Thursday, October 05, 2006

If you can afford a Maserati

What is wrong with these drivers? Are they brain-dead from the steering wheel up? Yesterday lunchtime I encountered not one, not two but three incidents of thoughtless and illegal driving.

First was the lady in the Mercedes who stopped her car two-thirds of the way over a Zebra crossing (US: crosswalk). I glared and walked round.

Then there was the smartly dressed lady in a silver Maserati dialling a number on her hand-held mobile (US: cell phone*). As a frequent urban cyclist I am particularly sensitive to drivers who are not in full control of their vehicles. Before I could react the lights changed and off she drove phone still in hand.

As luck would have it I met her again several blocks later as she was feeding a parking meter. I introduced myself and in my best über-polite manner pointed out the nature of my concerns, observed that if she could afford a Maserati she could certainly afford a hands-free car kit and suggested she treat herself to one.

Finally there was the Volvo driver who decided that stopping at red lights was optional. I was at a junction, the lights had changed fully to red and as I started to cross this driver, half a block away, decided stopping was not for him. I narrowly missed having my toes run over and I gave the side of his car a good thwack with the flat of my hand as it whistled by.

Mary says I shouldn't do this as some drivers are very protective of their vehicles. If he had stopped to remonstrate with me I would be polite but am quite prepared to engage the 'very loud shouty circuit' if needed and go verbally postal. This is the kind of driving up with which I will not put.

* I love the Italian use of the diminutive for these: telefonino - little telephone.


Anonymous said...

Excellent! (If a little restrained for my taste)

What was Miss Masterati's reaction to be being chastised?

Mark McLellan said...

I once read sage advice to the effect that there are only two reasons for giving feedback. Either you want them to change their behaviour or you want to vent your feelings. Be aware which you are doing so if you do let rip then you should not be surprised or frustrated if they do not change.

I wanted Miss Maserati to change her behviour so I was careful not to pass judgement on her driving. I did articulate my fear of being knocked down by drivers not in control of their vehicles in order to evoke sympathy. Then I suggested, not told, her to "treat" herself to the hands-free.

Her response was muted partly due to the fact that she still had the phone to her ear through the whole transaction. Who knows, it may make her think and go legal. At least I tried.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You'd have a field day with the mad drivers here in Sicily! I don't drive but you take your life in your hands as a pedestrian. You have to step out onto zebra crossings as if you stand on the pavement you will be there all day. Then you just have to convince yourself they will not mow you down - they only look as if they will. I did enjoy your post and admire your restraint!