Posts Tagged ‘cars’

Ann from New Zealand wondered:

Do you use the word doored? It applies to a driver opening his door without checking for bikes. I once did that, I almost doored someone. The young woman let out a series of expletives. Since then, I almost always check before I open the door.

Note: this did NOT happen to my sister Leslie.

I was not familiar with the term, but the word is in the transportation literature. I well know the experience. Riding my bicycle, I’m always looking for unexpected activities from drivers. When I’m surprised by the action, I generally yell “YO” for some reason, and that has been known to work.

When I was in library school, which would have been 1990-1992, I was riding my bike when one of my fellow grad schools intentionally opened the driver’s side door as I was about to pass. He then closed it. He seemed to think it was terribly funny.

I did not. I swerved and hit the brakes. Somehow, probably from adrenaline, I managed to pull my bike out of alignment.

The guy claimed, “I thought you saw me” in the car. Well, no, I didn’t, and if I had, I would have still thought opening the door was a schmucky thing to do. Getting doored is the thing I most worry about as a recipient of pain.

Conversely, I’m most concerned about me hurting pedestrians who come out from between parked cars in the middle of the block. This is a greater concern than it used to be because vehicles tend to be larger, hiding the jaywalkers
until the last moment.

Unrelated, I get joy out of picking up change that lies on the road, probably falling out of the pockets of drivers. I figure that, in most bike seasons, I find enough nickels, dimes and quarters to pay for the necessary repairs on my vehicle.

I won’t ruin my riding momentum to stop for a penny or two. But if there’s a penny and a nickel, e.g., I’ll snatch up both.

ChevroletI’m reading my email one insomniac night when I see this Quora question: Why is jaywalking a crime in the US but not in the UK? One lengthy response from a guy named Tom Chambers:

Because jaywalking is a crime invented by the car industry in the early 20th century. It wasn’t the legislative response to an inevitable problem, but essentially a publicity campaign to increase car use in the US.

Prior to jaywalking becoming a popular term and crime, pedestrians were assumed to have the right to the road. If there was an accident, popular opinion and the media would be on the side of the pedestrian and assume the fault of the driver.

The motor industry recognised that this was an impediment to driving and set out to make the street a place for cars not people. They lobbied for various laws to prevent people from crossing other than at a designated point, but people were so against this that it failed to be effectively enforced.

What worked much better was public ridicule.

The American love affair with cars was no accident , confirmed Scientific American. Read the rest of this entry »

googlecarI enjoy reading The Oatmeal Newsletter. A recent article, 6 Things I Learned from Riding in a Google Self-Driving Car, particularly tickled me.

“1. Human beings are terrible drivers.
We drink. We doze. We text. In the US, 30,000 people die from automobile accidents every year.”

As a regular pedestrian, I recognize this as irrefutably true. Read the rest of this entry »

Chevrolet, the car company, is 100 years old this month. In honor of that milestone, there’s a dedicated Chevy station on Pandora.com, with 100 songs mentioning the Chevy; they are listed below.

But two fairly obvious choices are left off: Read the rest of this entry »

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