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Slow the he’ll down

December 12, 2011

Yes, when you bike to work, you have the opportunity to notice things that you might otherwise have missed – the cacophony of geese rising off the river, a raptor alighting on a telephone pole, a yard sign from an angry Gering resident . . .

Spotted on Pacific Boulevard

OK, so I probably wouldn’t have missed seeing that sign. (Well, actually, I would have, since I would have traveled on another road).

Just in case you can’t read the sign, here’s a closeup:

The pseudo-scribbled-out word appears to have an apostrophe in it. Thus, the title of this blog post and the ability to just skirt the use of a profanity.

The blue car parked near the sign has a significant dent in its side. I wonder if that’s what sparked the resident’s ire.

I have to say that I agree with him/her. People need to slow the he’ll down.

Just past the curve in the road where this sign is posted is a park with playground equipment. I’ve seen kids riding their bikes in the vicinity. It would be way too easy for a tragedy to happen here.

But I’m not just referring to the need for people to slow the he’ll down on this particular street. Other drivers need to take a deep breath and slow down, too.

When Bugman bikes to work, he takes Avenue B. He has to. There really are no other good options. I’ve biked Avenue B before a couple of times, and believe you me – if there were other options, we’d take them!

It’s absolutely no fun competing against those handful of automobile drivers who think that bikes have no right to be on the road and that your presence on the asphalt is a MAJOR AFFRONT to them because they need to get to that red light up ahead RIGHT NOW or they will DIE!

Having to wait for traffic to clear to pass a bicycle doesn’t take nearly as long as waiting for a construction-slowed coal train to pass, yet people don’t honk at trains. It won’t do any good. But some people think they can intimidate cyclists off the road by blaring their horns.

This morning, Bugman was honked at, yet again – this time apparently by a driver who zoomed past him to cut into the hospital parking lot. He gave her the benefit of the doubt, saying that perhaps she had tried to pass him and gotten honked at by another driver, but he nonetheless felt threatened. He was shaken enough to follow her into the parking lot to see if she was rushing to the ER.

Nope.

She got out of her vehicle and ambled into the hospital, talking on her cell phone.

Bugman has had so many negative encounters with people turning into the hospital that he has developed a  hypothesis: some of the hospital workers are trying to drum up business by creating a few cyclist casualties for the ER to put back together again.

He (and I!) are concerned that one of these days, someone in a rush to get to work will cut just a little too close.

Those of you who are courteous to other vehicles – whether they be pickup truck, tractor or bicycle – and who drive cautiously in residential neighborhoods, I thank you!

Those always-running-late drivers – take a deep breath and think about how late you’ll be if you have to wait for the cops to clean a splatted cyclist or grade school kid off the road.

Slow the he’ll down, please!

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Rick Myers permalink
    December 13, 2011 10:19 am

    Well said. Also, that corner sign has caught my attention as I go by it each day to see my father at Northfield Villa. The combination of that particular corner and the nearby Gering High School where most drivers are still learning has been the site of several accidents over the years.

  2. December 13, 2011 7:43 pm

    I’ve often wondered what the best ways to alert car/truck drivers to the presence of bikers and bike rules of the road would be. Signs? Adding bike rules to driving tests? City-wide biker safety and road rules education? I don’t really know. Yours and Bugmans’ stories aren’t the first I’ve heard though…I have a friend whose been clipped a few times by cars when he’s been riding to and from work.

    So far I’ve been fortunate in my biking commutes…could be where I’m biking too (out by the airport). I also think that the fact I have bright red saddlebags on my bike helps…makes me look as wide as a motorbike, so cars/trucks give me the same distance as they would a motorbike.

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      December 13, 2011 8:32 pm

      I have a “slow vehicle” triangle on my bike bag, but I still get honked at on occasion. It’s usually certain streets where the honking occurs, though, and they are always streets that I would prefer to avoid if I could. I sure hope this transportation planning thing takes off. A change in driver education might help, too. I was amazed when I moved from college town in Iowa to another in Illinois and experienced the difference in driver attitude towards cyclists.

  3. December 13, 2011 7:55 pm

    Well stated!

  4. Jennifer Schwartz permalink
    December 13, 2011 8:03 pm

    I actually talked to the child who lives at the home. And yes, the dent was from a car traveling too fast around this corner. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but the speeding makes the front yard an unpopular place to play. Since the road is one I often travel on in the mornings, the sign has encouraged me to slow down. Great article!!!

  5. Katie Bradshaw permalink*
    December 19, 2011 12:49 pm

    Had a woman in a pickup truck behind me in the CAR this morning who was supremely irritated that traffic on Avenue B south of the highway was going the SPEED LIMIT (gasp!), and kept switching lanes so she could hurry and get to the red light and the several cars already waiting there. When she got caught behind me and rode 6 inches from my bumper (I was in the left lane because I was making a left turn, so I wasn’t about to move out of the way), she turned on her right and left turn signals alternately. Not sure if she was frantically trying to figure out a way around me of if that was some sort of whackadoo road rage signal. Jeepers!

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