A Letter to the Driver of the Ford Explorer Who Threatened to Break My Fingers

Dear Driver of an Eastbound Metallic Gold Ford Explorer, License Plate 6RK979, Eastbound towards Signal Hill on Willow and Long Beach at Around 6:30 AM on Thursday, July 11, 2013 with a Dodgers Sticker on the Bumper, Who Got Out of His Car, Challenged Me to Fight Him, Yelled at Me Calling Me a Faggot, and Threatened to Break my Fingers,

We probably didn't get off on the best foot.

99 times out of 100 had I met you in different circumstances, person to person, I probably would've been cool with you, and probably you would have been cool with me as well.

I don't have beef with you, I don't even know you.  And unless your a government agent who is confusing me for Eric Snowden, you don't know me either.

So let me take this opportunity to explain everything:

I think any type of anger is due in part to unfulfilled expectation.  You expect the street to have only cars in it.  I violated your expectation by biking on the right-most lane.  I expect drivers to know a bit about driving laws, especially in a city that wants to call itself the "most bike-friendly city" and go around me.  You violated that expectation by technically getting around me, but driving so slow when in front of me, and getting out of the car hoping you as a 6 foot something man could push me around.

The middle finger I stuck up at you:  it was impersonal, but a not-so perfect solution to expressing my discontent.

Its a compromised, crappy reaction but it communicates this:  I belong on the road.

How do I know I belong on the road?  California law.

Me lifting my middle finger is a "compromised reaction" because usually drivers just speed up:  there isn't any time to have any conversation, you're moving at 20-45 MPH.  You can easily forget anything I say or do as a bicyclist.  I drive too and I easily forget the crappy moves I make.  I don't expect you to remember, me sticking up my middle finger is just a general way to get you as a motorist who likely isn't a bicyclist to remember.

To some motorists, I am the slow-moving bicyclist who is the obstacle causing traffic to move even more slowly.  I think it shouldn't be that way.  Now that I'm actually on a bike myself (and have been for the past 4 years, which is relatively recent), I actually sympathize with bicyclists on the street and make it a point not to rush them when I'm behind the wheel.  I also sympathize with motorists and make it a point to make clear that I am a vehicle and by abiding by the traffic laws --- that means I don't skip lights or run too many stop signs or red lights. 

You didn't seem to expect me to be on the road, much less put up a fight. 

I just encourage you for the sake of your sanity and your driving record that you simply expect bicyclists to be on the road as a PART of traffic.

I generally hate biking on Willow St. especially near Signal Hill, but the law says that I am allowed on the road and this was the quickest route to work.  As the video from a few months ago shows, this wasn't the first time I've had problems on this street as a bicyclist amongst motorists.


I only got off the road and into the sidewalk while "having a conversation" with you because I don't know what a person in rage might do, inside a protective box, behind a set of wheels that can go 80 MPH, while my vehicle weighs about 20-30 lbs and doesn't offer a big box, a big bumper, shocks, or air-bags.  If you hit me with your car while I'm on my bike, chances are its not going to end well for me.  And as a believer in karma, it wouldn't end well for you either.

I was just trying to get to work, I don't need any kind of physical disability as a result of a few seconds of anger.  You are entitled to still think of me as a "faggot" as you wish, for not fighting you, but really I was just thinking how hard it would be to go to work with broken fingers or any other broken limbs.  It would really set me back as an economically-unstable student with all kinds of odd part-time jobs and no real access to health care unless you count my mom, the nurse.

No comments: