She shoved a camera in my face!

Today I had an amazing ride on a fresh trail, born just a few weeks ago.  The New York City parks department expanded the bridle path for horseback riding near City Island in the Bronx and I have patiently waited nearly a year to be able to bike it.

Today with the connections completed the mud diving commenced and aside from patches of black murky soaked earth mixed with horse feces the trails are sweet and never more than a quarter mile from the 6 train (a NYC Subway).

post mud diving

my legs post mud diving

I’ve become very conscientious, courteous and patient with the four-wheeled creatures, anticipating the occasional irresponsible behavior and ignoring it as best I can.  That has made for some pleasant rides, but ever so often I do run into that one selfish sheep that just pushes the right button and makes the beast within me growl, howl and spit.  So even after this incredible ride I ran into trouble when I got back to my suburban Westchester town.

I stopped at a light, waited until it turned green, signaled to the drivers on my left that I was going to go straight and hugged the row of parallel-parked cars.  I was passed twice without incident, the third vehicle a Cadillac Escalade got right next to me and blasted its unusually loud obnoxious horn, which felt like a chilly sonic punch into my ear.  Startled and shocked I pulled off my handlebars and shouted, ”Seriously?”

Out of anger I tracked the car to its parking spot.  As I pulled up the driver rolled down the window and before I could say anything, the woman had her iphone in my face shouting, “You’re on camera now so go ahead!”  I chuckled at that and shrugged at the camera and her need to film me, then asked,” Did you want to say something to me?  Why did you sound that horn?”  She responded, “You were in the middle of the road.”  Being confident that I was nowhere near the middle of the road, I said, “No, no I wasn’t.” She then said, ”How would you know, you don’t have a mirror on your bike…” Realizing quickly this was a no win situation for me I decided to give in to her and say “No, no I don’t have a mirror, you’re right, I should have one…” as I was about to apologize she rolled up her window, opened her car door shoving me with it and told me to get out of her way, all the while keeping her camera phone in my face as she stormed off to the store.

Feeling like a self-righteous jerk I went home, knowing full well my stand for cyclists had failed and probably made things worse for the next rider she encounters.  If her behemoth 7 foot, wide Cadillac Escalade, is too big for her to handle then maybe she shouldn’t drive it?  Obviously she doesn’t want to share road space, or fuel but I am going to hold back my rant on that and offer up this photograph instead.

Surf Utility Vehicle - please click the image for a funny story

Surf Utility Vehicle - please click the image for a funny story

Why is it ok for her and all (terrible) drivers not to expect cyclists or pedestrians to be using the street?  Why did I have to apologize to her for being in her way?  Her car takes up almost half of the two lane road. Perhaps her space station sized submarine of a grocery getter scares her, as if blowing her horn was her way of saying, ”I can’t drive this, please, for your own safety get out of the way!”  Maybe that’s how I should look at it?

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, vetoed a Safe Passing Bill in June, here is a link to his objections.  Not that a safe passing law could have saved Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler who were killed when a pickup truck veered into the shoulder where they were riding their tandem, but at least this incident wouldn’t have been called an accident.  This story is made even more heartbreaking because the couple’s seven-year old daughter is now orphaned.



If you take a look at the San Antonio News Article you’ll notice the comments are striking.  Its as if driving folks think bicycles have no place on our roads and completely miss the point that regardless of annoyance (to them) they are human powered, meaning they are not some cockroaches taking up your precious tarmac that if encountered need to be eradicated.  We are human beings, not roaches.

One Response to “She shoved a camera in my face!”

  1. g.e. stinson says:

    the incident with the cadillac is infuriating. people are so egocentric that they have no clue as to how dangerous their behavior can become while driving any vehicle, let alone an SUV. to be honest, i can’t believe you could maintain your composure in that situation. i don’t cycle and i’m hyper aware of how vulnerable cyclists and, even motorcyclists, are. my only comment is that many of them seem to lose track of that fact. automobile drivers are often totally unaware of how dangerous cars can be. i had a near miss of a pedestrian the other day which scared the bejesus out of me. this also points out that cyclists, pedestrians, etc. have to super vigilant about their own safely. i know i am when i’m walking.

    regarding the death of two people killed by a vehicle while cycling. somehow i’m not surprised this incident took place in texas, the home state of so much ignorant american arrogance. but this could easily happen in LA where i live. here we have thousands of self involved drivers in gigantic vehicles who should probably not even be on the same roadways with cyclists or anyone else for that matter.