What is up Louisville?
The other morning, when there was a fair amount of snow on the road, I was riding to work heading east on Winter as is one of my usual routes. Freezing my ass off, all bundled up I’m approaching my left turn onto Rubel Ave. Attentively I notice on-coming traffic, an instinctual mental calculation of trajectory and distance tells me I can make my turn safely before the cars get to the intersection. A quick glance over my shoulder as a reminder there being no cars behind me, I execute my pre-turn merge. In that quick glance however, I thought I saw something on the far side of the street—it wasn’t a car though. I continue in my merge and am just about to make the cross-traffic turn when what was on the far-side of the street became ever apparent. It was a cyclist, riding on the wrong side of the road! Had I continued my turn I would have struck him, and then the both of us probably would have been struck by the on-coming cars—I’ll remind you, the roads had a fair amount of snow and likely ice. I quickly stop my turn, and slow down enough to wait out the three cars passing through the intersection only to have the other cyclist cut them and me off in the middle. Shocked by his actions, I exclaimed to him, “That’s not a very safe place to ride man. You’re likely to get yourself or others killed.” He let’s out a loud “wahoo!” and “I don’t give a shit!” in reply.
What would you call this? This attitude and apparent apathy? Never have I experienced so many other people on bikes with this ignorant attitude than I have here in Louisville, KY. At least once a day, if not more, I encounter somebody riding against traffic as if they belonged there. Now this isn’t the same “against traffic” riding one would do to sneak a turn mid-block or something—there is a difference. No, it’s riding block after block against traffic, through intersections. It’s also riding block after block, against bicycle traffic in the bike lanes. And no, after dark they don’t even have lights on. BAM! Out of nowhere, you’re not the only one riding a bike on the street, all of a sudden you’re dodging another. Darwinian ignorance.
It goes beyond cyclists too. Joggers. I’ve experienced near-violent protest at my presence in the bike lane they’re running in, also against the normal flow of traffic. (This I’ve seen in other cities too though). This wouldn’t be a complete rant if I failed to mention the belligerently ignorant motorists in this town. I think if I kept a logbook I could compile a thorough tome on these folk. What’s a red light mean if it doesn’t need to be stopped at? Everyday I’ve lived here I have seen numerous cars/trucks/buses/tractor trailers blow through blatantly red lights. How is this? Where is the logic? Consideration? Enforcement? Not to mention safety? (If they do stop at the intersection they’ll usually fail to not block the crosswalk.)
These are likely the same people who pay little attention to the speed limit on small neighborhood streets. These streets that sometimes consist of sharp turns, limited visibility, and crosswalks. “Nevermind that, I’ve got somewhere to get to! 35mph isn’t fast enough!” Their speed, I bet, eventually results in the slew of impaired cars I see busted and mangled in front of their houses—parked there as eyesores until they can afford repair. If somehow still operable, they’ll be driving around (usually at night when I “notice” them) lacking the majority of it’s headlights, turn signals, and often times front grills or quarter-panels.
They act ignorant and are proud of it, question them and I’m sure it’ll start a conflict. Sometimes, I just don’t know….
This post is not to be meant to be one that is rife with complaints and negativity. I have an open mind to most everything—consider this merely observational.