Monday, March 22, 2010

Idoits, Idiots, Idiots!!!

That's just the way I'm feeling right now. Everyone (except me, of course) and their brother is a bona fide idiot. These perceived idiocies are mainly related to transportation of one kind or another. Everyone who works for Budget Car Rental is an idiot, especially those who make Budget's idiotic policies. I won't EVER rent a car from Budget again. Obviously, I've had a few issues with Budget lately.

The driver who cut me off on Highway 280 the other day as I tried out my "new" (as in "new to me") 2005 Prius is an idiot. The people who come into the Quiet Room in the library (where I am now sitting) with their iPods turned up so loud the whole room can hear them right through their headphones are idiots. But the Grand Idiot Prize goes to the woman who was riding her bicycle yesterday in my neighborhood in San Jose, on the wrong side of the road, with no helmet on, with a BABY strapped to her chest in a baby sling (of course, the four or five month old infant wasn't wearing a helmet either). What was she thinking?

Let's be clear: I live in a pretty nice neighborhood, with people who make modest but decent salaries and have clearly graduated from high school. I also live on a very narrow street, where two cars sometimes have difficutly passing each other if cars are parked on both sides of the street. Two cars AND a bicycle are probably not going to be able to pass each other at the same time without damage to someone or something.

Background information: I have been hit by a car while on a bicycle, not once, but twice. Let me tell you, one has absolutely no protection on a bicycle. If you get seriously injured or killed, it doesn't matter who had the right of way. The first time I was hit while on my bike, I was standing at an intersection (with bike helment on), waiting to cross the very busy six lane El Camino Real when an older gentleman, in his 80s, made a right turn without looking to the right, and sent me and my bike flying smack into the middle of El Camino Real. Luckily for me, the timing of the traffic light two blocks away was in my favor and no cars slammed into me as I lay stunned in the middle of the road.

The second time I was hit, I was not so lucky. I was riding my bike home after work in a residential neighborhood on the peninsula before meeting my dad for dinner. My dad was in San Francisco on a business trip. I was seven months pregnant, which didn't stop me from riding my bike to work, even though I had been hit before while on a bicycle. After all, I had my trusty bike helmet on. But, as I was merrily riding the short distance to my home, I was hit by an elderly woman who was driving down the wrong side of the road. She was in insulin shock; she hit me and just kept on going. The cops caught her sitting in her car in diabetic stupor several blocks away. I ended up with a broken femur, two weeks in the hospital, major surgery, and ten months on crutches, not to mention a severely wrenched back and premature labor. This is a rather dramatic way to start out your life as a new mom; I really wouldn't recommend it. The baby turned out fine; babies in utero have the significant protection of their mother's hardened bellies and amniotic padding for a reason.

Somehow, I felt these two accidents of mine gave me the authority to give out advice to the cycling mom. So, I pulled up to the bike rider and yelled out the window "Get a helmet!" Actually, I didn't quite do that, but just about. I did pull up to the rider and lectured her that she should be wearing a helment since you cannot control the behaviors of motor vehicle drivers and that I had been hit twice myself (or something like that). What I wanted to do was call the cops and have them give her a ticket. A BIG ticket. Not only is it against the law for your child to not be wearing a helmet while riding a bike, it should also be considered a child endangerment issue.

After I delivered my message, the woman causally said to me "Yes, I know", like its no big deal. How does one get the message across? Stunned by the sight of an infant on a bike without a helmet, I was flabbergasted, and tongue-tied at her response. Later I was thinking that since I didn't seem to make much of an impression on this young woman, what else could I do? I could write to Mr. Roadshow of the San Jose Mercury News, and the incident might get some press, but I have a feeling that the folks who read Gary Richard's column are not the same people who need to be impressed by the seriousness of the situation. Then, I had an idea. What if someone posted a video on YouTube? Simulated, of course, with a baby doll instead of the real thing. Perhaps a video simulation of a near miss between a bicycle-riding-mama and a vehicle would scare some of the younger folks into taking the bike helmet issue seriously. Do you think my YouTube idea would get any "hits"?

With my luck, the police would be able to trace the video to its source and I would be the one arrested for child endangerment. Hmmm.....I might need to post the video with a warning that "no actual human babies were used in the making of this video".

1 comment:

  1. that woman is tempting fate -- what an idiot.

    i think your youtube idea is terrific -