Just like riding a bike

by on June 13, 2009 · 4 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach

Photos by Dave Gilbert

I saw in a piece that Doug Porter did recently that last quarter bicycles outsold automobiles & trucks in our country and I thought to myself that either we’re making a pretty crappy car (which we are) or people are getting back to a more economical mode of transportation.

Sure, as that Missing Persons song goes, “Nobody walks in L.A.” heck, that’s part of why I could only stand living there for a year. But O.B. on the other hand has every thing that you need within walking or at the very least biking or skateboarding distance. All 3 of these modes of transportation are not only good for you but once those endorphins kick in, it makes you feel good too.

Without trying to sound too pedestrian, something really blew my mind the other day. It was something I hadn’t seen in a very long time. Someone riding a bike actually stopped at a stop sign. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I mean cars barely stop at them anymore, STOP has become more of a suggestion rather than a rule for safe driving and well, if you’re riding a bike and have some momentum going, why on earth would you want to stop anyway? It’s just a stop sign and who’s got time for that?

Trouble is I’ve almost hit many folks blowing through Stop signs on their bikes or skateboards. Pssst, hey you guys, a lot of motorists really don’t see you! They’re too busy talking on their cell phones or doing any other of the myriad of things that demand our attention in this ADHD world of ours. And to make matters worse, even when you have the right of way and are in a cross walk, you could still get killed or seriously hurt…though you will have the beauty of knowing that you were in the right. So, you got THAT working for you.

It’s also kind of a grey area here, as there are no designated bike or skateboard lanes in O.B. proper and that really leaves 2 very popular modes of transportation at odds with some of it’s citizens. Remember that first and foremost pedestrians have the right of way when either on the sidewalks or when crossing the streets.

On a side note though, I do have to laugh (or at least wonder, wtf? ) when I’m walking down the sidewalk and there are 2 or 3 people walking toward me and they refuse to have one of them drop back and I’m run off of the sidewalk because they simply HAVE to walk side by side no matter what, but I digress….

One last word to the wise, S.D.P.D. is pretty good at camouflaging themselves at these stop signs, so next time you’re thinking about blowing on through where that funny red octagonal shaped sign is on the corner, you might just want to stop and take your time, go ahead it won’t kill you. Enjoy the “Slow Be” lifestyle because I for one would love to see my fellow OBceans live a long and happy life, and besides that…I really don’t need a new hood ornament.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Gilbert June 13, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Just my light hearted attempt at a PSA ;)


bodysurferbob June 14, 2009 at 11:21 am

Any of you oldtimers remember the Burma Shave series of signs that went something like this: (I can’t remember the exact words, but the point was that while driving it’s better to be alive than to be “right”.) Jeff do you or Jon Quate remember?


annagrace June 14, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Late one night we stopped at a red light in our City Heights neighborhood, and watched as hundreds, HUNDREDS, of bicycles came toward us. Critical Mass night in the hood! It was all rather thrilling- the sheer number of cyclists, their energy. “Wo-ee ain’t it great” was in the air and we just sat there smiling and waving at them. The jackass in the car behind us laid on his horn. The light had turned green and we weren’t going anywhere- wiping out errant bicyclists isn’t on my life list of things to do. The cycle of red and green repeated itself a number of times, the guy behind still had a death grip on the horn and those bikes kept whizzing by, lights be damned.

When anarchists on bikes meet jackasses in cars, you can bet the results aren’t going to be pretty. Heavier equipment wins over ideology every time. One Critical Mass rider was killed in an accident a few months ago.

When in the company of the two wheeled, I think it’s best to take a deep breath, enjoy a vicarious thrill and graciously cede a few moments and a swath of a city street.


lane tobias June 14, 2009 at 9:24 pm

I still dont understand why people speed around the streets in residential neighborhoods like ours. The streets are SMALL the vibe is LAID BACK and there are a ton of PEDESTRIANS. It just seems dumb.

People need to slow down. Thank you DG.


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