Lights: A- up from C-
Nothing fills me with glee like being able to see a cyclist at night. I always wonder what sort of dialog is going through the head of the cyclist without a light.
“I’m the dark cyclist, patrolling my city, no one can touch me, I’m invincible!” or something like that. Anyway, the fact is more lights equals more lives saved. Thank you cyclist.
Sticking Up B+ from D
Sticking up is not robbing people, it means Cyclist telling Cyclist what the hell they are doing wrong. Cyclist policing their own is far better than an automobile trying to teach you by honking. Horns are horrible teachers believe me I had a teacher named Mr. Horn and he.. never mind, lets move on, I don’t want to relive those times. Remember drivers, Horns don’t teach! They just piss off! What helps is peer presure from fellow cyclist so keep sticking up for the right way, you are saving lives.
Path Abuse- C from a C
I’m not talking about a faster cyclist passing a slower cyclist, that’s no problem. I’m talking about three cyclist out for a ride on a busy street all side by side, swerving in and out of a bike lane. I’m talking about making traffic swerve way out of there way just so you can talk to one another during rush hour. Giving a grade here is not as easy as it seems. There is more of this Path Abuse going on but there are way more cyclist today so it’s hard to know if this issue is becoming more frequent overall. I’ll give it a C, so it needs improvement but it’s passing for now.
Helmets: A+ Up From B+
Few things in your life need to be precious but the health of your brain should be one of them. Just saying.
Courtesy Downtown B+ up from C+
Three years ago getting a bus in and out of bike lane was difficult and dangerous. It was as if there was a competition, as if the bus was the man and every cyclist wanted to stick it to the man. Those days are done, I see far more cyclist holding up for me to merge and I always give them a wave or a thumbs up and try to return the favor. There is far more caution by cyclist around big rigs in the crowded streets and this makes me smile every time.
Hand Signals D+ up from F
Years ago I counted every time a cyclist used a hand signal around me. The number can be counted on three fingers and that was for a year. I see a trend starting, now I get that many in a month. Like bike lights I feel this is going to burst into use in the next three years. I’m not going to preach to you about hand signals I’m just going to say, as a driver of a 15 ton, unforgiving, body crushing, nearly blind hunk of metal.. THANK YOU. Next time I want to see a C- at least.
Now the Bad
Speed Differential: C down from C+
Yes there are times you can go faster than traffic on a bike and sometimes on a downhill slope you can go much much faster than the traffic. The danger is this, by increasing your speed you lengthen your travel time when something goes wrong. When that truck turns right in front of you, or a car pulls out or a pedestrian crosses the street without warning, you will not have time to react. Remember it’s never about the law, or who has the right of way, it’s about you getting home safe. This is one of the few areas that cyclist seem to be getting worse but only slightly so. So remember you are not Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, reflexes will not save you if physics refuses to make an exception for your actions.
And the Ugly
Signal Adherence: C+ Down From B-
Stop signs, lights and other traffic control signals should not be treated as cyclist optional. The only dangerous encounter I’ve had with cyclist in the last year came from Cyclist running lights and stop signs unexpectedly after showing they were slowing down to follow the rules. I know what it’s like, when I bike home at 2 AM it’s hard to fight myself into stopping and doing the right thing.
Warning! Grandfather Soap Box Time!
Please! rethink your actions. Humans are beasts of habit and what you do, after a while, you do without thinking. You are a precious precious life and you deserve to enjoy it all in good health. It may seem stupid to wait at a stop sign or light but you deserve it, your health deserves it, your loved ones deserve it. When you give into bad habits you are gambling, remember what they say in Vegas about gambling, the house always wins. It’s only a matter of time when you gamble with bad habits.
Over all I say.. GOOD ON YA! way to go cyclist. don’t let a few bad grades upset you.The facts are obvious, you are kicking ass and getting better.
The best advocate for cycling has become cyclist. Your improvements speaks volumes to the world around you in powerful dare I say “world changing” ways. Your actions speak louder than any advertisement campaign, or any spokesperson blowing hard in the media. So riders who are doing it right, you are winning the battle with your good actions.
I’m proud of all you and I think that’s good enough grades to go up on the refrigerator.
Remember, your good efforts are good for you, good for cycling, good for my city and that’s my entire world.
Oh did I and mention your grades spells ABCABDCC! I think that Abcabdcc was a ancient Mesopotamian philosopher.
At this point I would figure out your GPA but remember my grades when I started? DABBAFAB, guess what class the F was in? Now you know why I’m a bus driver and not figuring out your GPA, working at NASA or an accountant.
I’ll see you next year, remember to do your homework, Roll Easy and maybe with a little better grades you’ll get into a good college.
Love you all, yes! even you cyclist.
PS: The month I encounter 15 differnent Users of hand signals I will throw a $1000 dollar pizza party for all cyclist in Portland. I’m not kidding.. Here is the funny thing, I know that day is coming and I’m excited to see it.