Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Car Window is Closing Fast

For about the third time this year I got behind the wheel of an automobile I'm a shitty driver, but relatively safe, because I know this fact versus my friends that crash their cars all the time while under the influence because they are 'great' drivers. But worse than your average driver I will admit through sheer lack of experience.

So I know, if I gave cars a chance I would improve gain confidence and blah blah blah whatever not having a car would be like not having my right hand.

But fuck that, I really can't imagine why. The best reason is for the weekly grocery run. But fuck that too, because I dislike all these people who choose not to live within cooee of work, supermarkets etc and thus 'need' a car. You 'need' a car because you wanted to live in Palookaville, probably because you wanted to rent a house from a bank in Palookaville instead of renting from a baby boomer in the inner city.

Anyway, advantages of riding a bike over a car are specifically exactly the disadvantages I have switching from bike to car.

1. Decision time, thanks to lower overall speeds and decreased braking distance you can make split second decisions quite easily and ironically you have much more time to decide. I really do take for granted how many and how easily I avoid collisions on a bicycle for this fact. Only on a bicycle can you avoid an obsticle without changing lanes etc.

2. Vulnerability/Agoraphobia, when you don't have a steal & plastic frame around you caged in by glass that removes all wind resistance I feel quite in touch with far more sensitive safety gauges than a tacometer. One simply feels in control, or not in control. If you can't sit your bicycle while turning around to see if its clear to turn, you don't turn. In a car it's different, I feel detached from the world I'm dealing with by the very piece of manufacturing that is designed to protect me. When I discover I'm going 60 when it feels like 5km to my internal tacometer I get unnerved. I can't explain it, but I can't feel the traffic around me either. I feel numb to the potential pain it can all cause.

3. You are never in the wrong lane, which is to say, you stick to the gutter on a bike. Thus if you discover you should have drifted right for a turn, no biggy. You wait in the gutter as the traffic goes by (painlessly) and then turn or you just 'transform' into a pedestrian at the lights and cross that way from the wrong lane. Or do an impromptu hookturn. It doesn't matter. In a big fat car (I was in a VW Golf) this things require going round the block, or getting off the freeway one exit too far.

4. Breaking the law, I admit that this is just part of cycling. Infact if anything bicycle lanes are conforming to the cyclists (hence the law goes to the cyclist) more readily than cyclists are conforming to the law. Hence in one way streets or inexplicable back road intersections, when its convenient to run a red or go up the one way street, ride on the footpath or execute a forbidden u-turn it's all good.
Not so in a car, (despite me seeing on my way home a guy trying to turn into the wrong side of Alexander Pde, as in drive into 4 lanes of oncoming traffic.) Why? because you are A) driving a lethal weapon and B) you have a license plate so you will get caught.

5. You don't have to think about fuel on a bike. Which should be obvious. Thus I find even pulling into the servo and operating the pumps, watching the meter and paying stressful activities.

6. You don't have to worry about traffic. Well yes you do, but only in the collision sense. On a bicycle taking Johnson st at any time of day is a perfectly good idea. In a car it can be incredibly stupid. I never factor traffic in to my driving route simply because I'm not used to it. What a stupid fucking waste of everyones time.

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