8.16 Killing Me Slowly

I equally dislike bikers, pedestrians and drivers. Let me explain and agree with me or not, I don’t really care. Primarily, I get around the city by bike, my feet or car. I’ve seen bikers blast through stop signs without even looking. Pedestrians with strollers jaywalk across streetcar track laden roads in front of buses. Cars? Too many things to include just one dumb example. So, when I’m biking, I hate pedestrians and drivers. When walking, I can’t stand bikers and drivers. When driving, I lose my mind with pedestrians and bikers.

Full disclosure: I was technically wrong in this situation and I take responsibility for that, but give me the space to regale you with a story. A few weeks ago, I went out for my first long bike ride of the season. Biking along the waterfront is one of my favourite things to do. No cars, (mostly) separate paths for bikers and pedestrians. Sure, even though there is a perfect trail SPECIFICALLY for pedestrians, they still insist on walking down the middle of the bike lane, but this is neither here nor there. I apologize for that digression.


I’m riding along Humber Bay Park where the trail converges into one path for pedestrians and bikers. Knowing this is the case, I usually switch over to the road that runs parallel to the path. It’s just easier to avoid the unpredictability factor of your average pedestrian. At the end of the road, there is a short strip that turns into a one way street going the opposite way that I was traveling. Okay, this was where the technically being wrong part comes in.

I’m a big fan of the city making bike lanes down one way streets that travel the opposite way. It helps solve the problem of bikers riding the wrong way down a one way street, which happens all the time. As a driver, this is annoying. As a biker, I never do this. Except on the particular street by Humber Bay Park. As a justification, first, the one way road is a short way to where it rejoins with the bike path. Second, it’s a wide road with lots of room.

So, I’m technically wrong and riding the opposite way down this one way street. A car approaches, slowing down as it nears me. I move as close as I can to the side of the road. As the car slows, it starts drifting right at me and we found ourselves in some kind of bizarre game of slow motion chicken. He almost hits me, coming so close I reached out and touched the car, as though to try and push it away. As the driver passes, he puts his window down, yelling that I was going the wrong way.

Again, I was technically wrong in this situation. But as a driver, was the proper way to help me learn from my mistakes to threaten to slowly run me down? Two wrongs do not make a right. I continued on biking, confused at why someone would take such a drastic action. Then I thought, Well, maybe this person was in the right? Maybe we could deal with low level idiots in a similar way, but like, very slowly?

I’ve noticed a problem with cars not stopping for open streetcar doors. Instead of the streetcar just honking his horn, perhaps he could pursue the car? And at a main intersection, slowly do a right turn, threatening to run over the car, which would not be possible, but still the message would be sent.

In addition to biking, I’ve been doing laps at the nearby community public swimming pool. People do not have any etiquette when it comes to lane swimming. Especially dudes. Guys believe that they are the fastest swimmers and insist to be in the fast lane even though they are not fast. Usually, I just end up being the only one in the slow lane while a group of men fight it out in the fast lane. Maybe we can send a message? I’ll forgo my usual slow lane and jump into the fast one. When swimming, slowly move over and head right towards them. At the last minute, swerve to the right, informing them of just one more terrible mistake they’ve made.

On an escalator, you stand on the right, walk up the left. Escalators have been around for a while, but some people can’t seem to understand this stand/right and walk/left dynamic. It’s a difficult concept, I know. When someone is checking their phone while standing on the left, what if we maneuver up in front of them, and at the top step off and just stand there? Since their face is buried in their phone, they will realize all too late that someone is blocking their way off the escalator. But do this just for a moment, just enough time to give them a flash of fear.

Okay, don’t do these things. But still, we all make idiotic choices, maybe we could learn from our mistakes? I know that I won’t be riding the opposite way down one way streets anymore. Some guy might try to slowly run me down. Well, I won’t be riding down one way streets except for that short strip near Humber Bay Park.

Paul Dore