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Vicious cycles - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Vicious cycles
In joint second place for "idiot of the day" award today are the following:

1. The girl who meandered out in front of me as I was cycling carefully along the road past WHSmiths, which has recently been changed from pedestrian-only-but-everybody-cycles-anyway to cycles-and-drivers-please-consider-pedestrians. I braked sharply, saying "hey!"* as I did so. She turned round, curled her lip at me, and said "It's no cycling on here," and carried on walking. I caught up with her, determined to at least give her the correct information, and said "No, really, it's just been changed." A delightful conversation ensued:
her [in sneery how-stupid-are-you tone]: "No, ACTUALLY you'll find it's NO CYCLING on this road."
me [in exaggeratedly patient as-if-to-a-child tone]: "ACTUALLY, it isn't. If you look at the sign there, it says it's both, and just says 'please cycle carefully'."
her [triumphantly despite being proved wrong]: "Yeah, see, PLEASE CYCLE CAREFULLY, and you weren't, were you."
me: "Um, I was. That's how I stopped in time. But you've got to take some responsibility yourself for looking where you're going."
her: "yeah, like, whatever, I was just walking in a straight line."
me: "You veered out in front of me without looking!"
her: "oh, yeah, WHATEVER, but you're WRONG" [flounces into Office]
Well done on getting the last word there, Ms Moron. The thing is, if we're going to play that game, I can get an even laster word here, so: "ACTUALLY, since you take up three times as much space as a normal pedestrian and are apparently twice as stupid, you need to be six times as careful to look before swinging your lardy arse out into the road, otherwise you're liable to find your vast sweaty behind being unceremoniously sodomised by an angry bicycle."

2. The couple who stepped out in front of me without looking, wearing all dark clothes, in the dark. "Woah!"* I shouted, as I screeched to a halt just in time, "look where you're going!" To which, with dazzling repartee, the bloke replied (prefacing it with the sort of noise small boys make when they want to suggest that someone is retarded) "Why don't you look where you're going?" ... Um, I did. That's how come I saw two nearly-invisible pedestrians in time to brake. That's how come you didn't end up tangled in my spokes. MORONS.

* I've taken to shouting things like "hey!" and "woah!" as a hopefully non-offensive and non-confrontational way of alerting people to my presence which (unlike ringing the bell) leaves both hands free to brake, and (also unlike the bell) stands a chance of being heard even by people whose ears are busy with the iPod or the mobile.

But the runaway winner was... a Stagecoach bus coming along St Andrews Street with no lights, in the dark, at the point where there isn't really room for two vehicles to pass even when one of them's a bike. It's amazing how hard it is to see even something the size of a bus when your eyes are attuned to looking for headlights. Fortunately I managed to get out of the way in time, but was too gobsmacked to get the bus's number, or indeed to do anything but bellow "LIGHTS! Your LIGHTS!" and gesticulate at the offending unlit objects. He beeped twice as he passed me, and when I looked back the rear lights were on, so maybe that was a "thank you" for reminding him. Who knows? But, WTF? This is somebody who gets paid to drive a vehicle!

I feel like such an old codger this week, but ... are people actually getting more careless (and more belligerent about defending their carelessness), or am I just noticing it more and/or allowing myself to get wound up by it more? Part of me wants to blame 'rights culture' -- if people are brought up to believe that they have a Right to do whatever they want, whenever they want, then they're not going to get into the habit of taking responsibility for their actions, and thinking before acting. After all, why think if you know you're in the right? Obviously I'm not suggesting that people consciously think "I will walk out into the road without looking, because I have a right not to get run over"; more that the cult of individual rights makes people think more about what they're "entitled" to rather than about their responsibilities as members of society.

And if all that sounds a bit heavy based on something as trivial as people not looking where they're going, then all I can say is blame Cambridge's traffic for raising my blood pressure. And thank goodness it's Friday.
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Comments
(Deleted comment)
From: scat0324 Date: November 7th, 2005 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Nothing is as good as the reaction to an Airzound.

HONK
claerwen From: claerwen Date: November 4th, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was going to have a little rant here about how people seem to be getting more stupid on the roads, but actually I think I'll just go and write a longer rant in my own journal, because lately they're stupid in a multiple-bruises way. I'm glad it's not just me shouting "Hey!" in sharp tones and catching up with people to tell them why the thing they just did was dumb.
claerwen From: claerwen Date: November 4th, 2005 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, well, I would have done, if lj hadn't eaten my post. Anyway, I have had enough of people who allow their dogs to throw themselves at my wheels, drivers in cycle lanes on the wrong side of the road, people remonstrating with me for choosing to make an emergency stop rather than be hit by such drivers (I should carry on and take the risk), people calling me back to remonstrate with me about the behaviour of cyclists other than me, invisible unlit cyclists ploughing into me from side-roads, people who cycle close enough behind that they clip my back wheel, people who cycle on the right, people who overtake and then brake as they pull in front of me, and, actually, people on roads in general, because half of them are fools on wheels and probably quite enough of a danger to themselves that they should be banned from taking part in the sack race. Lunatics.
cerberuspuppy From: cerberuspuppy Date: November 4th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only pedestrian I ever actually hit was a portuguese tourist, who looked the wrong was as she stepped out across the road in front of the senate house. I managed to scoop her up on the handlebars and carry her about 10 yds before finally stopping :) Cars, on the other hand, I have hit plenty of times, 'cos they never see you and never consider you. W@nkers.

Well done for venting so articulately!
the_elyan From: the_elyan Date: November 4th, 2005 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
One answer (though not one I'd recommend) is to move (or re-move - I forget) to London.

That way you can cut through all the questioning and metaphysical specualtion on the nature of thought, belief and action, because by now you'd already be dead.

having been a pedestrian in Lonjdon for five years, I know this to be true. I partiocularly recommend the crossing on Coventry Street just past the Troc, but before Wardour Street - sheer carnivorous automotive poetry.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 5th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Not just you, yesterday

After a woman speaking on a hand-held mobile phone driving a new Landrover Discovery at 85 miles an hour (when she passed me) and then braked (because the road narrowed from 2 lanes on our side, to 1, in a way which every driver of the A40 knows about between Witney and Oxford, and is clearly signposted), I called the cops and reported her.

Maybe it was the weaving within the lane, maybe it was the badly-secured Thule plastic carrier waving about, maybe it was pique at being carved up, maybe it was the mobile phone, maybe it was the bottle blondness, maybe it was the fact that she had a child IN THE FRONT SEAT OF THE 4 x 4 WHILE DRIVING LIKE A LUNATIC, but I called the cops. So at least she's been logged and if they catch her again she'll have form of a sort.

Apparently in common law the pedestrian has an untrammeled right to jaywalk. The Queen's Highway being free to all to walk upon and all that jazz. Corrections welcome on this legal point. :-)
pjc50 From: pjc50 Date: November 5th, 2005 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Walking on the road

As far as I know yes, pedestrians have a right to walk in the road (but not negligently). When I first heard the term "jaywalking" it was a long time before I could understand what it was and why anybody could possibly think it was illegal.
covertmusic From: covertmusic Date: November 9th, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Walking on the road

Because it is in America and therefore the entire English speaking world.

Right?
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