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Four wheels vs. two wheels

July 29th, 2011 · No Comments · Letters to the Editor

I have been waiting for the proper time and forum in which to tell my bike rider story. Since I just heard on the radio that the city council of Los Angeles just passed an ordinance giving special protections under the law, the time has arrived for me to vent. No, I am not a bike rider.
About a month ago, Saturday, around noon, I ventured out to Bixby Road headed east towards Orange Avenue. That’s my neighborhood; I drive Bixby between Cherry Avenue and Atlantic all the time. At the intersection near Walnut Avenue and Bixby, I came to that all too familiar four-way stop, and proceeded. (The suspense builds…)
Two bikers in the newly created bike lane were headed in the same direction as I. But wait! A little problem occurs! Even though the bikers have on their legally required helmets, and are seemingly out for a casual bike ride, one is 10 inches out of the bike lane and into the car lane. Further, there is a car coming towards me in the opposite direction, so I cannot swerve a couple of extra feet to give him good clearance from my gas-hog, eight-cylinder Cadillac DeVille. I could easily hurt this guy if he veers into my lane anymore, and he was biking very s-l-o-w-l-y, so I beeped my horn.
Well, these guys were alert! They instantly held up their arms pointing “the finger” up towards the air. They were verbal too– a flurry of expletives shot out of their mouths like fireworks! I was a little surprised.
At the nearest intersection with a stoplight, Orange and Bixby, they quickly sped up to speak with me. Oh, yeah, they did! It was more of the expletives through my car window, up close!
I opened my window enough to point out (loudly), “You were over the line. You have a whole bike lane all to yourself!”
The younger guy said, “YOU were over the line!”
“I didn’t want to hurt you! I am in a CAR– I could hurt you!”
With that, the younger guy got personal and referred to my middle-age spread and said, “We know you were on your way to go get something to eat– just go ahead and do that.”
I used one profane word back to him, to show I may be middle-aged, but I can swear like a sailor too.
My last words, and they were the final ones in this dialogue, were, “You are not helping the bikers talking that way. You are not helping the bikers talking that way. You are not helping the bikers talking that way!” The light changed, and they took off towards Atlantic Avenue.
What I learned: the best defense is a good defense. Next time, I’ll pull over, call the police sub-station, report it, and wait for a cop to come write them a ticket. I won’t bother with a warning honk. I won’t swerve out of my lane. I’ll let the police take care of it.
And please, State of California Legislature, do not pass a similar ordinance for the entire state.
Maybe some people on bikes are on a bike because of a DUI. They’re not all angels. That would be social profiling if we thought every biker just wanted to save the planet.
I have been waiting for the proper time and forum in which to tell my bike rider story. Since I just heard on the radio that the city council of Los Angeles just passed an ordinance giving special protections under the law – the time has arrived for me to vent. No, I am not a bike rider.

Mary James
Long Beach

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