Wed 6 Jan 2010
Oh boy, chances are that by posting the above video of today’s vehicular transgression, I might hear about it from the esteemed Dr. Michael Cahn, member of the board of the LA County Bike Coalition board and a faculty member with the UCLA History Department who I’m honored to say is a reader of this blog.
Speaking of history, here’s the deal. For the past few weeks I’ve been tooling around on morning my bike commutes sporting a pair of videocamera sunglasses that I got from Hammacher Schlemmer after my mom expressed concern for all the biking I do and pointed them out as a solution to the need she saw for me to have evidence in the event I got involved in any sort of misfortune on the road.
Since I’ve pretty much retired my Canon point-and-shooter from its past place bolted to my handlebars capturing timelapse footage of my travels, and had given a cheap helmet cam a try that didn’t work out, I went ahead and said what the hell and bought a pair. From a gadget angle the extent of any review from me would be “they do the job.” While the video and sound quality is decidedly lacking, they do effectively capture footage from a between-the-eyes perspective.
One close-call incident in particular that the camera recorded was a driver making a left in front of me followed by me confronting the inattentive fellow who turned out to be a soldier in uniform. I posted it up here a few days before Christmas and shortly thereafter I found an email from Cahn in my inbox. Prefacing the correspondence with how much he enjoys my bikings and my writings, he politely took me to task for accentuating the negative and rightfully urged me to be wary of the temptation to produce an uneven portrait of persecution.
Wise words. And they certainly made me consider the detriment of spotlighting the bad things that can happen out there — especially since I always take issue with those who will ignorantly generalize biking the city’s streets as an insane activity too hazardous to undertake.
Because certainly good things happen out there, the majority of which includes the majority of my rides involving nothing happening at all. Motorists and cyclists can and for the most part do get along. As an example, my friend Ted Rogers at BikinginLA recently related a simple act of roadway courtesy that paid wonderful dividends. And you can bet if my camera’s rolling when something good happens (or even if it isn’t) I won’t hesititate to crow about it all over this blog, and I have so in the past.
But in the meantime, I’ll risk Cahn’s disapproval and welcome his thoughts on the subject of the damage I might be doing in displaying the egregious encounters that unfold in front of me — such as this one this morning: a textbook right hook by a driver who had just passed me. My hard braking prevented the incident from becoming anything more than a close-call, which then allowed me to get all preachy via my incredulously high-pitched and cartoony voice — but at least I expressed myself far more respectfully than antagonistically — to the apologetic man behind the wheel.