Private Firm vs. County Gov’t Agency… What a Difference:
This is probably not a fair comparison, but it’s just too good to not mention.
A few weeks back I decided to burn-off some of my vacation time on a Tuesday afternoon and used that time to get in a single-bike ride from our home . It had been a long time since I’d ridden during a weekday afternoon and while traffic was generally lighter than I expected in our semi-rural suburban area, there were two encounters along a lovely, two-lane tree-covered rolling road named County Line Road that got my attention.
The first involved a close-encounter with a local road construction company service truck and the second with a Cobb County School System bus. I wouldn’t normally care about being buzzed, but Debbie rides these same roads on weekday afternoons and Georgia recently passed a so-called “3-Foot Law” that requires motorists to yield a 3-foot safe passing zone around bicycles when overtaking. So, I took note of the time and identifying numbers on both vehicles. Once I was back at home I followed up by contacting senior leaders with the construction company & county school transportation department and politely recounted the close encounters while also suggesting they make sure their drivers know about the recently enacted 3-foot rule.
Private Firm: My note to the construction company’s COO was quickly passed to another manager who called the house and left a message wherein he asked that I contact him on his cell or office phone, with numbers provided. We subsequently spoke the following day and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the actions his firm planned to take in response to my encounter, i.e., immediately brief their drivers, incorporate cyclist awareness information in their driver training program, speak to the driver involved, etc… In current business speak, it’s what we tend to call “leaning way forward” and I was impressed. Moreover, the gentleman I spoke with was sincere and apologetic as well as sympathetic as he’s an avid runner who encounters traffic as well. I have no doubt they did exactly as they said they would do: they’re just that kind of firm.
County Gov’t Agency: As for my correspondence with the Cobb County School transportation official who received nearly the same type of written request to make sure their drivers were aware of the 3-foot rule…. Still haven’t heard back after nearly a month.
Beliefs & Being Unencumbered By The Truth:
I was reading a posting to a discussion forum the other day where someone offered perspective on a matter that was certainly within their rights of free speech and all, but it struck me as being rather, well…. seriously flawed and silly. But, it really didn’t matter what I thought because it was preceded by the all-important, mother-of-all-caveats: “I believe”.
What I like about the phrase “I believe” is the conviction and religious undertone it carries, never mind it’s staying power. I’m guessing the expression “I believe” was one of the first verbal concepts that early man developed because so little would have been understood or supported by factual data or scientific evidence during the dawn of man. And, to this day, “I believe” continues to be the go-to phrase whenever someone doesn’t want to be encumbered by the truth, facts, or the lack of evidence to support something that they’d like to be true.
With the digital age has come the ever-present acronym IMHO (in my humble opinion) which, similar to “I believe”, also absolves someone of having to support the associated statement with any factual data. Frankly, I use IMHO quite often in certain lively on-line discussions where I just don’t feel like investing the time to dig up all of the data that might be needed to support a statement of fact. But, IMHO just doesn’t carry the same impact as “I believe” nor does it incite nearly as much debate when others who hold “different beliefs” take exception and feel compelled to convince others that their beliefs are probably more true than someone else’s desired reality.
Long-live “I believe”… it’s a concept that has the ability to alter history, destroy civilizations and otherwise let us go through life unencumbered by the truth whenever it suits our needs!!!
Idiots & Maniacs… George Carlin’s Got Me Pegged:
I’m constantly reminded of this classic George Carlin ‘bit’ from his 1984 HBO special “Carlin on Campus” every time I get behind someone who’s driving below the posted speed limit… and I’m really, really, really trying to be more tolerant.
Unfortunately, when it comes to driving I tend to be a “driver’s driver” and more inclined to “Go Fast and Take Chances” than to “Take it Easy and Be Careful” and try to steer clear of people who aren’t all that engaged in the driving process. I’ve always seen driving and piloting motorcycles as a task that requires nearly your full attention with plenty of reserve capacity in case something unexpected happens.
Sadly, it looks like the vast majority of the other motorists are more focused on their electronic devices and other distractions inside their cars and would just as soon live in a world where their cars are controlled like giant slot cars that “drive themselves” from point A to point B without bothering the driver with that pesky task. Not always reassuring as a cyclist or as a motorcyclist who isn’t protected by a steel cage like those distracted motorists. I sometimes think drivers might take driving more seriously if they knew a nose-breaking fist would pop out of their steering wheel instead of an airbag.
Like I said, tolerance behind the wheel is a development area for me….