Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Little Crusades

[Maryanne]I've always been frustrated by the privileges given to cars (compared with public transport, walkers and cyclists). Sidewalks that are overgrown beside the busy freeway, leaving me to either purchase a machete or dodge the local traffic. All those things annoy me. Why put up with them when you can find someone with the power to fix it to complain to?

Big on pedestrian rights, especially since I've moved to the USA where even the police just drive right over a zebra crossing while you are crossing on it; they just swerve around you. It frustrates me that drivers here seem to think they have the right of way from their warm/dry/air-conditioned cars sat on their butt, in conditions where I not only have the legal right of way, but I'm out in the elements often carrying groceries or laundry... Both common courtesy and the law would expect they give way to the pedestrian in a crossing. So where I can I make my point and FORCE my right of way (as you can imagine I'm not too popular with drivers).

More recently (since being in Boston) I've noticed the local stores don't provide bicycle racks. I tried making my point by securing my bicycle to especially inconvenient places, but subtlety was obviously not going to work. At the local Lowe's (DIY Store) I secure my bike to whatever big display they have outside the front doors; sometimes a lawnmower, more recently a wood splitter contraption. Otherwise I'm left to secure it to local street signs, not always convenient. I get kind of miffed when all those cars get to park so close to the door, and I have to walk way over to the other side of the parking lot after cycling all the way there.

In the end, at the local "Stop and Shop" supermarket, I asked to speak with the manager. She clearly (even not knowing my topic for discussion) did not want to talk to me and kept me waiting for 45 minutes. She obviously didn't know who she was dealing with, I waited her out (you can do that when you are retired). I was calm and factual. I pointed out that not only did they not have a bicycle rack for me, coming from the local marina, but there was a whole new development opening just a couple of blocks away - surely it would be a good investment - I even threw in high gas prices etc for the catch. She was non-committal, suggested others had said the same thing, but it was out of her hands. She was keen for me to finish... blurbed on about the landlord, etc. But guess what? A week later a bicycle rack appeared. Pretty cool eh? I was shocked, and pretty glad I waited those 45 minutes.


Lou and Meg SV *Starrider* said...

I always knew you were a (cute) bundle of fire, a force to be reckoned with. See, one person CAN make a difference! We are proud of you for having the guts and the time to wait it out.

During our 15 day cruise we also noticed the lack of bike racks as well (we bike around just like you do). The only place we visited that had bike racks everywhere was at Block Island. They also had bike rentals available. For a laugh we rented a tandem bike and really enjoyed it.

Maybe you could stop everywhere on your trip south, and request bike racks. That way when we head north again next year, racks will be there waiting for our use, lol!

Mommy Dearest said...

BRAVO, Maryanne! And double-Bravo. A girl after my own heart. When my time comes, I shall die in peace knowing you are out there stirring things up. {clap clap clap clap}

Angie said...

Yeah....that's My Maryanne!!! You sure are missed at the marina. Without you I have to fight all the stupidity myself! I'm so glad they got the bike rack situation sorted out, I know the original response you got was pretty annoying, lol. Miss you and you FIRE!