Sep 9, 2009

Back to School

School Season Again.
Originally uploaded by Snak Shak
This week It was abundantly clear that the school year has started again. Kids are waiting at corners with their helicopter parents eyeing me as I ride by (I don't look like a kidnapper, but you can't really tell, apparently) and school buses are out on the roads once again.

The yellow buses are not a problem, really, except that they are loud; so far no kids have spit on me or thrown garbage on me when they pass (I probably just jinxed myself with that sentence).

(The semicolon is my favorite form of punctuation - more than a comma, but less than a period; perfect).

The problem, to the extent there is one, is the little Head Start buses. I am all for Head Start - they provide education, health and nutrition support to low income families with little kids (okay, I didn't research that but it's pretty close to right). There's plenty of families in the Head Start program on Park and Portland Ave., so the buses make quite a few stops along the length of my commute route. There's no bus stops on these streets, however. That forces the little buses to nose in and "take the lane" in the bike lane.

It's not that much of a problem, in fact, when I took this picture yesterday, the car over my right shoulder actually slowed down and let me in to get around the bus (thanks for that), but it's a hassle I didn't have before, so I have to post it here to maintain my reputation as a curmudgeon.

On a more sobering note, I had a near-miss yesterday morning. A car waiting in the left turn lane on 9th Street at 2nd Ave. got impatient with some jerks on bikes that decided to stop and chat in the left turn lane (huh?). As I rode up in the bike lane (between the straight-ahead lanes and the left turn lane), the car cranked the wheel and pulled into the bike lane to get around these assholes. Unfortunately, I was right there at the time and I had a car to my right (no escape route for this one). I yelled at the car (I think I said "HEY!" but I might have said "STAY!") and accelerated hard to get out of there. I was untouched but a little scared by that; it was pretty close and I would have been mashed between two cars. Luckily nothing bad happened.

Nevertheless, I ran my bright lights today and I think that made a difference. I may end up running flashing lights during the day, we'll see. I'll probably get complacent and give that up after awhile, but today it felt like the right thing to do.

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