Commuting, Phone-Zombies, Construction

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phonezombie-carMore of an observation post than anything else, but in the last few times I have commuted, both on Raven and in my car, I have seen more and more people looking like phone-zombies while trying to drive through the traffic.  Everyone knows it is unsafe, even deadly, to be looking at a phone screen while driving.  It is beyond common sense now, but common knowledge.

It really isn’t a surprise to me that it happens, especially when you sit for 3 lights to make a turn because a bunch of asshats decide to block the intersections, even though they know as they drive into them they wont get through.  And then, they sit there and shrug their shoulders as if they are surprised the line of cars in front didn’t move.  It doesn’t help that 4 lanes of one way traffic with 3 different blocks turning into them have to funnel down to 1 lane to make it up on the expressway…

And once you are on the expressway, again, 4 lanes are funneling down into 1 lane going north across the bridge, and 1 lane going east to again split up to go north and east again.  So, we have people trying to get on the expressway and people on the expressway trying to merge over and change lanes and no one really paying attention.  It is as if they are just assuming the other people will move.  Most of the time, you end up with people stopping and yelling at each other and flicking each other off.  But never once are they putting down the phones…

For the last six year I have been riding our city’s mass transit system (TARC) to get in and out of downtown.  There is an express that picks me up less than a mile from my house and drops me off on the end of the block where I work downtown.  Being an express bus, with limited run times (2 routes in the morning, 2 in the afternoon) most of the people, if not all, are business men/women and medical students.  I fall in the business category.  For me, in the mornings I generally “rest my eyes.”  In the afternoon, I generally watch a movie on my iPad or surf the net for a bit.  In fact, riding the bus is what prompted me to get the iPad in the first place, when they first came out.  Best decision I ever made in regards to entertainment.

With riding the bus, you get to sit back and let someone else deal with the phone-zombies, bad weather, bad drivers and all that crap that comes with leaving the downtown area.  Before all the construction started, I would get on the bus at 5:11 (or so) and get to my car 11 miles away at 5:40 or so.  Not bad, considering it only shaved off 5 to 10 minutes if I drove in.  Now, still leaving around the same time, but getting to my car at 6:05 pm instead.  And it all comes down to getting out of the downtown construction.  Construction that isn’t scheduled to end until late 2016.  Driving is the same thing anymore.

Now, the first time I rode into work on Raven, it took a little longer than it would have in my car.  I was taking it easy, and I added about 10 by taking a back road in rather than the expressways.  I wasn’t quite ready for those…  Heading in was easy.  Leaving, well, that is another story.  I still had to contend with all that traffic heading the same way I wanted to go.  However, I found it was much easier for me to filter through the traffic than any of the cars.  I really had to watch, however, because the cars would just suddenly decide to change lanes.  Raven is quick, and much like a weeble (they wobble but they don’t fall down).  I really just took my time, left room in front, waved off people too close behind by sitting lights (ooh, yeah, that pisses off the cagers).  The first 2 times I got home roughly the same time I would have if I had ridden the bus.  That’s OK, however.  The bike will be less to operate and park than the monthly pass for the bus takes.  Once it gets warmer.

One thing did happen on the way into work one day, however.  Keep in mind, it is 7:20 in the morning and I am 2 blocks from the garage at work.  I am stopped at the light, in the far right lane (so I can turn into the garage.)  I am also in the middle of the lane, rather than the left 3rd.  Cager pulls up next to me.  RIGHT next to me!  As in, 2 wheels in my lane, mirror almost touching my handlebar.  I lean over (full face mask, I am in all black gear on a black motorcycle) and look in the car.  Idiot is staring into his phone, typing away.  I bang on his window with a gloved (and armored) hand and he throws his phone up into the windshield.  After recovering, he rolls down the window and starts yelling at me.  I asked him if I was going to continue to drive in MY lane, or stay in his own.  He keeps yelling, window down.  Light changes, and I speed off – putting as much distance as I can between myself and the phone-zombie.  Well, he ends up weaving in and out of the lanes (retrieving his phone, no doubt) and I don’t see him as I turn into my garage.  Yep, that happened.  No one takes responsibility for their actions.  To him, it was my fault I was in the lane he meandered into, not his fault that he didn’t notice he almost hit someone.  Too bad we cant sterilize these people…  So, for all of us on two wheels – watch the phone-zombies.  They are a whole new level of stupid and blind.  Leave extra space, signal often and early.

A note on the construction.  The plans are to create 2 bridges to help the overall flow of traffic in the greater Louisville area.  But getting there is a mess.  Here is a link that will help explain and show what is going on:  Ohio Bridge Project

Stay Vertical and keep the shiny side up!

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