So, we go out for a nice ride on a nearly perfect day.
First irritation are the stoplights installed by Cobb DOT at Mars Hill Rd & Old Stilesboro Rd. that use video motion detection to trip the lights. Only problem is, the sensors just aren’t quite bike friendly and leave you sitting at intersection waiting for on-coming traffic to trip the lights so you can dart across when their light turns yellow… cause ours ain’t turning green unless a car comes up from behind. It was actually easier to cross BEFORE they installed the traffic lights and widened the intersection to provide more turn lanes than will ever be used. Well, heck. It was REALLY easy to cross a couple years ago before they installed really long traffic lights at the major intersections a few miles up and down the road from this intersection… you know, when traffic actually flowed instead of being bottled-up and then released such that now is always traffic coming from either the right or left. Nothing like a traffic light to create the need for another traffic light.
Second irritation comes from one of thoses stupid make-work road projects that make no sense, seemed to take forever to complete (the very nature of a make-work, tax revenue-wasting project), and that turned a somewhat quiet two-lane semi-rural road with a 35-mph speed limit where most motorists actually drove about 35-40 mph and slowed in the curves into a 35-mph speed limited road that looks more like a 55 mph road where folks now drive it at 55 mph. Oh yeah, great idea to make the road safer Cobb DOT: cut back all of the trees so that if a car goes off the road they’ll slow down a bit before they hit the tree, straighten out those curves that seem to be where four or five of the hundreds of thousands of cars that have gone through those curves went off the road and into a tree, and add sidewalks that no one uses to further urbanize the appearance of the road such that it invites those higher speeds. Makes you wonder if the folks who design roads actually know much about driving and driver psychology. Let’s see, why do they put chicanes in straight-ways on road racing courses? Oh, that’s right… to make driver’s slow down. Why do motorists tend to drive 80 and 90 mph out in the Great Plains or anywhere else where obstructions, trees, etc. have been cleared away from the road? Because the lack of those visual cues makes motorists feel like they’re driving slower than they actually are. Just friggin brilliant.
Final irritation comes from the prototypical heart attack waiting to happen driver in their POS mini-van filled with fast food trash who feels obligated to roll their window down, call you names and tell you you’re an idiot without realizing how friggin stupid they are. Case in point today, in the final stretch of our ride along a narrow two-lane road that Cobb DOT still hasn’t turned into a high-speed corridor we had two cars well back of us — the aforementioned motorist in the POS minivan followed by another mini-van (driver’s probably don’t realize that we use mirrors and know what’s going on behind us) — with an ambulance coming up from behind. Well, I could hear the ambulance, but I couldn’t see it and was waiting for it to come around the cars before pulling over tight to the edge of the road or into a driveway entrance. The two cars never really came to a stop and really couldn’t figure out how to get out of the ambulance’s way since the road has no shoulder and neither motorist dared to drop a tire off the pavement. But, after a hundred yards or so the ambulance finally came around the mini-vans. As it approached us, I pulled into a driveway entrance noting that with no on-coming traffic for several hundred yards the ambulance clearly had a lot more room to pass us than he did with the two mini-vans. Well, here comes the mini-van with his window down and way too close for comfort to let me know that I’m an idiot because I wasn’t smart enough to pull over to let the ambulance pass???? Let me get this straight, the ambulance was held-up by the two mini-vans blocking 80% of the right line and never had to hesitate when he passed us, but we somehow held-up the ambulance while we rode along the shoulder well ahead of the mini-vans and ambulance using 10% of the lane and then pulled out of the lane as the ambulance actually passed? What a friggin moron.
So, other than those three irritations, it was a great ride on a nearly picture perfect day.