Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Last Week I...

1. Went to a Bike Maryland meeting. My review is mixed, although I now have had the (dis)pleasure of actually encountering one of the vehicular cycling spawn of Satan advocates in the wild and I'm cautious about doing any more advocacy work with this organization until I am convinced they are advocates for separated infrastructure, or at least, not advocates against it.

2. Rode in my first Critical Mass! It won't be my last.

...but I don't really feel like talking about those things right now. Instead, let's talk about pedestrians, in particular Baltimore pedestrians. What the hell, Baltimore pedestrians? I recognize that pedestrians are our most vulnerable road users and should be protected at all costs and any car (or bike) that hits them is the one who's at fault, not the pedestrian. Whenever I am off my bike, I am a pedestrian, and I would like other road users to look alive and be aware of the very-slow-moving humans among them. Yes, this includes bikes.

But, man, sometimes it's hard to care about pedestrians! Last week I witnessed a man in a motorized wheelchair crossing against the light. In front of a bus. At. Night. Luckily, the bus ground to a halt. That's the worst single example of Baltimore jaywalking I've seen, but on every commute, I have pedestrians literally throwing themselves at me. It's not really better if you're in a car, according to my husband, so it's not a case of pedestrians not understanding that a bike in motion can hurt them.

There's a certain attitude inherent in Baltimore jaywalkers that is different from, say, Pittsburgh jaywalkers. If you are jaywalking in Pittsburgh you do it fast and make sure to look apologetic while you're doing it. Baltimore jaywalkers, though, take their sweet time. They give you an expression that seems to say "yeah, I see you, what are you going to do about it?" as they saunter across the road, only five feet away from the nearest crosswalk. They are a very diverse group in sex, race, and most visibly, age. You'd think an eighty-year-old woman with a cane wouldn't want to take the chance of walking against the light on a moderately-trafficked road during rush hour, but hey, she's managed to live this long and I haven't, so maybe there's things she knows that I don't. Baltimore jaywalkers are the true kings of the road.


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    1. That would be awesome! I can show you around Baltimore for a bit, if you want. I'll email you later this week. This will be fun!

      Looked up some stuff about the National Bike Summit, I would be there if it wasn't going on during the week.

  2. Also nothing has made me want to own and operate a car more than these vehicular cycling douchebags.