That’s my ride. It’s lugging 3 bags of mulch and almost 20 plants. All told, I figure that’s about 700 lbs…. give or take a few hundred. I rode that home from the Home Depot on Elston, a distance of maybe 2.5 miles from the Haus. I make this trip at least once a week: between the Great Spring Fakeout, the birds eating all my seeds, endless mulch runs, and last week the frustrating horror of the Drunken Neighbor Hedgetrimmer Massacre… this has been a tough year for our non-ambulatory plant friends.
Chin up, greenies. It’s a tough year for ambulatory types, too, especially in Logan Square.
To wit: Early May, Kedzie Boulevard. Walking home from the Dill Pickle Co-op (yay!) with my delishies, I availed myself of the friendly services of Señor Crossing Guard at Belden. I waited for the 6 moms with roughly 15 children so we could all cross together. One mama was pushing a carriage about 3 steps behind me. An SUV ran through the painted lines, ignored the signs, ignored the shouts of the crossing guard, nearly hit me – swerved – and Mama had to grab the carriage and swing it with all her might back to sidewalk to avoid having her baby killed right in front of her. Obviously, the 20 or so people involved were very upset. We were also NOT INVISIBLE. Douchebag Driver didn’t care.
This was the second time I’ve seen a driver do that on Kedzie, while the crossing guard was working, and the kiddies were present, in less than 3 weeks. You guys are really swinging for the fences this summer. I’m not sure what you WIN when we lose (the Frogger-like battle to not be murdered by you, I mean) but you sure are committed to smearing the roadways with us. Because it’s NOT just that intersection. It’s on Fullerton, at the Square, where Western and Logan meet by the highway (especially there); with a vengeance on Logan when the Farmer’s Market is on (horns blasting, entitlement issues on full display as you race to get back to, what? The suburbs? Why not stay there ALWAYS?) and wherever there are more of YOU than US (one reason I love the Hipster Highway – we own that strip). Pedestrians on their own street are just obstacles for Precious, Important You. Bikes are just moving targets.
Last week, with my flowers, as depicted above, I’m on Elston, in the bike lane. People are pouring out of the Pet Smart exit like the strip mall is on fire. But they’re rushing to get closer to a red light, which strikes me as… odd. Does it matter how fast you get to the place where you’re just going to stop anyway? What do you win? Do you not understand the laws of physics? Or just the law? La Ley, peeps? A woman pulls half out of the drive, half on the sidewalk, half on the bike lane, obscuring both… and so tight against the ass of the car in front of her that there’s NOWHERE to go to get around.
Let’s be Frank and Earnest: I HATE YOU. I hate you and your stupid face! You are everything that is wrong and everyone knows it because you WENT OUT OF YOUR WAY to demonstrate it in a public roadway!
But you know… I’ve got a trailer full of pretty. I’m kinda chill. So I wait. And wait. Standing Still in the middle of an exit lane – which now no one can access anyway, but at least they can’t blame me – staring at the profile of a moron. I say nothing. And my bell has broken (which is sad – I loved my bell!) so I can’t even give the sweet chirrupy Heads Up! that usually serves me so well. Not that it would matter: she can’t move an inch until allll the cars between her and that red light have moved.
And then two other cyclists pulled up behind me….
The male half of the couple just could not let this go. He patiently, firmly, politely explained that she was putting all our lives in danger; that she was breaking the law; that the bike lane is FOR BIKES and not “extra room” for impatient cars… on and on with common sense bordering on genius – and was ignored! She didn’t care. Nothing will make her care. Not until the day they cuff her and she has to watch the detective pull a blood-soaked teddy bear out of what used to be her windshield will this bitch decide to care.
Perhaps you think all (“jerk-store”, “hipster”) adults on bikes are expendable. Fair enough. We don’t like you either. But you don’t think there are kids on bikes? What do you think that little seat on the back is for, people? More and more locals with children are choosing to transport their kids this way – it saves money, gives good exercise, amuses the kids, makes parking a breeze… and is a safe, viable choice as long as drivers on the road don’t decide to be homicidal douchebags.
Also, you can’t make the argument that parents putting their kids on bikes is unsafe, when their kids are just as unsafe in a stroller on Kedzie. Nowhere is safe when people think the law doesn’t apply to them.
So what’s the problem, peeps? What is so complicated about bike lanes, bike safety, bike laws? Or, for that matter, CAR lanes, CAR safety, CAR laws?
With my freakish psychic powers, I know the very first thing you’re going to say. Don’t. Don’t tell me that old chestnut about “cyclists don’t stop for stop signs” – WE DO. I’ve seen just as many cars blow through stop signs on toddler-filled side streets south of Fullerton as I’ve seen cyclists do the same. Guess which one is going to hurt more? More to the point, why can’t you understand that we are also a vehicle, protected by law, following the rules in the space designated for us? On the occasion that a bike lane is blocked, or under construction, you should behave just as you would were one lane of the boulevard blocked or under construction – WAIT. MERGE. CONTINUE WITH LIFE. There’s no need to spazz out like a psycho – we’re on our way to work or the grocery store, too! We’re just LIKE you! Well, except we’re not destroying the environment and our financial future to get there. Unlike you: the angry jackass in the fossil-fuel-guzzling death trap… with cupholders so you can get fatter while you idle at the light and complain about all the other drivers in “your way”. They say the same about you, buddy. You’re all super-special snowflakes, with uniquely “good” reasons why you no longer have to have consideration for others, and it’s every jerk for him-or-herself. You’re all herd behavior, no herd instinct. Essentially: cows are smarter. You know, you should be grateful we’re not out to get YOU.
Is it envy? A lot of cyclists have rockin’ bodies, and then there’s all that extra folding money for pints at Revolution. Envy doesn’t explain what you do to the pedestrians, though – and there, you’re even worse. You understand that parking in the painted lines of the intersection does NOT shave precious seconds from your commute… it just forces pedestrians farther into the intersection, and maybe gets your hood clipped off by a nice truck hustling to make the left on yellow. I mean, I can hope, right? better you learn THAT way than by killing someone, amiright? I said: AM I RIGHT?
I’m just not sure you car types agree with me on that one. TELL me you don’t WANT to kill children.
Then prove it.
Another side of the coin, from Gridhttp://gridchicago.com/2012/take-back-the-bike-lane/.
You’re really out-doing yourselves, Chicago drivers. And it’s not even July yet.