Monday, August 10, 2009

Underage Driving vs. Homicidal Firefighters

I'm not sure what makes me more nervous as a cyclist—the thought of seven-year-old kids driving (at least the gum-snapping boy seems to be paying attention to the road rather than text-messaging) or the thought of getting shot at by a driver—a firefighter no less!—who stopped to tell me it's unsafe to be cycling with my child!

Maybe I'm getting paranoid. Maybe I feel more aware of how vulnerable cyclists are and how many distractions are already on the road (before you add an Egg McMuffin and a BlackBerry) after a month on the other side of the steering wheel. (I rented a van for July, to go on family vacation etc., and likely added at least five pounds of inactivity weight in that short time.)

Whatever. For the first time in Victoria, I've taken to cycling with a whistle around my neck and often in my mouth, at least when commuting with the kids in tow. (It would, I agree, look kind of silly on a mountain bike or even a road bike.) Bike bells are useless, I learned during 3.5 years of commuting in Toronto, while dodging drivers and trying to convince taxis that cycle lanes aren't high-speed passing lanes. Whistles get people's attention.

More attention than I'd intended, given the weird looks I got from drivers during the last few days—and I haven't had to blow the damn thing yet. Do I look like a lifeguard or a referee late for work? How is pedalling with a whistle any more strange than, say, the guy I saw driving while wearing full-on audiophile headphones and one of those wraparound-the-chin mics? Was he planning to land his car on an aircraft carrier? Or maybe play a round of Halo at the next stop light? How am I the crazy-looking one?

Oh well, as long as seven-year-old drivers aren't busting a cap in my helmet, I'm happy enough for now...

1 comment:

richard said...

You're determined to become That Eccentric Prof, aren't you? Thank goodness it doesn't have to be me taking on the role, that's all I have to say....