Life Without Wheels: Chronicle of a Car-Free Lifestyle
As I approached Highland on 4th this morning, I pulled up behind this woman, driving her nice big SUV. I noticed she was talking, in a very animated fashion, on her...wait for it...cell phone. Phone held in her right hand, glued to her ear (if you zoom into the photograph you can see the shadow outline), she kept looking back and forth frantically to see if it was safe to cross into the median.

I watched as she would start forward then look the other way and slam on the brakes. Frankly, it was scary to watch her be so distracted, waiting for the accident to happen. From behind her, I made large gestured of making a  phone sign with my left hand, putting it to my ear, then very clearly making the "hang up" gesture. She either didn't see me or didn't care. I considered pulling up next to her and confronting her, but as Bike Girl said, it was not the right battle. I could only hope that she would be lucky, that the people who are in cars around her would be lucky, and the pedestrians and cyclists she passes would be lucky. I watched her pull through the median, then into the Southbound lanes and away. I shook my head and hoped.

When I pass drivers who are obviously breaking the law and talking on the phone sans hands-free device, the anger I feel is for myself. They are putting ME at risk...especially this woman in her HUGE SUV, which would obviously kill me in any "accident" between us. But as I watched her drive away, the anger and sadness I felt was for the families--her family, the family of the other person, my family--all the people who would miss her and or the people she might harm or kill because it was more important for her to talk on the phone than be safe. We so often think about how these careless individuals put others at risk, but what's really sad is that they don't care that they put THEMSELVES in so much risk. What's more important, taking what's probably a relatively unimportant call or being alive?

I'm going to go with being alive.



01/01/2010 21:35

Ugh, that is sadly a common occurrence in Chicago, too. Also, sorry to hear about the crappy group ride experience.

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