Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pedestrian Rage

I ride my bike to work.
In Victoria, the weather is such that it is possible to ride your bike year-round here in the City of Gardens. Only on those very rare days when I see white on the ground in the morning do I trade my bike for the bus. (And before you scoff at the notion that Victoria could receive any snow worth mentioning, recall the Blizzard of '96, a ten-day long series of snowstorms which culminated in a blizzard during which downtown Victoria received 85cm of snow in a 24-hour period, the 3rd largest snowfall in a city in Canadian history. But I digress.)
So everyday, I put on my shorts and t-shirt (or during these cool days my gloves, jacket, sweater and spandex long pants) and my helmet, of course, and embark on the half-hour ride to work.
But three times in the last week, I've been the victim of "pedestrian rage," pedestrians who started yelling and swearing at me for no reason than the fact that I ride a bicycle.
As example, yesterday morning I was riding along my usual route to work through a local Mall. I was in the traffic lane. A pedestrian was walking along the sidewalk beside me. We reached the corner at the same time. We were both going straight in the same direction. He started across in the crosswalk, I started across in the traffic lane. At no time were we within three metres of each other.
Suddenly, he starts swearing at me. "EXPLETIVE DELETED bicycles! Watch where you're going! Stay out of the crosswalk! EXPLETIVE DELETED jerk!"
What the EXPLETIVE DELETED? I wasn't in the crosswalk, I wasn't aiming for the crosswalk, I travelling parallel to the crosswalk!
Maybe this fellow put too much beer in his Corn Flakes.
And a few nights earlier on the way home, a guy pushing his shopping cart along the trail starting swearing at me as I slowly passed him. "EXPLETIVE DELETED biker! It's not safe for pedestrians any more!"
I should have replied, "Yes, especially when the pedestrian is pushing a shopping cart along a dark trail at night in a poorly lit area while wearing black clothes! Damn right, it's not safe!"
Come to think of it, this guy might had too much beer in his Corn Flakes, too.
But clearly something is going here. Pedestrians are rising up, fighting back against slights both real and imagined.
Someone should do a study on this. I'm sure the government will pay for it.

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