Today, I'm a disgruntled cyclist making the case for peace on the road. The epic saga of car vs. bike has raged on for centuries (right?) and has left in its wake unnecessary stress, turmoil, dented bumpers, cracked frames, injury, death and sadness.
Recently, I've been markedly endangered by a car while riding my bicycle and am disappointed to say that one incident was clearly intentional. But I'm not writing to proclaim the inherent evil of driving. I drive a car, too, on occasion. I would rather disclose my faults in the two situations, and thus make the case for empathy for our fellow commuter.
In my first brush with eternity, I was dangerously cut off in a roundabout and, after screaming an obscenity at the car, was chased down, nearly side-swiped and told that I'd better "watch my mouth." Reflecting on the situation, I now recognize that it was getting dark, I was riding a black bike, in a black sweater and chances were good that I wasn't visible to the driver. It wasn't the first time that I would've benefited from watching my mouth, either.
My second incident involved an older couple who thought it best to drive as close as possible to my friend and I to tell us to "move over!" instead of graciously using the lane to their left to pass. In retrospect, we were riding abreast, and though we hadn't seen a car for thirty minutes, we probably should have been riding closer to the non-existent shoulder on Fryrear Road.
Case and point: if I can empathize with my four-wheeled predators, so can you. In this time of unjustifiable war, songs about nothing, generalized impatience and fights over the last ocean roll, lets craft a little peace in doing the thing we all do everyday, like travel.
Next time that car pulls a mulligan or that cyclist "J-bikes" right in front of you (because come on, you HAVE to stop), try hard to smile and wave. It's going to sting a little at the time, but I promise you'll feel better than you would otherwise. Oh, and please stop leaving Stars VIP passes in my bike's milk crate. We've got plenty.
Live peace today!
- Kelley Morris, Bend