I had a great time celebrating the election at the Citizens for a Responsive Local Government party tonight: more about that later. Right now I want to share an interesting bicycling related interaction that I had on my way home.
The following story is made all the more interesting because of a conversation about bicycling I had at the Election Party. The person I was listening to had just returned from a visit to Europe, and she told a wonderful story about the friendliness toward bicycles in the area she visited. She told of not riding in a car for the whole duration of her stay. She said that car drivers customarily expressed an attitude and behavior of respect toward bicyclists. It sounded to me like car-drivers made a general point to give bicyclists the right of way.
Now, what a contrast that is to here in Olympia, where every time I get on my bicycle I feel like I have to fend for my life. And I worry about those cyclists amongst us who are less defensively minded. And I really strongly wish we had a safe environment to ride bikes around here.
After having a delicious cup of Sleeping Universe at SIZIZIS ($1 off tea on Tuesdays...) I stopped by the new City Hall in order to graph some photons (pictured). After that, la-dee-dah, I got on my bike and started riding East on 4th Ave toward home. I was on the left side of the street, and since I turn left off of 4th Avenue, I stayed in the left hand lane the whole way from Cherry Street until my turn-off. One-half block from where I turn off 4th (on Quince) I heard a loud voice behind me saying "Get in the bike lane." So I yelled back, "what am I supposed to do if I am turning left?"
Turns out the loud-voice was that of an Olympia Police Officer.
I was pissed. I mean I could understand it if was a private citizen. Someone just trying to give a guy a hard time - after all people do need ego reinforcement, and our society doesn't provide a whole lot of healthy ways for people to boost their self-esteem. But this was a cop.
So I stopped.
Article in Slate this week: "American drivers should learn to love the roundabout" - compares the "modern" roundabout to older styles, traffic circles, etc., then uses a cute acronym to explain why they rawk. (STEP: Safety, Time, Energy, Public Space)
Also: "a larger question here is whether people who cannot manage to merge at low speed into a counter-clockwise circle and, yes, perhaps even change lanes in that circle, before finding the correct exit should actually be holding licenses that enable them to operate heavy machinery in the first place." Daaaamn...nice diss.
I gotta say I'm excited. I love the smooth swoopiness of the roundabout. I know bikes are supposed to exit to the sidewalk on most roundabouts, but sometimes it's just fun to roll through with traffic.
* Boulevard Road still strikes me as one of the funnier street names out there, right up with Farwest Drive Southwest in Lakewood, where I used to live. Is it possible to cram more street descriptors into a single street?!
OLYMPIA - WSDOT turned on several new traffic cameras in the Olympia area this week, providing Thurston County drivers with new tools to plan their commutes.i have to say, i didn't know that these existed. i can't find the surface street ones on the map - does anyone have ideas where those might be?
Four of the new cameras are on I-5 at Custer Way, Eastside Street, Sleater-Kinney Road and Martin Way. The other three cameras are located on surface streets at the intersections of Union Avenue and Plum Street, Martin Way and Sleater-Kinney, and Martin Way and College Street.
The new cameras are available on WSDOT's Olympia area traffic flow map: wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/olympia/
I was riding up 4th Ave last night at about 10 pm when I got a bad vibe as I heard a vehicle approaching. I could hear that it was coming up fast. I felt unsafe enough to stay as far to the right as possible, in the parked car lane. I was worried that the driver was aiming at me. Right when the car was beside me, the driver stepped on the gas and accelerated away up the hill. This was right near the intersection of 4th Ave and Eastside Street. It was an Olympia Police Department squad car.
Why do police speed? Why do police drive aggressively?
It's especially disturbing that police evince aggressive driving tendencies when they are not in pursuit.
The actions of this police officer as a driver(assuming the car was being driven by a police officer) were threatening to me as a bicyclist. This driver seemed aggressive and hostile.
Who writes the tickets for cops when they speed?