Greg Boone

An open letter to a certain DC driver

This is just to say,

You’re right. I did turn left onto N St. from 11th St. NW yesterday. It was not even 8:00 in the morning but there I was, on Brooks Saddle attached to my Surly frame, riding comfortably in the bike lane until about a block before my turn when, signaling as I went, I merged: first into the right lane, then the left, then, finally, into the turn lane.

Forgive me.

I have a driver’s license so I know how hard it is to move that right foot from the accelerator all the way to the brakes in order to accommodate slower moving traffic in front of you. And how difficult it must be to see such inferior technology making its way through our city faster than the half ton pickup truck you were driving. Such amazing amounts of energy to go so slowly through an urban area. How much gasoline did you us on your commute yesterday? About a gallon? And there I was impeding you ability to use it more quickly.

How thoughtless. I deserved to be nearly run off the road by you.

But honking wasn’t enough for you to tell me how disgusted you were with my choice to make a legal left turn. No, you also had to stop at a green light and slow down everyone behind you so you could verbally let me know exactly how inconvenienced you were. I suppose you would have rather I darted into your lane without signaling. Or perhaps, better, you would have rather I sped up, crossed N half way and ridden in circles around the intersection before running the red light to cross 11th in front of you. That certainly would have made it easier for you to exact your death wish upon me.

I swear to better reinforce dangerous behaviors in the future.

Maybe I just have you all wrong, fellow driver, because even yelling at me wasn’t enough for you. No, you had to take it one step further and impersonate a police officer who could “lock me up” for turning left. I wasn’t aware left turning was a jail-able offense but thank you for sparing me, oh wise one. You are just looking out for the law abiding people of the District of Columbia. I assume you also honk and stop to berate every driver who has ever cut off a cyclist, or driven their car without headlights at night or through a snowstorm, or idled in a bike lane, or failed to signal a turn.

Yes, I judged you all wrong, Driver. You weren’t a rude, snarling human being driving a vehicle 20 times the size of mine but a misunderstood civic activist, making sure that every traveler through DC’s streets is doing so to your liking. I should be thanking you for helping me better understand which vehicles are larger than others. I only wish I could have learned more from you. I hope we can meet again so you can teach me how to properly turn left on a bicycle, or how you might better design our streets to safely accommodate all modes of traffic.

Best wishes from your favorite cyclist,
Greg Boone

Apologies to William Carlos Williams