Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Another reason I choose my bike: Bumper Cars!

Believe me, I have plenty of reasons to justify using my bike downtown regardless if I ride it all the way or throw it on the front of a bus. It's not like I need any convincing.

Today, while sipping on my daily dose of fatty, caffeinated carbohydrates, I saw a car. I see plenty of them, but this one was pulling in and out of a parallel parking spot. I watched the driver take about nine tries to get her car parallel parked. Three of those attempts resulted in rear-ending a lamp post. Two of them resulted in rolling her rear tire into the curb, another try got her successfully backed ONTO the curb. I believe she probably scraped her front fender on the chrome bumper of a parked pickup truck at least one of the times, and she finally got parked. Not surprising, she was on the cell phone the entire time.

I told JR he could get rich quick if he just stood there on Main street and offered to parallel park these idiots' cars for a few bucks. This and several other snide remarks from me resulted in Lorin and JR calling me a jaded grouch that's crotchety beyond my years. I can't say I disagree with them too much. I could probably blog a few times per week posing as a curmudgeon who's got a serious bone to pick with the world. How'd Lorin word it? Something like "Observations from the rocking chair."

No sooner did the Inner City Soccer Mom (JR's Words, not mine!) finish banging her Grand Prix up on Kansas City's streetscape, a pair of nincompoops in a PT Loser start having the same problem. Four attempts and two scraped wheels later, the driver (if you can call him that) has somehow managed to park, but leaving almost a foot of room between the car and the curb. Look, pal. You already trashed your wheels. There's no need to park in the middle of the traffic lane. He made up for it by backing firmly -- and almost intentionally if I do say so myself -- into the SUV behind him when leaving.

There are other horror stories of people getting their cars damaged in the very same parking garage my bike resides in while I'm at work, too. It's pseudo-valet parking that's 3-4 cars deep. You park, then hand your keys over so the cars can be moved if someone who's boxed in needs to leave. Hard telling if it's other car owners or the "Skilled" valet drivers to blame for dings and dents in the garage. I'm just glad I park on a bike rack by the Motorcycles, where there's plenty of room. Although, now that I watched a Grand Prix successfully back over a 6" curb and into a lamp post, I'm really thinking twice about using lamp posts as improvised bike parking. In fact, I'm wondering if the bike racks that are a full 8' from the street are vulnerable to these drivers.

Random Tunage:
Masters & Nickson - Out there (5th Dimension)
Crystal Method - Blowout


Anonymous said...

I hear ya. "Observations from the rocking chair" -- great!

gwadzilla said...

it really is not that hard to park a car

the driver's test should be more difficult

better yet

they should issue an IQ test to drive
that would put less drivers on teh road

Yokota Fritz said...

I'm seeing more than the usual number of folks who can't parallel park.

I learned very recently that California driver test no longer has a parallel parking test! I was in the car with an Indian cow-orker going to lunch. I said, "There's a parking spot! .... there's another! ...

{pause as he continues driving}

Me: "Umm, why are you passing all of these spots?"

Him: "I am sorry. I do not now how to park like that."

Me: "??? Didn't you need to take a driving test when you got your license? What about the parallel parking test?"

Him: "There is no such test."

Me: "!!!"

We did a Chinese fire drill at a stop sign so I could park his car (a little Honda Accord) for him. I learned to drive in Tokyo Japan. Just give me three our four inches of space in front of and behind the car and I'll scoot it in for you. I'm not quite as good as this guy, though.

Yokota Fritz said...

Oh, here's another good parallel parking video.

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