Usually my commute to work is a quiet and unremarkable affair. Either something happened while I was in Atlanta or this is National Road Rage Day, because I have never had a commute like the one I had today before. At every stop sign I stopped only to be passed by a speeding car that barely slowed, driver honking frantically, as they spun directly in front of me to make a right or left turn. The fact that I caught up at the next stop sign/stop light without breaking a sweat or even trying hard only served to further enrage them. But the fact that bicycles are faster than cars in traffic is not news in San Francisco.
At one stop sign a scooter rider passed me on the right to jump in front of me in queue as I was making a left turn. When I caught up to her at the next stop light, she had moved (illegally) into the bike lane to jump the queue of cars at the light. I rode up to her and said, “It’s very rude to go around me on the right just to jump the line.” She looked shocked that I had pierced her bubble and ran the red light to get away from me. On the bright side, she stopped poaching the bike lane. Instead she swerved into oncoming traffic to get ahead of cars.
As my dissertation adviser used to say, “These people eventually fall of their own weight.”
On the last leg to work, which is on a quiet residential street, I was puttering away up the hill when I heard frantic honking behind me and a revving engine. So I stopped and looked. “What?” I asked. Directly behind me a woman in a giant SUV appeared to be screaming curses (soundproofing: it works both ways) and waving me toward the sidewalk. “I’M SUPPOSED TO TAKE THE LANE,” I said loudly and slowly. Continuing to honk, she swerved in a screech around me and drove off… to the stop sign 100 feet ahead (which she ignored, granted). San Francisco residents will not be surprised that two small children were sitting in the back seat of her SUV.
A pedestrian on the sidewalk stopped dead in disbelief. “You were right!” he yelled to me. “F#@% that lady!”
I’ve never seriously considered a helmet cam until today. If I had had one, I wouldn’t be kicking myself now that I didn’t get photos of all these people’s license plates. None of them should be behind the wheel of a car.