14 January 2010

I hang my head in shame everytime I turn the ignition key

Cyclist takes advantage of urban decay. Photo from a Wall Street Journal article San Francisco's Treasure Island

Facebook accounts that openly advocate running cyclists off the road. Doctors that deliberately cause accidents to harm bikers. It is a war out there but I think we're winning. Even in LA, officials are discussing how problematic auto-centric cities are. I feel these clashes are inevitable and necessary for a long-lasting, meaningful challenge to the automobile's dominance of our cities. Car culture ruined the potential livability of modern American cities, yet we're still stuck in this mindset that cars must always have the right of way and any challange causing insane levels of tension. Otherwise rational and intelligent human beings, temporarily lose their sanity when their god-given right to accelerate an internal combustion engine is hampered by human powered vehicle.

I've been hit by three cars and physically assaulted by one driver in the last ten years of commuting in one of America's most bike-friendly towns. I've had and seen plenty of near misses also. Just the other day, I watched a young woman get hit by a car just a few meters in front of me. Not to mention the countless blood-boiling verbal altercations. I have said it before and I'll say it again, the amount of caution one must exercise in traffic should be directly proportionate to the weight and power of one's mode of transport. People will do stupid shit. Kids will chase a ball into the street. Skateboarders will bomb a red light. Cyclists will swerve in traffic. Yes, everyone has a responsibility for their own safety but when you are behind the wheel of an auto, you've got to humble yourself to your killing potential and chill the fuck out.

We're not going to wait for 'the collapse' to take over. We already are, for the sake of everyone who's jam packed in the city.