Today’s ride, on which I was so not invisible, for a change

There are days when I feel like I must be invisible, as one driver after another fails to see me. And too often, tries to drive right through me as if I wasn’t there.

Today was not one of those days.

Not a single car in the bike lane, for as far as you can see. Or ride, for that matter.

In fact, it was just the opposite, as one driver after another noticed my presence on the road, waving me through intersections and patiently waiting for me to pass. And I found myself doing the same, signaling drivers to go ahead, and waving my thanks so often that I felt like a beauty queen in a homecoming parade.

And they waived back in return. Like the guy I gave a small nod to, indicating that he should go ahead and make his turn while I waited at the stop sign. Not only did he notice, but gave me a smile and a wave of thanks as he rolled by.

Even pedestrians got into the act.

Like the guy who stood waiting at a crosswalk on a corner, despite having the green light. Maybe he was waiting for a walk signal that never came. Or maybe he was just waiting.

Either way, he finally began sauntering across just before the light changed, forcing everyone else to wait through the green until he eventually made it to the other side.

“Late start,” I grumbled as he walked by. But instead of getting annoyed, he laughed out loud and gave me a friendly wave for waiting.

Don’t ask me why.

Maybe everyone was just in a good mood. Or maybe the DWP spilled a few cases of Prozac in the city’s drinking water. Except no one drinks tap water in L.A.

Or unfiltered tap water, anyway.

Usually when I ride, I make a point of reminding myself to focus on the hundreds, if not thousands, of drivers who share the road safely, rather than the one or two jerks who don’t.

This time, I didn’t have do that.

Because there weren’t any.

Not one right hook. No left crosses. No close passes, rude gestures, insults, honks or near misses.

The closest I came to any kind of incident was the SUV-driving woman who darted out from a side street when she found a brief gap in traffic, only to spot me directly in her path. So she stopped where she was and waited for me to pass, blocking traffic in both directions until I was safely out of her way.

And yes, I waved my thanks to her, too.

Frankly, I’m grateful to anyone who doesn’t kill me. And unlike yesterday, if there was anyone driving dangerously or illegally, I didn’t notice.

It was a very good day.

Which just goes to show that, yes, we do have them. And more often than you might think.

Even in L.A.


Jeremy Grant explains how the California Vehicle Code applies to sharing the road, for the benefit of all those on either side who just don’t get it. Here in L.A., 36% of all crashes involve cyclists or pedestrians, yet only 1.2% of Federal transportation funding is spent on bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure locally. The CHP officer who said it’s against the law for a little kid to ride “the wrong way” in a crosswalk tries to explain himself; Damien Newton swiftly and effectively eviscerates his explanation (the comments are good for a laugh, too). The bike-riding jackass who allegedly stole a gold chain off the neck of a 5-year old boy faces charges. Ride your bike to Long Beach next Friday and get 20% off lunch. Lawmakers from my hometown propose a mandatory helmet law for children; the only penalty would be a friendly warning. Maryland is the latest state to consider a three-foot passing law — too late to save a popular rider. A lawyer’s take on why Florida is the most dangerous state for cyclists in the U.S. Over three-fourths of Toronto cyclists want separated bike lanes. Biking New Zealand cops offer advice on how to stay safe with idiots like this running around. Yet another risk on the road — your flashing bike lights could trigger a seizure in a passing motorist. Cambridge police give free lights — and tickets — to lightless riders. In the UK, they use cameras to measure the average speed of passing drivers; unfortunately, they put them in the middle of the bikeway. Finally, the Times asks if Long Beach is “the most bike-friendly city in America.” Uh, no.

But they’re sure making Los Angeles look bad.

One comment

  1. Ray says:

    I was pleased that the Cambridge, Mass. police were also giving out free lights some years ago during a “sting” to cite cyclists operating without lights.

    However, a little more consideration needs to be given regarding the lights are being distributed.
    N-cells for a tiny blinkie are expensive and hard-to-find.

    At least choices for cheap LED lights are better these days.

%d bloggers like this: