U gotta have heart


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Originally uploaded by Emily Thurston

Happy Phelantine’s Day to my 200 faithful riders (and you shiftless, spotty-ass ones, too. You’re all great).
My friend Emily Thurston dragged me around the Tomales Loop with her pals David Q. Strong and Shmoola-from-Oregon. The ride took most of the day, and Emily bought us all lunch at the “Dilly Dally Deli” in Tomales.

Out on Hwy  One, we passed the wreckage of a fuel tanker crumpled in a ferny ravine on one of the very tight turns just outside of town.
This had a noticeable chastening effect on the cars, sorry, drivers, that eventually squeaked through the road block (there was another tanker sucking out the contents of the overturned one, with about two dozen Authorities standing around. It was clear the driver was munched, too, ambulances and fire trucks crowded the road).

I appreciated this ‘chastening effect’, because even though the west County is swarming with cyclists every weekend, more so after a wet week, motorists don’t drive carefully. They drive as if we’re slalom poles, if they even see us. We could be wearing neon, we could be naked, we’re still invisible.  The moto-tourists are full of oysters, beer, and cheer. They are on the phone. They just looked down for a second…..there is a ‘toll’ I hear about too often: “allegedly drunk driver kills experienced cyclist (doctor, lawyer, bike bum, the gamut) on quiet road”. Rural Marin roads feature lousy sight-lines, curves, and hills that, if you’re cruising at fifty, top out with a panorama–and one teeny little inconveniently located cyclist that the motorist swears he didn’t see.
Then up goes the little flower memorial, or the permanent marker if you’ve got a determined boyfriend with a few bags of cement, and everyone somehow heads out as if it will work out OK. I practically say a prayer when I wave goodby to Charlie each time I head out on even just an errand. My friend P. was on the sidewalk when she was mowed down by someone hurriedly backing out of the local health food store. The cop wrote a report that left the motorist blameless!
We are unlikely to re-write the rule of law, re-configure policy to favor “vulnerable users” of the road because the monolithic industries which rule our weird third-world nation would prefer not to. It might make people re-think cars.

I think I’m in a bad mood.

And on Phelantine’s day. How did this happen? I sat down to write an endorphin-soaked love letter to my readers….

~ by jacquiephelan on February 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “U gotta have heart”

  1. No chance of “Strict Liability” in America(?)

    http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=316#post-2413

  2. No chance…

    Looking forward to the day when ‘Momentary lapse of concentration’ stops being used in Scottish courts.

  3. It was wonderful riding with you, I like this write up. I’m relieved that we lived. I believe we have to do the social engineering job of riding far enough out into the lane to discourage unsafe passing, on those blind turns, while also being courteous and sharing the road, facilitating friendly social norms on the roadways. One honk in 75 miles is ok by me.

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