In almost every way, I consider my bicycle to be the superior form of local transportation, when all I need to move is myself and my sack lunch. However, from time to time, I get to witness an area in which motor vehicles are superior.
The lingering snow and ice has resulted in my needing to "take the lane" more often than I would, in better circumstances. I don't think it's a problem for most motorists... if there's more than one lane in the same direction, they can just cautiously move over to the next lane and go on by. On a 2-lane, 2-way street, traffic is rarely so heavy that I delay them for longer than 5 or 10 seconds, if at all. (I'm happy that I don't delay very many people - that would never be something I'd do intentionally or without good reason.)
I occasionally get a chuckle out of the response, every now and then, when an impatient motorist feels he's been delayed and wants me to know of the huge inconvenience I've caused.
A couple weeks ago, I was behind a couple cars at a red light... waiting for my turn to make a right turn (onto a less-crowded roadway). A guy in a big pickup waited behind me. The light turned green; I proceeded... never more than a car's length behind the car in front of me. When I got to the intersection, I turned. The pickup guy surged forward with a huge roar - I'm sure he floored it! He probably sent an extra pint of gas into his carburetor, as he blasted forward to fill that car length that I'd been occupying. So very impressive! He showed me! (And I was jealous! On a bicycle, I have no equivalent way to express my impatience!)
A few days later, at a different intersection, I was waiting for clearance to go straight through. Unfortunately, a guy behind me was waiting to turn. (Just as he would've been, if I'd been in a car instead of on a bicycle.) Finally - a break in the traffic. I rolled on through. The little rice-burner revved mightily, and I could hear his tires spinning, trying to grab the slippery pavement. Fast AND furious! But sadly, it sounded like an over-revving sewing machine or blender, compared with the brutal snarl of the earlier pickup truck! Pitiful! (But better than a bicycle, I guess. haha!)
Self-driving vehicles will put an end to this nonsense. The vehicle's computer control will treat the cyclist with all due respect while the lout inside is otherwise occupied.
Bob T - it's GREAT to hear from you! I've seen several comments from you, regarding the Brave New World that awaits us when self-driving vehicles are realized.
I agree with you that they have the potential to mitigate some of the emotional and attention issues that beset human drivers. I anxiously await to see how the concept plays out. (As a cyclist, I spend a LOT of time waiting at red lights when the camera/computer control system seems not to even know I'm there! I don't want 3000-pound camera/computer controlled CARS bearing down on me, without total confidence that they recognize me... know what I mean? And - I work in the tech industry. I spend all day talking to people whose technology has failed them in one way or another. I'm not yet totally confident in Microsoft Chauffeur 10!)
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