Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In the Middle of Chaos

Been off the grid for awhile since I didn't have internet. Thank you At&t, I have spoken more to your customer service reps than I have to my own family.

Anyway, I snapped this on my way home. It was taken at Lamar@ Manchaca during 5:00 traffic. Brave, foolish, law-abiding- all of these words could describe the cyclist. He acted exactly as if he was driving a car, even though that meant being in the middle of fast moving traffic, a position very few people would like to find themselves in. Most people would ride through on the crosswalk, myself included.

This picture exemplifies the problems cyclists face on many Austin roads. The law demands you behave as a vehicle, with very few exceptions. However, to conform to societal attitudes about what is "safe", many people behave differently. This gray area causes confusion among cyclists and drivers, as everyone operates within their own vision of the proper and safe way to cycle. Then, there are those that bend, or more accurately, break the law with the justification that it is safer for them to do so. Or, even more annoyingly, that it is just too inconvenient. (I'm looking at you, people who don't want to stop at stop signs.)

Certainly, there are some laws that shouldn't apply to cyclists, and of course, there are others that everyone needs to follow to maintain a level of courtesy and respect on the road. So where do you draw those distinctions? I, like every other cyclist on the road, have my own version of the "right" way to do things. I'm sure not everyone agrees with how I ride and judges me for it, and God knows I do the same thing. So what is the solution? More cyclists on the road for sure, since peer pressure would curb more outrageous behavior such as running red lights. (We have horns in our cars for a reason.) Increased scrutiny from knowledgeable legislators would be a plus too, since much of that gray area is a result from half ass laws. In the meantime, riding in your bicycle in Austin means operating in a gray area where right isn't always clear and being wrong could mean you and your bicycle in a twisted mess.

Fun fact: I know that guy. I'd know those dreads anywhere.

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