I hate when people/things I like attract people who are jerks. Fandom is a perfect example of this phenomenon. As a fan of a certain team, you want to believe that your fellow fans of said team are righteous, caring souls. And then you go to the stadium to see a game a realize, “Jesus, there are a lot of douches in this place.” Every time I think Mets fans are somehow morally superior to partisans of That Other Team, I remember that Bill O’Reilly is a Mets fan.
I am pro-bike. I don’t really bike myself, but I have a lot of friends who use bikes as their primary mode of transportation. I like that the city has installed bike-only lanes along the Brooklyn waterfront. I like that the idiot cop who senselessly laid into a Critical Mass biker was found guilty of lying about his report on the incident.
Unfortunately, my recent interactions with bikers in the street–both as a pedestrian and a driver/passenger–tell me that bikers are just as capable of being assholes as anyone else.
Incident Number 1: Most days, I ride the bus to work in the morning. The tail end of my commute goes down Navy Street, right by the main approach to the Brooklyn Bridge. Navy Street is split down the middle by a dedicated bike lane. On this particular morning, both my bus and a biker reached the intersection of Navy and Gold right at the same time, at a point where the bus turns left. The biker, paying absolutely no attention at all, keeps speeding on, nearly smacking into the side of the bus.
In a huff, the biker hops off his bike. He has wavy blond hair, a full red face, and khaki shorts, like Hansel all grown. He points to a sign at the intersection, screaming CAN’T YOU READ?! The sign in question indicated no left turns. But had he himself kept reading, he would have seen the bottom part of the sign, which says EXCEPT BUSES. Obliviously, he sped on, making sure to take the most circuitous route possible around the bus to delay us all as punishment. The light had changed by this point, so he was holding up traffic in all directions.
Incident Number 2: I’m in Greenpoint, walking down Meserole Street. As I reach an intersection, at a one-way street that has a stop sign, a biker is speeding like mad, with no intention of stopping. He sees me and slams on his brakes, a few feet short of me. I’m startled, but say nothing and move on. He starts up again, makes a left on Meserole (going the wrong way down a one-way street) and screams at me as he passes, I SKIDDED FOR YOU, YOU’RE WELCOME.
I should thank you for not ignoring all the traffic laws and barreling into me? Sure. That reminds me to thank everyone else I saw today for not stabbing me in the face.