Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sometimes owning a car means you gotta make right turns

I live in Chicago where the car/bicycle/pedestrian culture is one that approximates Lord of the Flies or some sort of social Darwinian struggle for primacy as people try to survive in one piece as they go to wherever it is they go. Because I own neither a car nor a bike, I'm in the pedestrian camp, but I have some empathy--although perhaps not sympathy--for the situation facing bike drivers and car drivers. I realize they, individually, are each trying to make their way within an aggressive street culture that pauses usually only when someone is seriously hurt. It's a be-aggressive-or-be-injured sort of world.

Still, there are a few basic things cars (and bicycles too....I'm an equal opportunity complainer, except when it comes to pedestrians), can do. One of them is to not insist on making left turns when it is so inconvenient to every other transportationist in view. One advantage of owning a car is that you can go long distances in relatively short time. (To me that, along with the ability to take others with you, are the only real advantages.) Cars can usually afford to drive a little circuitously by making a few right turns instead of insisting on making a bee-line for the lane they want as they turn from the Dunkin Donuts onto Ashland Avenue (at Grand) at 8:10 in the morning without looking to see which pedestrian they're almost running over.

Update 7-15-10: I made a correction above. I had originally written "I have some sympathy--although perhaps not sympathy...." I had meant to say "I have some empathy--although perhaps not sympathy." On behalf of Google and the rest of the blogging community, I offer my sincerest apologies.

1 comment:

James Hanley said...

Carrying other people is not a good reason to have a car, but carrying cargo is. At least if you're as curmudgeonly and misanthropic, as I am.