Saturday, May 9, 2009

postscript on heiroglyphics

I now know what sfo stands for:
Single File Riding Only.

this is the city's subtle reminder that we cyclists are to stay in our little bike lanes.
we, as a category, don't obey this one very well, do we?

I always do, if there's a lot of traffic.
I always do, if I'm on a thoroughfare.
I don't always, if it's 6 in the morning and only 2 or 3 cars pass by in an hour.

this is how I am about rules:
I always obey them if they are completely logical and necessary.
I bend them if it won't hurt anyone else, and they aren't logical or necessary given the circumstances.

now I understand that if a rule is posted, others expect me to obey those rules. and that's why I play by them if someone else might be put out that I'm not.
except every once in a while, when I'm riding outside the bike lane because my friend is next to me in the bike lane, and there is so little traffic that we can count the cars we see in 30 minutes' time on one hand. and when there's no one in the opposing lane.
when we two cyclists and that one car are the only ones for miles . . .
yes, I expect them to be gracious about giving us a few extra feet of room.
because I would do the same for them.
it's about common decency and respect, not about the posted rule.

this is what I miss most in our society: giving people the opportunity to do the right thing without demanding it of them. without telling them exactly what the parameters are, exactly what they can and can't and should and shouldn't do.
we've created this society so entangled with rules that I fear some of us are forgetting how to think for ourselves. forgetting how to decipher good from bad and right from wrong. we are no longer able to separate logical and wise from illogical and ridiculous. the rules have removed our need to exercise our hearts, minds, and ability to access our common sense.

yes, this little rant all began with Single File Riding Only.
because when coupled with Share the Road, we can easily become lost in the conundrum.
we are to stay in the bike lane, but we have the right to be on the road as well, and we can only ride single file, but it's all to be shared . . . add the joggers, runners and walkers, and the rules get even more complex.

to me the puzzle easily sorts itself out into: cyclists stay in the bike lane as much as realistically possible, and motorists give cyclists plenty of room because cars don't constitutionally own the road. share means share: neither need be piggish about it. and common sense takes over when confronted with two bikes, two joggers, and a car all meeting at a single point.
with just a titch of patience, any situation on the road can be negotiated.

and that's how susan solves the world's problems: a titch of patience, a touch of wisdom, and a little bit of negotiation.

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