Scoot Commute

Bad driving Thursday

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2010/09/16

What on earth was going on today? Full moon? Space debris? Alien invasion? I saw some really bad driving today.

Let’s start with the morning.

On Eagle Street (just after the infamous 5 points with Atwells and Harris Avenues), there’s a pick-up truck driving in the wrong direction on the divided roadway. It appeared that he pulled out of the Dunkin’ Donuts and just meandered down toward Valley Street with not a care in the world to the fact that the street is one-way in the opposite direction.

He finally veered over at the light where the cement barrier that divides the street ends. This means, he was directly in front of me. As I got closer I noticed that the rear bumper was attached with bungee cords. “Hmm,” I thought. “Better keep my distance lest I get hit with some flying metal.”

As we came up to Valley Street, he apparently wanted to go straight into the bath supply shop as no signal was put on even though it’s a T junction. Oh, but wait, he turned right. I’m still behind him at this point as we approach the next light where it is two lanes; one for making a left and the other for going straight (another T junction).

I’m giving the guy plenty of space because, well, that bumper is jiggling all over the place on the potholed wreck that is Providence’s streets. He pulls to the right and I think, yeah, you’re making a Rhode Island left. Sure ’nuff, he swings that little beast of a Mazda up the hill that is River Ave.

I turn behind him and then he comes to a stop. Like the truck just doesn’t want to go up this big hill. I give a couple of “toots” of the airhorn (gotta love the Stebel) and it jerks the guy out of his pot-induced stupor to put on his left turn signal. Ohhhhh, you’re making a left into the DEP lot. Thanks for alerting me to this fact. Ugh. I quick toss of the scoot and around I go.

As I ride up further on River Avenue, I see a van wanting to back out onto the street. There are two cars in front of me who whiz right by the guy even though the light ahead is red. I look and there’s no one behind me so I stop and indicate to the van driver to pull out. I get a big wave and return a helmet nod. Feel-good move of the day, the light just turns green as the guy takes off and makes a right. It didn’t even cost me a car length. Why don’t people look ahead and anticipate?

It wasn’t supposed to rain until nighttime so I wore the BMW Savanna jacket today. I figured I’d be home before the rain started. Oh, so wrong. I’m convinced that jacket is cursed as I seem to get caught out in the rain every time I wear it.

I left campus late as it’s still the insanity that is the start of the semester. Some of it, my own fault; some of it caused by the actions (or inactions) of others. Either way, October can’t be too far away.

As I pulled my helmet on over my head, the rain started. Heavy. Great. The streets were sliiiiiiipppppppery! I was taking the turns slowly. As I approached the right off of Atwells onto Knight Street, I was taking extra care to avoid the two sewer grates that are at the turn (nice planning there, DOT) but one of my tires still caught a grate and the bike did a slip. I had my foot out to bang the bike back upright so I was fine, but I think I gave the car behind me some entertainment.

Continuing the ride home I had a woman honk and give me the finger as I pulled out onto Westminster to make a left because she was upset that I was impeding her travel even though the traffic was stopped due to a back-up at the light at Westminster and Barton. Way to go, lady, with your kids in the car. Teach ’em some of that Broad Street attitude that’ll serve them so well.

It’s raining steadily now and I’m getting wet. As I complete my turn, I’m behind a girly wearing a green hoodie and shorts on an old skool Honda with an American flag stuck on the sissybar. What is with all the old Hondas in Providence?

My final brush with death was as I was crossing Cranston Street on Dexter. The light is green and I’m barreling down Dexter, slowing as I approach the light because you never know what will happen at this intersection. A woman is thinking about crossing the street across Dexter, against the light, on the corner where John’s diner is. She thinks better of it, but not because of the guy who makes a sudden right-on-red in front of me as I’m slipping through the intersection. I give him a couple of horn blasts but I doubt he heard even the loudness of the Stebel Nautilus because he was so engrossed in his cellphone conversation, slunk down in the seat, being all cool. I never realized driving a car was cool (unless it’s a Koenigsegg).

At this point in the commute, mind you, my commute is about 3.8 miles, I’m thinking that I just want to get home in one piece. Please, no more stupidity.

I pull up to the garage, kill switch, dismount and unlock the garage. I push Franz Biberkopf in for the night. Sheesh. I think I may just take the DRZ tomorrow!

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