I’ve been sexually harassed, I’ve had a water bottle thrown at me, I’ve been driven off the road, I’ve been hit, I’ve been door’d, I’ve been cut off and this past weekend, I can add that my life was threatened-verbally. I was riding east on Gay St. with a friend. Gay St. is a two-way street; one travel lane in each direction and I maintained my lane. A pick-up truck behind me was revving his engine; speeding up and slowing down to get my attention and probably to get me to move to the right but I had no intention b/c I had every right to maintain the lane. At the red light, he sped up beside me, proceeded to spit on me and said I should ‘share the fucking road.’ I said, ‘how do I do that, I am legally allowed to take this ONLY lane?!’ He continued to be antagonistic, wanting me to ‘hit’ him. I said, ‘I’m not going to hit you.’ He said, ‘I’ll end your life, you white bitch.’
A few more words were exchanged, the light turned green and since he was finally ahead of me, he was able to again maintain his driving cadence of 25 mph as oppose to my 15 mph.
I got home and couldn’t shake this particular instance. I’ve had ppl intimidate me with their cars and I’ve never had anyone verbally threaten that they’d end my life.’ I rang a friend of mine who really helped me put this situation into perspective. I could have handled the situation differently and I was beating myself up for it. But, my friend told me that that person was my teacher – teaching me how I can improve myself the next time b/c there WILL, inevitably be a next time. Thank you, JLa.
I’ve written a ‘Will’ in case I die and its b/c I ride a bike. How many drivers have written a ‘Will’ b/c they drive a car? I bet I could gamble and say ‘not a whole lot.’ I constantly think and obsess over WHY, we are in such hurries that when we are slowed down, it infuriates us. Why, as drivers, when we are slowed down, we have such anger and violence within us that we want to kill, intimidate, drive off the road, spit and harass. How did we become so disconnected with each other and we don’t see the ‘human being’ component.
I am a daughter, a twin sister, an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, a human being. When did we as human beings become so transparent that our destinations became more important than the safety of human life? You’re wanting to END MY LIFE b/c I slowed you down for less than two minutes? Let’s take a moment and really digest that sentence b/c that’s what I deal with on a regular basis.
Why is it drivers have more patience for school buses or public transportation buses when they make frequent stops yet they are ready to cut off and /or harass a person on a bicycle? What is the difference? The operator in any of these mode of transport is still a human being so why the fortitude with one and not the other?
Our streets began with people owning the streets – not cars. Now, driving has become such a part of our DNA that this sense of entitlement and ownership has taken over our streets and our neighborhoods to where people will kill over it.
I’m willing to die in order to change this mentality. I have been brought up to be a leader, not a follower. Streets are suppose to be mini theaters- acting out life experiences and this can’t happen when cars control streets. Families should want to take their kids on walks after dinner. Families should want to sit on their front porch or stoop and talk to neighbors about how ridiculous ‘Honey Boo-Boo’ really is. Nobody wants to do this when their front yards are three lanes wide and cars speeding at 40 mph.
I look forward to the day when we realize that some congestion isn’t always a bad thing and that life WILL NOT END if you have to slow down. I look forward to the day when more people see change as a good thing and not fear it and react recklessly.