Warm. Warmer. Disco!

With the glorious return of Spring and the rise in temperatures (although it still is quite chilly in the morning commute!), I bring you some observations from my winter commuting experience in the form of a top 6 list of people/drivers/vehicles/stereotypes that are most likely to hit me. These are in order of furthest away from me as they go around me to the closest brush encounters:

Big Yellow Menace

#6 – School Buses

Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t terrible, but they have to make the list. For some reason these buses feel it necessary to speed around you wide, but cut back as quickly as possible, almost forgetting that the bus extends beyond the 3rd row of students.If the bus is empty? Even worse!

#5 – Men in older model Mini-Vans

I don’t know what it is, but this is a crazy phenomenon that I have witnessed countless times over the winter, and so far it holds true in the spring as well. Women in mini-vans steer well clear and give plenty of room, doesn’t matter if the model is new or old. They seem to have respect. Toss a dude in that same seat and they turn into some sort of bitter crank-pot who is angry they have to drive said mini-van I suppose and therefore feel it necessary to take out their aggression on us poor cyclists by shading ever closer to the side we are on.

#4 – City Buses

Buses are a common means of traveling by road.
GRT Stands for Greedy Roadhogging Transit

I think every cyclist out there would agree that it is very dependent on the driver of each City transit behemouth whether or not you are going to feel death coming on. Let me share with you a recent experience. I was riding along University towards the east. I decided to go around a bus that was picking up passengers at a stop. Nothing wrong with that, except apparently this curmudgeonly old cout who was driving decided that he would teach me a lesson for messin’ with him. At the next stop light, I am the first vehicle in line but pulled well off to the curb, the bus pulls in behind me, very close I might add. As the green light comes on, I floor it but remain close to the curb knowing the bus will pass. Instead, he continues to stalk me until finally he goes around, quite tightly. I know this bus route so I know at the next road he will be turning right, and I back off to ensure i don’t have to stop behind him as he does so. Well, doesn’t this old guy decide to turn the corner as slow as possible, and not only that, stop (stop!!) as he turns. No other cars are around, so this is clearly done knowing I am behind him and he is trying to annoy me (which works!). Anyway, I know the route so I know he will catch me much further down as he comes back to University near Bridge. Sure enough, just as I reach the intersection he comes up to turn left. I stare back at him but he won’t even look in my direction, clearly avoiding me (I’m obvious in my stare at him and my bright green jacket, he knows me!!). Gah. So that is my story. I went home, ranted and now I am ranting again. This isn’t the only reason they are on the list, but this is a good one. I admit, this might be a bit fresh.

#3 – Oversized Trucks

See”Monster Truck” post, but imagine it moving. Anything with big tires and a big ego along with it are clear winners in the “i’m bigger than you and I can squish you so get outta my way” race. Clearly I, the cycle-commuter, am a much less superior being than you who drives a gigantic, penis enhancing nuclear weapon of a truck. Kudos to  you on coming ever so close. But like your life, you are still only 3rd best (or worst).

Low End indeed!

#2 – Lowend mid-sized vehicles

I’m not sure why, but this is a crazy phenomenon. I think it might have to do with the age of the drivers of these cars. Typically this is an older model Grand-Prix, Ford Taurus or Chevy Cavalier driven by a 20-30ish aged person, usually females drive closer than males from my observation. It could be that the car is just so junky they figure that if they hit something they can just bang out the dent my head makes  without much issue or they can just dump the car and get a new one for a cheap price.

#1 – Cabbies

Without question, the WORST for coming close, for speeding by and for just plain being annoying. Do these guys drive all day and not actually look in their mirrors? Are they so sleep deprived that they cannot see me and my 2 red flashing lights and reflective jacket? I have had more close calls with these jerks than any of the above combined. It doesn’t matter nationality, race, or colour, if you drive a cab you are apparently just a douche. I think I’ll wear a yellow jacket with a lighted dome on my head so they think I am one of them.

Some honorable mentions:

Dump Trucks and Cement Trucks: Not consistent, but can be too close if it is late in the day and they are probably on overtime.

Late Model SUV’s: Probably a penis thing again.

Pickup Trucks: Has to be a specific type of driver. Usually older with grey hair. I’m just sayin’.

Coming Soon: Review of my new Scott Sub 35!!

2 thoughts on “Warm. Warmer. Disco!

  1. Great post, for my route I’d add pedestrians wearing headphones under a touque with their eyes fixed on their smartphone walking 4 abreast on the iron horse trail.

  2. From a St. Catharines perspective, I’d say the worst are SUV drivers and females (usually younger) in smaller to mid-size vehicles.
    They are about the only ones who give little space here.

    Pick-up truck drives in StC are actually quite courteous, though when there is snow on the road they tend to speed and drive recklessly.

    I would rank school buses much worse in StC. Although many are fine and give plenty of space, I still run into quite a few issues with them.

    City buses have improved immensely over the years here. I remember 4-5 years ago when a city bus cut in front of me within 5 metres to get to it’s stop.
    For the past couple of years they have improved significantly. They give more then enough space when passing and they wait behind you when approaching a stop.

    Taxi drivers are interesting. They tend to be #1 on every cyclists “hit list” for the worst.
    Here in StC I wouldn’t even rank them in the top 20.
    The “big 2” cab companies I find are extremely courteous and our newer cab company is just as good.
    I do tend to give taxi drivers a bit of a break when they do have a “slip-up”.
    Having known someone who use to work for a local cab company, the stories you hear are incredible.
    The amount of bad drivers they deal with on a daily basis (pedestrians & cyclists included), people who try to scam them, some of the people they have to drive (ie. many ‘druggies’), and countless other issues.

    They also don’t work for only a few hours, many put in 10-12 hours daily so think of the amount of crap they do have to deal with every single day…Plus I believe every year driving a taxi is ranked as one of the most dangerous (non-emergency related) jobs.

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