Is it Open Season on Bikers Yet?
(In the aftermath of NaNoWriMo, I have been doing final edits on my book from last year. This Monday I am featuring a classic column from last year. It’s a topic that still gives me facial twitches.)
Yesterday I was cleaning and playing Rock Band because that’s what you do when you don’t go outside. Today I am doing some editing, learning some new software packages to make myself more attractive to a potential employer, worshipping Steve Jobs as the God he is and drinking a Raspberry Woodchuck Cider. So life is good.
My Mom called. She heard what I said about birthdays as a kid and wanted to let everyone know that we weren’t destitute when I was growing up and she didn’t make my sister and I share a birthday cake. Here is the conversation:
Mom: Your sister and I have a correction. You never had to share a birthday cake.
Me: Yes we did.
Mom: No you didn’t. Your sister doesn’t remember that and neither do I. You did have a combination cake for graduation.
Me: No, we were on Heather Drive. It was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and white lettering.
Mom: You are making it up.
Me: I am not. I remember it. It was in the kitchen.
Mom: How old were you?
Me: I don’t know. 2nd or 3rd grade.
Mom: Nadine doesn’t remember. 3rd grade? Your sister wasn’t even born then!
Me: YES SHE WAS! She is 4 years younger than me. If I was in 3rd grade, she would have been in Kindergarten. Look I don’t care if you don’t remember it, I do.
Mom: Why do you have to tell everyone?
Me (in my head) Wait till the book comes out. (out loud) It’s what I do.
Welcome to my family.
My family is great, honestly. They have been very supportive, honestly. The fact that my Mom is not reading this because I have the mouth of a sailor on shore leave is perfectly fine with me. In fact I chewed her ear off for nearly an hour ranting about my latest pet peeve, obnoxious bikers.
First let me say I am not talking about motorcycles, so all the Hells Angels, leather clad weekend warriors and other bike enthusiasts can stand down. Nor am I talking about professional cyclists such as the ones I follow during the Amgen Bike Tour. I am talking about the Bay Area, Self-Important, Holier than Thou, Entitlement Minded, Selfish, A-Hole bike riders. You know which ones I am talking about.
You see them every day in the City. They are the ones full of the self-important, too-cool-for-school vibe. They refuse to obey any of the rules of the road. They speed through red lights at intersections, they cut off cars and pedestrians alike, they ride on the sidewalk, they run into your vehicle and assault your property because it’s your fault your “fossil fuel, pollution spewing assault on Mother Nature” car has the audacity to be on the same street they are on let alone be in the place they want to ride. Yeah, it’s my fault that you ran into my car and you won’t pay for any damage you caused. You will just scream, spit, harass and then try to arrest ME?! Did I just fall down a rabbit hole?
You did if you are in San Francisco. You see, there is a monthly event dedicated to insanity called Critical Mass and it gives the rest of the nation another reason to laugh at us. Critical Mass is a leaderless, awareness protest the last Friday of every month. While other cities seem to be able to deal with this type of event due in part to considerate cyclists, the event in San Francisco is pure anarchy. A great many cyclists refuse to obey traffic rules, hit cars, pedestrians, cause damage, curse and behave like a bunch of buffoons and of course, the police don’t do a thing. Even if the offense happens right in front of them. I can’t blame the San Francisco Police Department really, they have the lowest case resolution rate in the State, have been plagued with corruption issues and just don’t seem to have the energy or balls to actually apprehend law breakers. If you think it’s just me being a pill, let’s hear from someone else.
Matthew posted this on the new SFCriticalMass blog: “Friday was the first time that I actually encountered Critical Mass. I was leaving work and I tried unsuccessfully many times to simply cross the street (I was walking). I finally just went for it, when I was knocked by a cyclist. I yelled “excuse me, pedestrians have the right away!” Four cyclists stopped and proceeded to yell “F%$K YOU.” over and over again. One got off his bike and said “what are you going to do?” He got back on his bike and called me a “F%$king Pu$$y”. I managed to cross the street and see several of the cyclists kicking cars that were trying to cross the street with the light. These people should not be allowed to break traffic laws and disrupt traffic the way they do. I was assaulted physically and verbally. Something needs to be done.”
Something needs to be done indeed Matthew. I’m all for supporting bike riding and driving less but this is a totally different animal. These bikers need to learn some manners and this self-entitlement attitude just needs to stop.
Hell, I can’t even go to a wine tasting without running into them, literally. You see them all over the wine country. The lanes of Sonoma are full of them. They take up the entire road, forcing you to poke along at 10 miles an hour. They do this on roads that were designed for automobiles and paid for with my tax dollars. I don’t mind sharing the road but I resent them taking up the entire thing and daring me to run them down. Guess what? I just might do that. Open Season doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea right now. It’s a way of culling the herd. We are overpopulated anyway.
I know there are considerate bikers out there just like there are considerate smokers but this is frustrating. These bikers are the equivalent of PETA or the people that protest shit and have no idea what they are protesting like the ones who protested water.
Haven’t heard of that? Oh, this is a doozy! Penn & Teller had a pretty girl circulate a petition to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide. This garnered hundreds of signatures without one person knowing exactly what it was they wanted to ban. They were told, truthfully, the side effects from mass ingestion of DHMO include excessive sweating, excessive urination, and vomiting among other things. Nuclear plants use this, as do chemical plants, Styrofoam companies and farmers spray this in your food. Your babies ingest this for crying out loud! What is it? Di (two) Hydrogen and Monoxide (1 oxygen) is what? Yes, H2O. Water. They signed a petition to ban water!
This started in 1989 at UC Santa Cruz as a joke to illustrate how if something sounds scary, people will think It is regardless of the facts. Are we dumbasses? Sort of but also I think a lot of “socially conscious” people are joiners instead of informed participants. When people just join things without any kind of intellectual buy in, they can turn into dupes at best and rude, invasive, annoying and dangerous asshats at worse. Just like my bikers!
So here is the bottom line, you have no right to damage my property, assault my person or impede my egress on lawful byways that I have paid for. If you cannot share and abide by the same rules I do, you need to have your bike melted down, used for scrap and will have to walk or take public transportation to your destinations. You don’t get a car because if you are that annoying on a bike, I shudder to think what you are like in a Prius.