Did You Know?

People walking are five times as likely to be killed by a driver traveling 30 mph as one going 20 mph.

The Feng Shui of the Secretary of State

TC O'Rourke shared this story the other day on a list serve.  I thought it would be great to share it with our blog readers (with thanks to TC for allowing us to reprint).

Yesterday, I renewed my drivers license.  It had expired in Nov. 2006 and I'd probably not driven in the 6 months proceeding, so I'm gonna claim 3 full years without having been behind the wheel.  Not a bad run.

During my visit there was the obligatory wait in the wrong line.  There were text-messaging employees of marginal intelligence. (One asked for my license, then told me she couldn't accept it, because it was expired.)  The Feng Shui of the place was all jived up; at one point I wandered into a break room.

But these annoyances did not compare to the road test.

Upon climbing into the vehicle, my tester immediately began to poke at the dash, trying activate the air-conditioning.  When it was running full blast, I attempted to close the windows and she cried out as if I were sealing her tomb.  STOP!! she yelled.  I need to hear the sirens.  I briefly imagined the test was to include eluding the police.

My tester had all the patience of a 6 year old.  The speed limit here is 30 not 20 she snapped at one point.  Since it wasn't posted, I'd decided to play it safe;  regardless, I don't recall any minimum and, not to toot my own car-horn, I have recently been tested on road laws.

Now pull up my tester barked at each intersection, before we'd even come to a stop.  I began to wonder if her orders were code for Look: I don't care if you come to a complete and full stop behind the stop bar, let's just get this over– Jeopardy is on.  But then I envisioned it all as some sort of trap.  Do you think you can break the law just because your passenger says so? she'd say, failing me.  It would be devious, but I wasn't taking any chances.

Finally, as we approached the facility on Elston I stopped behind a left turning pickup, at which point she let our a loud, frustrated sigh.  We sat a few seconds and she began to fidget.  Uh-ho I thought, suddenly realizing why each oncoming car had a little orange flag.

You can go around she said pointing to the *bike lane*.

This statement was made without her usual curtness, almost softly, under her breath.  Yeah, she knew.

I began to sweat.  I don't think…  I literally bit my tongue.  My mind raced generating replies that would send the conversation on a downward spiral. 

I wasn't going to lecture her on the law.  I wasn't going to say I didn't mind the delay. 

And I sure as hell wasn't going to drive in the fucking bike lane during my road test.

She knew and I knew and then she knew I knew.  It was only a matter of time before she knew I knew she knew and each further knowing would get uglier.

I think… but no other words followed.  Time stood still.  I cocked my head an pointed in the general direction of the bike lane.  I had nothing.

Then, by some miracle, the last of the mourners passed and the pickup completed his turn. 

I took my right foot off the brake pedal and applied it to the gas pedal, hands at 10 and 2.  She resumed her impatient cattiness as I piloted the vehicle through carefully arranged cones in the parking lot.  I don't look bad in the photo.

Good grief, it's no wonder motorists don't respect bike lanes.