Well, I started this “snow day” off going to the bank. And while I was waiting for the light to change at 18th and Q, a sidewalk bicyclist came up silently behind me and brushed me in his single-minded desire to use the handicap cut to propel himself into the street before the light changed. That is probably the scariest thing for me because an inch closer and he would have knocked me off balance at least and maybe more.
On Sunday morning a biker with a Safeway grocery bag in one hand came from behind me, as usual without a word, and then continued without slowing down on this sidewalk which holds three people walking side by side if that. He didn’t even slow down as he approached a woman and her toddler with another person inches behind them taking up the rest of the walk. That person had probably moved left knowing he would soon pass the woman and toddler. An accident was averted only when the woman pushed her toddler behind her. But why should that have to happen? On a Sunday morning? And, if you don’t know Q Street, there is a bike lane on that street but it’s going the opposite way of what the biker wanted. BUT, since he was coming from Safeway, he could have simply gone up to R and used the bike lane going his direction. Clearly he didn’t want to go a minute out of his way since the sidewalk was right there for the taking.
AND THAT LEADS US BACK TO TODAY— as I walked along toward and into Dupont Cirle, I saw pedestrians, as well as bicyclists, ignoring the lights and walking into traffic when they saw what they thought was an opening. Since it was after 9 a.m. I couldn’t imagine that that many of these people were late for work. In fact, I notice this behavior even on Sunday mornings when I’m sure 90% of the pedestrians and bicyclists are not going to work. And I notice the timing of the lights, in Dupont Circle, most of the walk/don’t walk lights are 30-40 seconds long, some only 20 seconds. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen one longer that 60 seconds at any time. So here’s the question: What’s your hurry? Isn’t your life worth 30 seconds? I never did get this and never will.
Paris Je T’aime encore
As promised, I located the Post Travel article, which was written by Dennis Gaffney, and entitled “Ah, Paris, and its freewheeling ways” Taking a bike tour around Paris, he thought at first that “biking through downtown Paris would be a death-defying pleasure” But he then discovered why people love Paris, even bicyclists. It’s “one of the friendliest bicycling cities I’ve ever pedaled.” The key, beyond no hills, is that all modes of transportation are “respectfully negotiating the slowed-down etiquette of the shared road.” What a concept! Maybe we can learn something from the French after all!
That’s all for now. STAY ALERT AND STAY SAFE! AND EVERYONE, PEDS AS WELL AS BICYCLISTS AND AUTOS, CONSIDER SLOWING DOWN AND OBEYING TRAFFIC SIGNALS. You’ll live longer happier lives.