He was riding his bike on the designated bicycle lane, like any normal person would. On this particular occasion, however, my coworker got the short-end of the stick; which resulted with him breaking a couple of fingers and a wobble in his gait that makes his accident look worse than it really was. He claims it was the driver’s fault for not looking and the driver, according to my coworker, claims that it was the other way around.
In LA, cycling conditions are terrible. First of all, the sidewalks are as narrow as can be making it uncomfortable even for pedestrians to walk on. At times, it is difficult for two people to share one sidewalk when walking in opposite directions. Given this fact, cyclist cannot and should not use the sidewalks as a means of transportation. With that in mind, cyclist are relegated to the busy roads; busy with heavy cars, driven by heavy and angry people, releasing heavy airborne pollution, making everyone’s lungs heavy with carcinogenic toxins.
Cyclists in LA are between the proverbial rock and a hard place as they are technically not pedestrians and technically not motorists, but a little of both. The solution to this awkward hybrid-ness is naturally, the bike lane. These bike lanes would be a solution if most drivers were to actually respect and abide by them. But as any Angeleno could tell you, drivers don’t care about anything outside of getting to their particular destination or texting along the way. The latter is actually the root of the problem; distraction, thy name is texting.
As a general rule, whenever I’m on foot, I always try to make eye contact with the moron behind the wheel. If I see that they have seen me, I go ahead and go on my merry way. If I don’t see the whites of their eyes, I do like Col. William Prescott at the Battle of Bunker Hill and withhold my fire. In a city like LA, where thousands of people drive thousands of thousand pound vehicles that guzzle thousands of dollars in gas every God given day, vehicular manslaughter is a very real and common occurrence. This high number of vehicle related deaths can actually be attributed as much to the motorists as it can to the pedestrians. Drivers may be distracted, but sometimes pedestrians can be a little too trusting.
The sheer volume of motorized vehicles, cyclist, and pedestrians in LA makes injury or death to various members of these groups inevitable, but I think that we as citizens can cause a more lasting change than any municipal or state policy can. We just need to respect each other and the rules of the road, they were drafted for a reason. To drivers I would say, pay attention to the damn road, stop texting, don’t speed; if you don’t want to be late to wherever the hell you’re going, leave earlier and don’t take it out on other drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. To cyclist, stay in your own lane and off the sidewalks. It is super annoying when you yell at pedestrians to move out of the way for you. Remember, pedestrians can’t commute on the road, but you can. Pedestrians, stop being jerks when walking. Yes, you technically always have the right of way, but you don’t have to be so haphazard when on a stroll. Don’t forget that in a collision between you and a car, you’re the soft squishy entity that will end up in the hospital, rehab, or dead. This goes for cyclist as well. Let’s try to share the road and not try to kill each other in the process.