Wednesday, January 5

Rise of the Moto-Fascists

As the weather improves the road conditions worsen. We've had freeze-thaw three days in a row now and the stuff that's left over is solid, lumpy, and now as the temps approach freezing, glassy and slick. I actually had to throw a foot down once on my ride in to keep upright and then lost my rear wheel for a split second later in my ride. The upside is that the dry patches are now much bigger than the frozen patches and for the most part you can ride around the ice.

Still a strange absence of the moto-fascists. I even had an extended cab diesel pickup give me a whole lane as he passed. Usually they don't slow down or swerve unless they have to stop to extricate my mangled bike frame from their wheel wells.I had expected swarms of them around the elementary schools I pass, but there was nary a one gunning the engines in their SUPs (Sport Utility Phones, the newest rage) to gain traction on the ice and exceeding the residential speed limits they expect everyone else to abide by. Once school is back in full swing the moto-fascists will be out in force though. It's just too cold to send kids out in this kind of weather. So dad/mom will hustle the rugrats into the SUP, fire up the Now Network and commence the daily ritual of ignoring the world at large for the tinny voices in his/her ear.

And what about the mindset that kids can't walk or ride a bike to school anymore? I do see a few kids riding and walking to the schools I pass, but there are far more chauffeured kids than those going under their own power. As a kid I would have walked or ridden my bike to school if it had been possible. I really wanted to. And I fully believe my parents would have allowed me to do either if we hadn't always lived in the middle of nowhere. They weren't afraid of moto-fascists running me down. They were cool with me playing near the street and riding my bike actually on pavement, with no helmet, nothing to protect my noggin but my bowl haircut.

I call them moto-fascists because I feel I shouldn't lump all motorists in together under one label during one of my rants. To be fair, most people drive responsibly and try not to kill other human begins just because they see them riding a bike. Moto-fascists are those that slow down as they pass within inches of a cyclist, and in ignorant honesty blat "Get on the sidewalk!" or the less eloquent "Get off the road!!!" Sometimes they will buzz a cyclist as a non-verbal cue that they wish the cyclist would die a heinous mangled death under their wheels. They'll even vent ire upon fellow motorists (or even other moto-fascists) and pedestrians by blaring their horns when slighted or by texting while driving.

My wife is not a moto-fascist. My in-laws are cyclists so I hope they're not moto-fascists. I'm pretty sure my sister-in-law is not one, but I've never attempted to share the road with her. My sister doesn't seem to be a moto-fascist wither, or her husband (though he does drive for a large package delivery service). My grandmother, though rocketing around the countryside in her Stratus with bluegrass cranked to the max, is not a moto-fascist. I truly believe she would try not to run over other people…intentionally. Most of the people I know are not homicidal maniacs while behind the wheel. Also, my father is not a moto-fascist, nor is my mother.

Speaking of my mom…through my formative years we lived right off the bulb of a quarter mile long cul-de-sac in the middle of farmland in southwestern Ohio. My mom wouldn't even drive me to the end of the street to let me sit in a warm car while I waited for the bus. I had to walk to the end of the street and wait. I endured the worst that the Midwest could throw at an elementary school kid in winter: gale force winds carrying actual ice from Canada, snow drifts, icy slush thrown over my skinny body from passing cars and everything else short of frostbite or death-by-winter. Consequently, my walk to the bus stop was longer than I would have had to walk to school if we had lived in town.

I survived. I remember that for the most part my contemporaries that lived in town and walked or rode bikes to school survived winters too.

So from now on I when I use the term "motorist" I will mean anyone driving a car, myself included, and when I use the term "moto-fascist" I will be talking to you, CSV-158.

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