Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From the View of the Street

(Editor's note: I am writing this during the early hours of Tuesday morning and I have not yet gone to bed; therefore, it is still Monday in my mind. Forgive any references to "today" or "yesterday" as Monday and Sunday, respectively, as technically they will be one day behind.)

(That said, this is not an anti-car blog, neither is this an anti-car entry. I have owned two cars in the past, and one of these days life might result in my getting another car; I still have a driver's license in case of emergencies - I just believe that people sometimes forget how much control they actually have. Ironically, it has taken being a pedestrian and cyclist for me to realize that. These are observations on ridiculously haphazard driving habits that are considered by some to be normal. As BikeSnobNYC has so eloquently said, "idiots travel by foot, car, and bicycle"; rest assured that I have plenty of material lined up for the "foot" and "bicycle" portions, which will soon follow. Thank you for your understanding. Without further ado:)

Traffic-wise, the last two days have been particularly adventurous. Sunday brought the rain, while today threatened rain but instead brought pockets of unexpected traffic not abnormal in the West Valley[-ish area]. I'm not exactly certain what it is about either situation that brings the worst of driving habits out of people. While somewhat influenced by outward elements such as slick roads or too many cars, there is a degree of selfishness and disregard that seems to compete for being the utmost reason behind such habits. (Seriously, someone should make a bumper sticker that says something to the effect of "One a$$hole decision, a lifetime in traffic.") For example, it seemed during the last couple of days that most drivers were either not looking both ways (for other cars, pedestrians, or cyclists), were cutting in front of other cars, speeding towards stop signs (leaving skid marks and smelling of rubber), or trailing behind left-turning cars well after the opposing light had turned green. It was almost as if their inner jerk hadn't seen the sun for a while and was making up for lost time.

I appreciate being observant when it comes to driving trends and habits as much as I don't because it tends to anger me. Actually, what tends to anger me as much as frighten is when I see indicating factors that a car accident has ended on the sidewalk, not on the road - already horrible in itself. I recently saw one of those new bus benches - thick, ridiculously heavy beige plastic - smashed to pieces, bent, and broken. The middle seat was nowhere to be found. Now, I understand that life or the universe or God (or whatever) allows what eventually happens to happen (and should the worst happen we have to deal the best we can [if we survive]) - but when it boils down to it, we have a say as to whether the decisions we make are for the better of all or for the better of our need to get somewhere a little faster. That said, I'm so glad that I wasn't sitting on that bus bench. Blood belongs in the body, not on the pavement.

Cars are machines. They can be efficient modes of transportation, or they can be weapons. I have a feeling that if more people really and truly realized the power source behind the operating mechanisms (read: the general you) we would see a sizable percentage decrease in what are considered relatively avoidable accidents. Let's face it: such accidents are as much a result of oversight or being in the wrong place at the wrong time as they are a result of being a f#$!%ing jerk. The sooner the latter is realized and dealt with, perhaps more accidents can be avoided.

To be continued...


  1. Perhaps instead of listing their MPG, Cars should display their weight. And why is it when cars go out of control they seem to seek out bus benches, fire hydrants, pedestrians in crosswalks or that lone bicycle rider?

  2. My brother lives in New York, and he recently told me this horrible story about a car chase that occurred in Greenpoint, on Manhattan Ave (a very small, cramped street; not even two buses heading north and south can go by each other safely)... a woman standing on the sidewalk was hit by the offending driver and she was hurled nine doors down. Nine businesses. Now, this was an extenuating circumstance, but this happens to pedestrians who have the right of way, cyclists who have the right of way, fellow drivers who have the right of way... an accident, I understand. An accident that kills someone, especially when they are not in a car is beyond me. As you see, I could go on - especially when it comes to hit and runs... it hurts something fierce.