Clumsy, destructive, careless, drivers

June 30, 2012

Most people reading this are going to think this is nuts. If you spend a while riding a bike you start to think about these things.

I ride my bike to work at least twice a week, and I get to see stuff dropped in the road, and stuff dropped on a bike (multi-use, really) path. The stuff dropped on the road is usually smashed up, unless it is indestructible. The stuff dropped on the bike path is usually picked up and pinned to a tree branch where it will be seen, or set down carefully at the edge of the path, or placed on top of a bench or a barrier. On the road, there’s always road kill. Dead squirrels, dead chipmunks, dead bunnies, dead beavers. Saw some a dead weasel, or maybe a fisher, once. On the bike path, I’ve seen one dead chipmunk in years of use. People not in cars are a lot more careful, polite, and helpful. I’m not talking about attitude — it’s easy to say that you’re polite — I’m talking about actions and results. People driving cars smash things up that are in the road, instead of setting them aside to that they can be reclaimed later. That’s not very nice.

And of course, it’s much easier for people walking, jogging, skating, or biking to spot things and dodge them or pick them up, but that’s a choice, isn’t it?

What set off this rant, today, was finding a dental mouthguard that someone had dropped in the road, that someone in a car had subsequently run over and cracked. Mouthguards cost hundreds of dollars, and this one was trashed, because someone in a car was careless. And on a bike, it was easy to see, easy to stop, and easy to pick up. So I did.


2 Responses to “Clumsy, destructive, careless, drivers”

  1. Jack Wickwire Says:

    Yes it is harder for someone riding a car to avoid running over small objects that are in the road. But, no, the car rider wasn’t careless, the person didn’t see the object and your antipathy towards people who drive, “…but that’s a choice, isn’t it?” doesn’t justify your negative characterization.

    All cars can’t be replaced by bicycles. Some can, but not all. Car riders and their passengers may even drop more things than bike drivers or not; there are so many more that a much lower percentage of car riders could litter and still leave the vast majority of trash, etc., on the multi-use roadways. The negligence of even a few has made a mess of curbs and shoulders everywhere.

    But you don’t have any idea who, why or how that mouth guard got on the road. You don’t know but you wrote a morality play that lays the blame in comfortable well-worn ruts. I would have preferred to read a more nuanced piece but you obviously didn’t write it for me.

    • dr2chase Says:

      I wrote it to make people think, and it appears to have made you think enough to be uncomfortable enough to reply, so I’ll take that as a small win.

      You did miss the point somewhat — this is not about littering, and it is instead about how driving a car gives people license to do things that would be considered destructive and rude in any other circumstance. That you don’t see this as rude is entirely my point — if the effect is obnoxious (killing animals and leaving them on public ways; smashing dropped valuables instead of picking them up to put them somewhere safe) why isn’t the behavior that causes that effect also seen as obnoxious? What causes you to decide that the behavior that produces obnoxious outcomes is not itself also obnoxious?

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