Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged… On Main Street

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The biblical title of this blog could be applied to just about any driver on the road. As we constantly break speed limits, roll through stop signs, speed up just to drive through red lights, and commit a myriad of other infractions every time we drive, we still believe we are better than the drivers around us that we perceive are piloting their vehicle with a greater level of irresponsibility.

Last Wednesday evening, while riding to meet friends at a local brewery, my route took me along Main Street in Downtown Rochester, which underwent a 4-3 road diet and was striped for bike lanes many years ago. This has made biking along Main Street much more palatable.

Moving along at a decent 16mph pace, I looked ahead to see a red light up ahead, along with a “weathered” Cadillac slowing to stop for the same light. I pulled up next to the car in the bike lane and and halted my progress behind the stop line for the intersection.

The driver abruptly made a right on red, which didn’t phase me until he stopped mid turn, rolled down his window and began to lecture, as drivers do.

“Know your rules of the road, you can’t pull up next to me, you have to stay behind me.” I countered with my greatly deeper knowledge of the on-road laws.

“Sir you are 100% incorrect. This is a bike lane, I have every right to pull up to the line.” Please review those rules of the road, OK?

“That’s not true, you’re breaking the law and it’s gotta stop,” snapped the driver. As he was saying this I realized something about his right hand turn.

“You didn’t signal your right hand turn, so… who’s breaking the law?“

After an admitted exchange of expletives, the man squealed the tires and sped off, breaking yet more traffic laws. Here was a man that was piloting a 3000 pound vehicle, lecturing me on the rules of the road while breaking several laws himself, the effects of which had a far higher potential for injury or loss of life. This is the mindset of the average American driver… judgmental of others’ infractions, yet blissfully unaware of his own missteps and the potential consequences.

I was 100% obeying the law, and here was a driver telling me I wasn’t while breaking multiple laws himself. This is an innocuous and yet poignant example of just how the over-prioritization of drivers has led to this ego-charged lack of self-awareness we see on our roads today.