Jan 16, 2010

War Elephants

With our city streets narrowed by snow, ice and parked cars, we are having to pay a lot more attention to on-coming traffic when driving, and both on-coming and over-taking traffic on a bike. Inevitably, someone has to move aside and wait to let the other pass or it's going to be a bad scene.

More often than not, when I am on the side streets close to home I'll move aside to let one of my neighbors pass. Not a problem - friendly waves are often exchanged and it's all rather civilized. Further from home, however, I am more likely to encounter large and unfamiliar vehicles, like City trucks or Xcel Energy maintenance trucks. These things take up all that's left of the roads, and they look a lot more hostile over your shoulder.

After getting nudged aside a little prematurely by an impatient City truck on Oakland Ave. last week, I have come to referring to these vehicles as "War Elephants" with good reason.

Be careful out there.


  1. I had 2 count em 2 Xcel trucks blocking the Ft Snelling trail heading towards the Mendota bridge forcing me to walk through the snow twice. When I mentioned they were blocking the trail they more or loss told me whatever. I did not have time to get vehicle numbers etc. so I have not called them

  2. I always find it interesting that the general public behaves much better than city employees or those of big corps. Cars more so than not, leave space. Xcel trucks, city vehicles, and the bad yellow school buses seem totally in a daze. Really, slow down for a few seconds and give me a chances to pass or move over. Is that really all that much to ask, seems so.

  3. Minneapolis needs to go to odd/even side parking for at least the winter months, like Milwaukee. Sure, it would cut the (completely subsidized) on-street parking in half and be inconvenient for people to move their cars daily. It would also change the nature of snow emergencies for the better and make the streets more passable.

  4. Amen on the odd/even issue. I think people's mind frame changes once they are at work and that's why trucks and school buses are generally worse to deal with than, say, people driving to work (I have a job to do here so f_ck you). I generally try to carry a camera when I ride so I catch interesting scenes, but it's handy for capturing license plates and "how's my driving" phone numbers, too.