Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Urban Jungle

Nobody cares anymore. Maybe they never did, who knows.

Chattanooga Street, 8:10 AM. This preferred bike route is great except at 8 AM. That's when the kids are being dropped off at school, 2 blocks from the 48 bus stop. This AM, there were 4 cars double parked in the direction I was headed, NB, on what's a pretty narrow street. I hesitated because down the road there was a car in the oncoming lane, but eventually I ascertained that it was also double parked. I moved to the oncoming lane and moved to pass the 4 double parkers.

After I passed, the front car in the line of double parkers had finished their drop off and put it into gear. The driver quickly figured out that I was in front of them and they were really going to have to jam on the accelerator to get past me before reaching the car double parked in the oncoming lane. I was going about 15 MPH (this school does not yet have a 15 MPH speed limit) and flinched as I heard the roar of the motor as I was passed. The driver swerved back into the lane just in time for... the 8 year old child who was exiting the double parked car to come out from behind the back of the double parked car! I'm not sure if the driver ever saw the child as he was probably focused on me, but the 8 year old jumped back. There's all sorts of wrong here.

Valencia and 14th, 8:18 AM. I'm headed down Valencia to make a right turn on 14th Street. There is a car in the bike lane just at 14th, with its right turn signal on, waiting to make a turn on green. This is good - that's the proper place to make that right turn from, and "waiting" means they aren't t-boning the pedestrians crossing 14th. The car makes their right turn and I prepare to make mine. At this point the SFPD cruiser in the primary travel lane makes an unsignalled right turn going through the apex tightly and cutting off my line. Bad bad bad. Had I been going straight I would have been on the pavement for sure. I caught up to the cop at South Van Ness and gave him the stare down, but the only person better at a stare down than an aggrieved cyclist is a cop.

Division Street Rotary, 8:24 AM. This spot is very dodgy. Car lane and bike lane entering the rotary, and a reasonable amount of pedestrian traffic. I see a pedestrian on the right, partially blocked from view by the parked cars. I move to the left side of the bike lane, slow, and stick my hand straight out to signal (and block!) the three cyclists behind me from rolling the stop, and when I get to the stop line I set my bike diagonally, unclip and put my foot down, arm still extended, and look straight at the pedestrian. He smiles and says "Thanks!", at which point one of the cyclists shoots the very small gap between me and the car to my left and runs the sign full speed. I look at the pedestrian and say "I tried" and he shrugs and continues to cross the crosswalk, at which point the car to my left decides to enter the rotary, almost smashing the pedestrian in the process.

What is with you people?


Doug said...

The answer would take too long, Murph, and would involve a long diatribe about predatory sociopathic societal tendencies, where people are considered objects, and basic humanity is subjugated to the incessant battle for social status and dominance...oh well. I want a beer.

sanfrancyclist said...

I hate commutes like this. I can go weeks without one, and then have two or three in a row. I sometimes find myself taking the bus for a day when this happens to break the bad juju - it just gets too depressing.

The thing is most drivers and cyclists comport themselves well. It takes only a few to really eff things up. said...

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