"With great power, comes great responsibility," as said by Stan Lee through his comic book character Spider-Man, defines our iconic image of the super hero. But what happens when you have someone with great power who does not wield it responsibly? You end up with a super villain, like the Green Goblin, or Doctor Octopus, or Evil Barbie in the Black Lexus of Death. Huh? Never heard of the last one? I assure you she exists.
This morning as I plied along Ridge Road (which seems to be a nexus for super villains) I encountered Evil Barbie and her Black Lexus of Death.
There is a four way stop at Miller Street and Ridge Road. As I approached it from the east I heard a car approaching, glanced back and saw I had room so I took the lane within the last 50-75 feet of the stop sign.
As I rolled to a stop at the white line the Black Lexus of Death gunned up beside me completely south of the double yellow line and stopped beside me. Through the dark tint of the windows I saw big blonde hair.
"REALLY?!" I called to her.
We both started to move forward at the same time, then she paused for a nanosecond and finally gunned through the intersection on the wrong side of the road.
Now, at that point I don't really understand why she bothered to come to a complete stop. She'd already broken perhaps a slew of traffic laws by passing on a double yellow, failure to stay in lane, wanton endangerment, reckless stupidity, etc, etc.
The really great part is that the two cars behind her followed her super villainous example and gunned past me on the wrong side of the road through the intersection at a high rate of speed. Evil minions I guess.
The fat recumbent cyclist shows the incorrect position
The skinny recumbent cyclists shows the correct position
Evil Barbie in Black Lexus of Death shows the really jacked up way
I take the lane at stop signs for exactly that purpose. I use my powers for good, to control traffic and keep it safe. But inevitably there are some moto-fascists that believe they are above the law when in the presence of bicycles and will bend logic to absurd angles to justify committing numerous traffic infractions.
I've speculated for some time that many motorists (moto-fascists or moto-fascists-to-be) become blithering idiots when they see a cyclist. They don't know how to act or react. Instead of treating the cyclists as another slow moving vehicle they begin acting as if the cyclist is a dangerous predator or a shifty looking ruffian. Or both. They swerve, they dodge defensively, they gun their engines and brake unexpectedly.
But of course, not as many people use the great power under their right toes with responsibility and give the cyclist plenty of room and only pass when its safe to do so.
And you hear all sorts of reasons when a motorist hits a cyclist: "Well, it was just a cyclist" or "I thought it was a motorcycle" and my favorite "I didn't see them." Ha. Ha! HA! That's rich. Didn't see a person on a bicycle. Y'know, I can't count the number of times I've been driving a car (it does happen occasionally) and have seen 2X4s in the road, or hunks of rock fallen from road cuts, or pedestrians crossing the street in front of me, or animals like dogs and deer in or near the road. All of these things have a smaller visual footprint than an adult on a bicycle. The argument that a motorist didn't see a cyclist is a farce. If they didn't see them its because they weren't looking. Not paying attention.
We all want to be absolved of responsibility when something goes wrong. Heck! We don't want responsibility before anything goes wrong and we darn sure aren't going to accept any afterward. No thank you, I'm all full up.
We want traffic laws to apply to everyone else, but not to ourselves. We want to be able to do whatever we want, while reaping the benefits of a system of traffic and safety laws and ordinances. Anarchy with Benefits.
I'll be the first to admit it. I want to ride/drive however I want and I'm very cognizant of how others behave on the roads. The cries goes up "THREE FEET...JACKASS!" when cars get too close. But I justify through a system of pulleys and levers and trapdoors that I can roll through a stop sign if no cars are around because it costs me much to dump all of my momentum and then have to take off from a dead stop on the bike.
But its ingrained in the American psyche: "Freedom" to smoke cigarettes and kill others with second-hand smoke. "Freedom" to drive a Hummer a mile to the video rental place twice a day because I live in a "Free Country." "Freedom" to harass cyclists on the road because they shouldn't be on the roads anyway, when they pay taxes, blah, blah, blah.
We want something for nothing and we've been told we can have it. We don't want to pay for our luxuries and when the true costs of our royal lifestyles are pointed out we enter denial mode and look to the GOP for guidance. And then there are the dems of course. Spineless cowards.
Rant over. Got more important things to do today.
Barbie, wherever you are, I hope you get a ticket today. Drive fast honey, enjoy it while you can.