Peeve of the Week
by Jason Harrod
Lately I have been logging some base miles. Long and slow is the goal. And since my goal is mileage we can honestly say I am spending a decent amount of time on the bike as well. I truly enjoy this time of year as it allows an ample window to gain fitness as well as being social on the bike. And being social on the bike is part of being a cyclist.
Take this past weekend. At the Marin Velo Club annual party, graciously hosted by one of our sponsors, Lagunitas Brewery, I met a fellow club member that up until that point I had only known as a data point on Strava. We conversed over a few tasty pints of beer and decided, seeing as how we both had Monday off from work, that we would take the holiday the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. afforded us to ride together. We were to ride Mount Vision in the Pt. Reyes National seashore; a ride I had never done but heard was fantastic.
First, the ride: sweet rolling paved terrain through the redwoods, skirting sunny and grassy dairy land, we cruised smiling in the sun past Tomales Bay – it was simply an awesome rip out to the climb. The traffic was light but unwieldy (the peeve to come), and oncewe hit the Mount Vision climb I don’t think we saw a car until we crested that wicked little kicker, dropped down some downright delectable dirt singletrack, skittered across some gravel fire roads and bombed down Limantour Beach road. It was a stellar day, though as sometimes happens with the good- there can come some bad. And this ride simply reinforced … well … I am not sure exactly what, other than the fact that drivers stopped at intersections will almost always look to the right before they look to the left. If memory serves correct it happened at least a half dozen times and the aforementioned ride.
This chaps my hide. No matter which direction one aims to turn the most imminent danger will always be coming from the left first. Think about it. No, really. Take a minute if you have not noticed this phenomenon and ponder the absolute lameness this represents. I see it at least once a day, likely a handful of times.
We see a lot of things when out riding the bike. That’s part of why we ride. Right? We take in the scenery, get a look at stuff the average person may miss especially when travelling by car. I guess you could say we pay attention to what goes on around us while others simply pay attention to … well … I truly have no idea. Most of us drive. A lot of drivers are riders, too. It would make sense that those who drive legally must pass written and practical exams, right? Then why is it when stopped at a stop sign or yielding at a T-style intersection with the intention of making a left or right hand turn the driver always, and I mean always, looks to the right first. The right? Why on this green earth would a person look to the right before the left? This makes no sense to me. Death could occur by not looking to the left. The left posses the most imminent danger to the driver. Kills me; could kill them … or me … or you … by not looking left. I just don’t get it.
Now, I have mulled over a ton of different theories in my mind as to why this happens. They all suck. The only one that seems to hold any water at all is the right handed vs. left handed theory. You see, I am left handed. I have used myself as guinea pig for this experiment and I always look to the left first. The only problems with my data are my sample set is sort of small and I could be a touch biased.