Thursday, September 20, 2012

On September 19, 2012, I reflected upon all the ways motorists have annoyed me on my bike. On the day of the Great Dane, keep an extra bit of attention for man and animal on the road. Two days of summer remain.

You cannot trust the motorists in Muskegon to avoid collisions with bicyclists or animals. I am accusing in tone here, but I am forgiving. Motorists are not used to bicyclists on the road. It is too rare. I had no way to cross US-31 at Sternberg but to drive in the eastbound right lane over the freeway. A woman in the mini-van crested the hill, and saw me. Saw me pedaling half a foot ball field ahead of her. She leaned on her horn. In this case, I decided to get out of her way, heading into the gutter, which is where the glass settles. It's like gold settling in the low spots of a creek. I saw her go driving on by, and I resisted the urge to flip her off. The flip off works better when the bike still commands the lane. I haven't flipped off any drivers yet this cycling season but I have thought about effectiveness.
I saw a moped driver riding the center turn lane on Getty, near the corner of Getty and Sherman. When there's no bicycle lane, that's probably the safest place for a moped to roll. However, he was running an increased risk of attracting the attention of men driving a police cruiser.
Since it is likely that I will encounter motorists who haven't been briefed, it is best that I stay away from the killing lanes. On Henry South, I can make most of the way going from parking lot to parking lot. The traffic calm streets of Roosevelt Park are never the place where aggressive drivers show up. Sherman, Henry, and the bridges over US-31 have a high chance of turning me into road kill. I can think of one man on a bicycle, a migrant worker, who was killed hit and run on the overpass near Mercy Hospital. That happened during the colder months around January 2010. I should look it up in the paper, just to see if the motorist had been found and given a chance to deal with the tragedy. Not far to blame the motorist because there's no place for a bicyclist to cross safely, using a lane dedicated to bicycles.
Wednesday morning, I took a cab to work, with my bike tucked inside behind the front passenger seats, a trick taught to me by a clever cabbie named Harvey. Harvey is a well read man who repairs bicycles and has a background as a military policeman. We were driving north on McCracken, just south of the Catholic Church, and a Great Dane was laid out on the ground in the bike margin. It had signs of life showing in its eyes, but one could sense the great pain wracking its body as it slipped away. A Norton Shores Police Cruiser had parked to protect the Dane from oncoming traffic, and the officer was bending down to read its tag. The dane wore a handsome collar, so it was certainly a cherish pet at a home nearby. That's the first dog I've seen in the road kill this summer. I doubt it held on until a veterinarian could be found for it. I've seen a few cats and more than a hundred birds.
The drivers cannot help themselves. It's up to the pedestrians, the nature enthusiasts and the pet owners to keep the life away from the inanimate cars.
Rob Kirkbride lost his goldendoodle Bauer to an inattentive motorist, and the community employed social media to find the motorist. 
Share the Road tips. How very laughable that motorists will think of these as they listen to talk radio:

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