Bus Lightyear
August 13, 2019 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Erin no-last-name-known, better known as the Bus Lane Hero, caused a bit of a stir on social media after she was recorded directing cars out of a bus-only lane in downtown Seattle last week. Despite the haters, folks inspired by her rallying cry have made flags (multiple!) and buttons. One group even installed a quiver of flags at the bus stop for the public to use for their own citizen-led enforcement efforts.

Seattle police have previously said that enforcing bus lanes poses logistical challenges and asked for permission from the state legislature to use automated cameras, but that bill died in the state senate last session.
posted by mosst (57 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
seattle's the best.

and amazon is the worst. and most of the people who made seattle the best have been gentrified out to like olympia and bellingham. but seattle's the best.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:22 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


Thanks for posting this - I was so caught up this morning in hate-reading and blocking all of the anti-transit drivers in those twitter threads, I didn't even think about sharing more widely. This comes on the heels of the Red Cup project I posted about a few months back. A lot more willingness to stand against car-centered street design, after so much auto violence done to pedestrians and cyclists this year.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 1:22 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


I think most of our bus lanes here are contra-flow on one-way roads (we have a lot of one-way roads) so it's glaringly obvious that This Lane Is Not For You. Most of the time when I see people driving cars in bus lanes, it's out of towners who are lost and panicking. My first reaction to seeing that video of all the cars in the bus lane was holy shit what a bunch of asocial psychos. We are trying to have a society here!
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:26 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


Here in Ottawa, we have a huge, huge number of buses -- probably half or more of the routes in the city -- that run through a single transit lane in downtown. One day, I was sitting at the stop waiting for my bus when a chauffeur-driven town car pulled up at the far end of the bus platform, exited an old white guy from the back seat -- blocking a line of buses while he did it -- and then continued on its way, still in the bus lane. I wish I was more like Erin.

And that Erin had the power to hand out tickets to entitled jackasses.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:27 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


> A car does not simply transport an individual from one place to another but, more importantly, also transforms the personality of the individual.

Years ago, one of my best friends - a man who is not at all quick to anger - had a job as a delivery driver in Toronto for a couple of months and by his own admission in very short order it turned him into one of Those Drivers; honking, swearing, flipping people off, etc..

> The driver tries to make real the image of mobility with every trick in the book. But none of these tricks ever really work. No matter how hard he/she tries to force the matter, they always end up going nowhere fast.

I was recently stuck in stop-and-go traffic on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway, and at one point a woman in a pickup truck suddenly accelerated past me on my right and swerved into my lane in front of me, where there was juuuuuuust enough space for her to fit her truck. As she passed me she was yelling and gave me the finger, presumably angry that I was in the "fast" lane and yet was not travelling as fast as I possibly could, as evidenced by the 20 or so feet of empty laneway available in front of my car during those few seconds. Half an hour later I slowly passed her as we all continued to inch along that urban hellscape, so yeah...where did all that anger and potentially dangerous swerving get her? Nowhere fast.

I hate, hate, haaaaate driving in Toronto (everywhere, really), and thank my lucky stars that at least I don't have to car commute to work here. Of course, the TTC stinks and riding your bike is a game of Russian roulette. It's a rare day when I don't witness at least one instance of road rage in the form of yelling and/or honking, and over the years I've seen two physical fights, one of which ended with a guy going back to his car and getting a tire iron out of his trunk and the other guy peeling through a red light to get away from him.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:34 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


We just recently got some new bus lanes - painted Bus Lane Red and everything! Drivers completely ignored them for weeks until the city finally put a police detail out at one of the intersections and started ticketing people. I have no idea what the current situation is like, but I haven't seen as much complaining on Twitter at least.

Around my neighborhood, we don't have bus lanes but we do have a lot of bus stops at intersections. People use them as right turn lanes (particularly at intersections with no right-on-red for some weird reason), so the buses frequently can't pull in to them. I've taken to putting my bike right on the stop line in front of the bus lane so that if someone does that, they can't make their illegal right turn.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:39 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


Seattle drivers are horrible, and seem to take joy in flouting lane rules there for everyone's benefit. No one wants to follow the rules, and so we end up with horrible merge traffic as everyone attempts to jump the line instead of zippering. And use your goddamn signals! Man, even just THINKING about this makes me one of Those Drivers.

I fully support this person and their choice to tell these roadbeasts to do what they're supposed to.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:51 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Good for her!

If we're going to keep cops around, they should be doing useful work like this kind of traffic enforcement instead of just hassling black people and the homeless all the time.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:00 PM on August 13 [36 favorites]


It's nice that this has gotten some traction, but why is this behavior still not actually policed? I mean red cups and people putting out flags to direct traffic are great attempts to help with the problem, but shit we pay taxes too, and bus fare. Why is it still not considered a job of public service to compel motorists to follow the rules of the road? If the cops won't do it, then give the job to someone who will. The baseline acceptance of "drivers are aggressive and crazy! oh well!" is total shit. Motorists are strangling cities and murdering people and these cute little viral movements aren't going to fix it.

Car culture in the US is a death cult and the entitlement people feel behind the wheel is pathological.

On preview: amen, tobascodagama.
posted by pilot pirx at 2:03 PM on August 13 [29 favorites]


It's nice that this has gotten some traction, but why is this behavior still not actually policed?

From the more inside:
Seattle police have previously said that enforcing bus lanes poses logistical challenges and asked for permission from the state legislature to use automated cameras, but that bill died in the state senate last session.
posted by zamboni at 2:14 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


We need people like Erin in Toronto. Last year city council made a major downtown street open to through traffic only to transit vehicles. Regular cars can still use the street, but only by turning onto the street, and have to turn right again at the next intersection.

This is not the most intuitive setup for a transit-priority corridor, but was done as a concession to drivers who still wanted access to the street. Predictably, all this does is result in drivers routinely driving straight through the intersections despite signage telling them not to. After an initial police blitz warning and then later ticketing people proceeding straight through the lights, there's been essentially no enforcement.

Actually forget Erin. You know what we need in Toronto? Automatic bollards.
posted by chrominance at 2:14 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


Why is it still not considered a job of public service to compel motorists to follow the rules of the road? If the cops won't do it, then give the job to someone who will.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure cops will enforce the not-throwing-things-at-car-windows laws even as they refuse to enforce the not-running-over-people laws. But otherwise I'd totally be loading a handlebar basket with small water-soluble projectiles.
posted by asperity at 2:16 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I have almost done this exact thing many times. That whole area from Denny all the way up to Broadway and from LQA to downtown is stupid. No, really, the traffic itself is just dumb. If the traffic around LQA and downtown Seattle could take an IQ test it wouldn't even be able to find a #2 pencil.

I can't count how many times I saw various intersections on Denny gridlocked with assholes blocking the box. Every day during rush hour for years. Or how many times I've waited for the #8 bus and was able to watch it slowly approach for 15-30 minutes of blocked in traffic from a block and a half away. More than once I've just walked contra-flow to traffic to the previous bus stop to get on early if it was raining, and more than once I just got off the bus entirely and walked right up Denny Hill for like 10-15 blocks because it was simply faster, even with climbing that ridiculous hill up Denny to Broadway. (Locals know this hill. It's ridiculously steep.

My justice fantasy involved a variety of large, bold signs like "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU ARE YOU 12!?", "DID YOU SKIP KINDERGARTEN?" and "CHRIST YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE." but with my presentation I'd probably just get lost in the noise of various ranting people on the street or straight up run over for being too threatening looking.

Looking and acting a bit like a righteously pissed off kindergarten teacher is pretty much the perfect note to scold a bunch of shitty drivers, and certainly was more effective than me standing in traffic with angry signs.
posted by loquacious at 2:23 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


They could do what this part of Maryland does and put up signs that say "SHARE THE ROAD" with a picture of a bus and a bike. Problem solved!

No jk it's a nightmare around here.

I saw in the aforementioned article about the enforcement bill that they were concerned about "people from outside Seattle who may be confused by the city’s street laws and then get ensnared by a camera, according to several legislators."

It raises an interesting question about fairness. I'm not a huge fan of cameras that give out fixed-rate tickets indiscriminately. On the other hand, this is a problem, and arguing for that kind of leniency seems to give way more priority to cars than to the buses and bikes that are supposed to be using those lanes.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:24 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


But otherwise I'd totally be loading a handlebar basket with small water-soluble projectiles.

I have dreamed on several occasions of a bike-mounted harpoon with a GPS tracker and/or an EMP device specifically for assholes that hit cyclists and drive off, something I've seen happen on two separate occasions.
posted by chrominance at 2:24 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Definitely a problem automatic bollards could solve
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:24 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


If I were king, I guess I might make a kind of three-strikes rule on the cameras (and a lot of traffic laws, really) so that people driving through wouldn't get a ticket for being confused once, but regulars wouldn't be able to make a habit of flouting the laws.
posted by value of information at 2:27 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Seattle police have previously said that enforcing bus lanes poses logistical challenges and asked for permission from the state legislature to use automated cameras, but that bill died in the state senate last session.

Oh the cops claim it's impossible to do their job when it involves ticketing people driving cars illegally? Shocker. I bet they'd get creative if there were some different demographics.
posted by pilot pirx at 2:30 PM on August 13 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I saw that in the FPP, it's just so transparently bullshit that I didn't feel the need to spend any time on it.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:35 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


More often than not I'm on the pro-car side of Metafilter conversations, but those drivers (not to mention all the horrible shitheels in the comments (or blocked from them) in the "directing cars" link in the FPP) are complete jerks, dear lord.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:36 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


One day, I was sitting at the stop waiting for my bus when a chauffeur-driven town car pulled up at the far end of the bus platform, exited an old white guy from the back seat -- blocking a line of buses while he did it -- and then continued on its way, still in the bus lane. I wish I was more like Erin.
Cameras are changing this a bit: in DC, How’s My Driving? crowdsources reports and it seems to have had an effect on both the Uber drivers and getting data for the planners. It’s easier to dismiss anecdotal reports of bad driving when you don’t have a list of hundreds of blocked bike lanes, crosswalks, bus stops, etc. from a single day. They’re actually planning a blitz tomorrow to get people to report bus lane blocking along a route which obviously needs protected lanes despite the unwillingness of the DOT to consider the needs of transit users as equal to those of Maryland suburbanites.
posted by adamsc at 2:39 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I'm just desperately envious of NYC's combination of camera enforcement (if not enough to cut the death rate) and open records that make @HowsMyDrivingNY possible. It'd be some consolation to be able to look up the plates for the drivers endangering us and at least know we're not imagining it all somehow.

All the video I take while biking has nowhere useful to go; it's not like the police accept video.
posted by asperity at 2:41 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Every side has its heroes. The progressive side have her, whereas in the UK, the NIMBYs and Murdochian Right have Angle Grinder Man, who frees motorists from the tyranny of car-clamping and parking restrictions.
posted by acb at 2:47 PM on August 13


There's more than a few threads on Twitter trying to shift the conversation to staffing up Seattle's police force. I'm admittedly underinformed on this topic, but I do believe there are multiple ways to skin this cat. There's not a ton of express-lane enforcement on the highways, but generally 764-HERO and general driver etiquette do the necessary work here. I think more citizen policing would help shift the culture here, as long as we can find some agreement on how broad to take it.

The other is to empower/obligate the police to follow up on violations reported. I know from some reports a couple years back that SPD will do little with violations being reported. There's an app in DC that will report violations and allow others to find out where else that violator might be repeating the behavior. But if SPD doesn't engage, what else can be done? The data can be aggregated and egregious zones within the city could be targeted, but the mayor/council have to make it a priority.

On preview, Asperity and adamsc.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 2:58 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Actually forget Erin. You know what we need in Toronto? Automatic bollards.

I loved the bollards when I lived in the UK. Buses and taxis can open them; pedestrians and cyclists pass right through. But the cars have to actually pay attention for once!

Bollards on King St. should be our new rallying cry.
posted by jb at 3:14 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Every arterial street everywhere should have a dedicated bus lane. "But not enough people ride buses to justify it!" They're sure as hell not going to start riding unless we make changes to ensure that our transit is quick and reliable, and bus lanes are a cheap, fast way to improve those factors.

The next step could be traffic signal priority for transit, but that requires more equipment than just paint and enforcement. The enforcement part could be automated without much trouble, too.

Here's a 17-second video that shows what bus lanes have the potential to do. (More about that lane here.)
posted by asperity at 3:21 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


There are bus-only lanes in SF and as someone who is very rules-anxious I desperately don't want to be in that lane but, in my case, I have to be so I can make the turn I need to make. You can't make a right in front of a bus, you can't be in the bus lane, there are too many other cars who are in the bus lane now who won't let me in if I try to do it right, it just really makes my rule-following brain go haywire, if there was some busybody trying to shame me for just wanting to get home I think I would just slip into a coma on the spot. I'm sorry I have to drive to work, everyone, if I could do literally anything about it I would.
posted by bleep at 3:24 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Any wait times that OneBusAway reports end up being lies: Buses are now consistently late in Seattle.

She's a hero for risking her life and limb, but when cars go around her and back onto the bus lane, it's feels kind of pointless.

Seattle Police don't seem to do much enforcement outside of a small stretch on 3rd, between University and Pike.

It's the same when Seattle drivers block intersections. This is especially problematic in South Lake Union, where tech and biotech companies are concentrated. Buses can't get through, at all, let alone ride on their priority lanes. Police won't ticket drivers.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:25 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


> I can't count how many times I saw various intersections on Denny gridlocked with assholes blocking the box. Every day during rush hour for years. Or how many times I've waited for the #8 bus and was able to watch it slowly approach for 15-30 minutes of blocked in traffic from a block and a half away.

people who've had to ride the 8 might appreciate this song by seattle pop superstars tacocat, off of their audaciously-named album nvm.

lyrics available here.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:43 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


New York City did the "impossible" and trained its notorious drivers to stay out of the box, relieving a lot of gridlock, through a short period of aggressive enforcement and a concerted public information campaign. Drivers can be retrained. It just takes the will to do it.

Something similar happened in the marvelously effective (but problematic) "crying indian" campaign that retrained Americans practically overnight that throwing garbage out their car windows onto the roadside was not OK.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:47 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Twenty years ago I was one of those angry drivers. Fifteen years ago I instead became an angry cyclist (I'm definitely a Dale). But in the last decade I've decided the true villains are the traffic analysts and designers. This particular stretch is reasonable, but Seattle has so many crazy road features -- left exits, left entrances, bus lanes that switch every block, lanes that disappear on the right to reappear on the left, express lanes alternating directions twice daily, unenforced HOV lanes and exits, 6 lanes across with 4-way dedicated left turn timers every block, tolls that vary by time, lane, and occupancy, generating confusion, but also healthy profit for an out-of-state company - even when there's no construction. Some bus lane restrictions are only for a single block, with cars allowed if you're turning right (good luck enforcing that sign, with so many posted exceptions!) Mapping apps commonly route people from city streets onto a busy expressway, across 5 lanes to a left exit for a 2 mile trip. What did work well IMHO was the 3rd ave bus/bike only (no cars in any lane), enforced by a motorcycle cop one random day of the week. But I no longer blame the drivers, victims of learned helplessness - Seattle's road designs have just driven them slowly insane.
posted by radagast at 3:49 PM on August 13 [15 favorites]


^ much more articulate expression of my exact feelings about SF
posted by bleep at 3:50 PM on August 13


This is actually a very poorly designed stretch of street. The bus lane is only in that far right lane for one block...before and after the block the bus lane is one lane to the left, so if you are driving it’s a tricky maneuver to quickly merge over for that one block then merge back, especially if you don’t know the road at all. So while I get that this woman’s actions seem great out of context, it’s kind of different if you’ve actually tried to drive this stretch of downtown.
posted by k8bot at 5:39 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Those are some terrifying sharrows. I guess at least the traffic is going slow.
posted by surlyben at 5:47 PM on August 13


Portland created a bus only lane downstown and as a user of a stop on that road I can say it's been great!
posted by vespabelle at 6:28 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


It's very surprising to me that the tone is always ENFORCEMENT!!! MORE COPS!! MORE PUNISHMENT FOR THESE NASTY FOLKS!!! and never WHY THE FUCK IS THE DESIGN OF THESE STREETS SO DIFFICULT, COMPLICATED, and CONFUSING?
posted by bleep at 6:30 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


"SMH 🤦🏻‍♂️ If this really happened yesterday which was Saturday and took place before the person posted the video (2:53pm) , this was totally pointless and ignorant because the bus only lane is MON-FRI 3PM-7PM ... just saying"

per the twitter thread.
posted by etherist at 6:55 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Y'all know that the biggest barrier to better, safer, more consistent street design is drivers' loud protests against it, right?
posted by asperity at 8:56 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


I don't think that there is this mysterious group of evil doers called drivers who go around doing bad stuff on purpose all the time. That's an idea from Batman. I think there are a lot of human beings who are using the tools at their disposal to do what they need to do. If there are ppl protesting better street design I bet they aren't just "drivers" because that would be most people and I bet most people wouldn't know how to protest street design if you paid them to. I'm sure there are NIMBY types who are trying to preserve what they think they have at everyone else's expense and that's a legitimate problem.
posted by bleep at 9:12 PM on August 13


Toronto needs cameras to catch drivers who race past the streetcar before the doors open. A couple $400 fines would fix people's bad habits right quick.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:17 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


I bet most people wouldn't know how to protest street design if you paid them to.

Have you ever attended a public meeting? Because, yeah, that's pretty much what anything covering land use or transportation is about. We're fighting over parking spaces while people die in the streets and the world burns.

The Joker isn't responsible for forty thousand deaths and countless maimings every year in the US alone. That's just regular people who value the freedom not to have to slow down or look up from their phones more than they value their neighbors' lives.

This isn't something out of a comic book. It's depressingly ordinary.
posted by asperity at 9:56 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


The bus lane is only in that far right lane for one block...before and after the block the bus lane is one lane to the left...

Christ almighty.

The bus lanes on Figueroa going North though downtown LA used to be time-limited: they stopped being bus-only at 6 pm. This was per the posted signs; the streets were permanently painted “BUS ONLY”. I found this a delightful little quirk to take advantage of. Most drivers would avoid the boldly painted lane and I could zip by confident in my ability to read a fucking sign. That was until the day I got pulled over. Friends, never try to convince a cop that you can understand a sign that they do not understand.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:12 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Maybe she's been watching СтопХам?
posted by ctmf at 10:12 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I can read Cyrillic, but I don't know Russian, so at a glance it looks like that says STOPHAM.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:45 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


As a volunteer bike advocate I'm seconding asperity's comment. I mean all NIMBYs do it, but people who drive and don't bike nor require handicap facilities are often the most unbelievably misinformed about level of service. Safety, induced demand, road maintenance costs, etc, etc. Not all drivers, but still...
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:59 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Maybe she's been watching СтопХам?

Interesting video. Kind of underscores the global applicability of what the writer of The Stranger piece says about drivers, who not only turn into aggressive, entitled assholes once they get behind the wheel, but who stay that way once they get out of the car, too.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:24 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Nobody in this thread regularly drives a car? That's what I'm hearing?
posted by bleep at 8:32 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Not a one.
posted by Evilspork at 8:57 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


transportation infrastructure in america is designed to strongly favor cars over all other modes of transport. because the privilege granted to the use of cars as a mode of transport is so solidly entrenched, people who exclusively use cars as their mode of transport often react to anything that looks like it threatens that privilege as being totally unfair.

our infrastructure treats cars as a positive good. our infrastructure should instead treat cars as a currently necessary evil. anyone who says otherwise should by all rights be deluged with greta von thunberg videos until they change their minds.

good job erin no-last-name-known. if i lived in seattle — which i haven't since back when i used to work for boeing — i would consider buying one of these pins.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:06 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Nobody in this thread regularly drives a car? That's what I'm hearing?

I always feel like a unicorn in these Mefi car posts because I sort of do everything equally? I ride the bus whenever I can, but I can't always. My commute often includes car, bus and bike all in the same day. Yesterday was 100% bus. Today is 100% car for reasons. Once my kid starts back at school, I will drive him to his school, park there and bike the rest of the way to the office. I contain transit multitudes.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:44 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


In London we have occasional events called "make the lane" (a play on words of the motto of the bankrupt ideology of Vehicular Cycling: "take the lane"). Volunteers stand as a physical barrier on the outside of a cycle lane, preventing motorists from encroaching on it.

It's a great bit of PR, and it shows the possibilities for actually protecting cycling facilities with physical barriers.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 10:14 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Nobody in this thread regularly drives a car? That's what I'm hearing?

We're not on different teams, here. I drive, I just also bike a lot daily, and I take the bus sometimes. It's possible for roads to have flaws in their design AND for drivers to have some responsibility here. It's not solely one thing or the other. I don't think all drivers are snarling monsters, but people often take shortcuts or get confused and do things that can block traffic or endanger people's safety. The good or bad intention behind those actions doesn't make those actions more or less disruptive or dangerous. Good road design can cut down on the confusing elements and keep things better streamlined (and conversely, bad road design can contribute to problems), but you still have to keep people from taking those little shortcuts and whatnot. Besides, what makes "good" road design is often subjective here. Creating a bus lane can be better for buses and bikes, but might create (or seem to create) slower traffic, with fewer lanes for cars (and possibly a bottleneck if cars suddenly lose a lane). And the thing is, cars definitely have a lot of pull when it comes to city planning. I think a lot of the reason these bus lanes seem so nonsensical is because they've had to compromise with car traffic.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:28 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Signed in to say that this looks a lot like Stop HAM with fewer guns and mafiosi, but I appear to have been beaten to the punch.

I have an ex-colleague who lives on a residential street next to a main thoroughfare. Somewhat predictably, his street is a high-speed detour for drivers trying to beat traffic on the main road, but the residents don't have the right mix of money, money, and money to convince the city to put in speed bumps.
Over the course a few conversations, a few of us roughed out what it would cost to:

1. Print replica speed bump signs.
2. Replace official speed bump signs elsewhere with the replicas.
3. Install the official speed bump signs and speed bumps along his road.

It didn't total up to too much, but so far as we've heard, he never went ahead with it. That said, I doubt he'd tell us if he had.
posted by Kreiger at 10:54 AM on August 14


Nobody in this thread regularly drives a car? That's what I'm hearing?

I don't know about anyone else, but no, I don't regularly drive anything. I do have a license - a learner's permit, all of 3 weeks old (and trust me, 16 was a long time ago). Since then, I have driven a car very slowly around a parking lot and some quiet streets. I've even gone through a traffic light.

But mentally, I'm still a pedestrian, transit user and cyclist. Driving is a useful lifeskill (which is why I am struggling to acquire it), but I really hope that I never forget my experiences and those of the people I know.

I also have friends and relatives who, for medical reasons, will never, ever be drivers. Whenever I am in places that are designed just for cars, I think about how exclusionary they are - and also, I think about how short-sighted. All of us have had a time when we could not drive (childhood, for one) - and most of us will also experience a time when we cannot drive again (disability and/or age).

Non-drivers: we walk - or ride a bike or ride transit - among you all the time.
posted by jb at 11:57 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


Thanks for posting! I saw this yesterday on twitter and declared her my hero.
posted by ferret branca at 12:16 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Honestly, my dim view of most motorists is informed by the homicidal bullshit they pull against each other on highways more than how they behave to cyclists.

I've definitely had people do intentionally close passes to establish dominance while I was on my bike. Once, someone even ducked so far over into my lane that he clipped me with his mirror. But those people are the exceptions.

On the other hand, people who cut across three lanes, pass with less than half a car length of clearance, and honk angrily at other drivers who are going merely 10 mph above the speed limit somehow seem to be the norm.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:18 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


(Meanwhile in NYC we got this. Maybe I should try to enforce the lanes singlehandedly?)
posted by ferret branca at 12:21 PM on August 14


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