I am generally a positive person, but sometimes, it’s hard to keep that mindset when people annoy you. Today, there were literally dozens of them, mostly impatient people illegally driving several blocks down a two-way left turn lane in order to bypass the people waiting in the correct and legal lane. This was all so that they could get to the parking lot and get to the Geist Mini-Marathon and 5km race on time! By doing that, they were slowing down people who arrived before them and were trying to patiently wait their turn in the correct and legal lane. I find some irony in the fact that there are a lot of people representing charity groups who participate in this race yet, a lot of the people at the race, seem to only be thinking about themselves and their own conveniences (I’m not sure if it’s a charity event, but it’s sponsored by a major hospital). It was horrible. There was a whole lane of us sitting in idling cars while people cruised past to cut the line.
I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”
Needless to say, B.B. and I were late for the race. In fact, we did not make it to the half marathon start. We were able to make it to the 5km run. It was possible to continue running beyond the 5km, as it was the same route, but it wasn’t clearly marked. It was just as well, B.B. wasn’t up for the run and we started running about half an hour behind the last runner. Finishing a 5km is still respectable though. I felt pretty good running, but I attribute that to the training for the Mini Marathon earlier this month.
This race seemed like it could be a good run around Geist reservoir, although, a little hillier than I am used to running. However, if ever, B.B. and I decide to attempt this half marathon again, we will probably have to leave an hour earlier than we did (I think that we waited in traffic, less than a mile from the parking lot, for a good 40 minutes).
The biggest issue was the parking, or rather, the huge bottleneck to get to the school parking lot. It was very discouraging to see so many people taking advantage of the people who were trying to be patient. I think that the race organizers should consider having more police presence to help direct traffic. It was a frustrating start to the day that I do not ever want to relive.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 which is held each year during the Memorial weekend (this year it’s May 30). Not originating from the mid-west, even though I have heard about the Indy 500, I was unaware of the long history of race car driving in Indianapolis. For example, did you know that the first race on the Indy 500 motor speedway course was actually with motorcycles? In recent news, Donald Trump was slated to drive the Indy 500 pace car, but stepped down from that honor. Arguably, the Indy 500 is the most famous of all the car races. I can’t help but wonder if the Indy 500 hype is the reason why a lot of people here feel like they can drive like racecar drivers?
The one thing that irritates me here is the craziness on the roads. It’s sheer madness sometimes! I thought that it was kind of bad in Vancouver (there are bad drivers everywhere). Today, I was driving on one of the Interstate highways and some guy in a tan Toyota Avalon decided to tailgate behind me. I was concerned because we were driving a little over 55 mph (that’s 90km/h) and he was so close, I could see the expression in his face (he looked like a road-rager). He then thought I was going too slow and passed me, then cut back in front of me only the tail-gate behind the next guy ahead. He was extremely close (there wasn’t even a car-width between them). It was so ridiculous. If the first guy even tapped his brakes, or if the guy in the Avalon looked away for a second, there could have been a serious accident. It was so pointless as I ended up passing him anyway while driving the speed limit. It’s not unusual to be passed by someone who just wants to get ahead of the same lane. But really, what’s the point!?! (There isn’t a major difference other than that guy burned $5 in gas just to get 10 seconds ahead)
The way some people drive around curves is somewhat irritating (being from British Columbia where windy roads are pretty typical because they are built around mountains, it’s no big deal driving around them). Slowing down to take a turn is understandable and that’s not the part that irritates me. It’s more the fact that a lot of people here drive extremely slow around gentle bends and then gun it to make up for lost time. It’s crazy! I prefer to drive at a relatively consistent speed. It reminds me of the time when I was driving on the Trans-Canada near Kamloops and I encountered a car with Saskatchewan plates driving less than 30 km/h (that’s less than 20 mph) around curves where the speed limit was posted as 80 or 90 km/h (50 and 55 mph). (For those of you unfamiliar with Saskatchewan, it’s a very flat province and the roads are long straight stretches). Since we were travelling on single lane highway, I anticipated passing him at the next passing lane. However, as soon as we got to a passing lane ,which are generally along straight stretches, he gunned the engine to more than 130 km/h (80 mph) and took off. I caught up to him 5 minutes later as soon as he got to the curves. This went on for about an hour. It was so frustrating. If only he had let me pass, I wouldn’t be writing about him all these years later (I guarantee, If he had let me pass, he wouldn’t have caught up to me because he was so inexperienced around the curves). It was inconsiderate.
The other thing that I notice here, is people like to jockey for position on the roads, so much so, that they would rather get ahead of you and risk getting into an accident. When I drive onto the freeway from an entry ramp, I notice that people are often reluctant to let you in. People will actually speed up just to keep you from getting ahead of them and getting onto the lane that they are in (they were there first therefore, they own that lane!). Sometimes the freeway is 5 or 6 lanes long. People would rather stay in the far right lane which is often the merging lane, and refuse to let you in. It happened to B.B. this week. He was forced to stay in the lane and take it all the way to the next exit. He had to get off the exit, drive through a neighbourhood and loop back onto the freeway (it’s really weird, the entry lanes onto the freeway often end up being exit lanes into different neighbourhoods a few miles down the road).
- Indy 500 fans to Donald Trump: You’re fired (offthebench.nbcsports.com)
Yesterday, as I was leaving a parking garage, the car started, but then stopped as I was backing up to get out of a parking space. I tried to restart the car, but it just wouldn’t start. A state trooper car pulled up behind me and I ended up explaining to them that I could not start the car. The police officers were very friendly and helped me push the car back into a stall and out of the way. I tried to call B.B. but the phone service wasn’t working, so I had to use the telephone in the parking attendant’s office. It seemed like everything bad that could happen, happened B.B. left work early to meet me (but he went home first to get the gas can and went to vote in the mid-term elections–I guess it was kind of on the way). About an hour later, he was at the parking garage. Apparently I didn’t have enough gas in the car (I was going to fill up the tank on the way home). On top of that, B.B. had to jump-start the car because the battery died when I tried to restart it. It is kind of embarassing, but everything was fine after that. He suspects that the change in temperature plus the lack of gas may have caused some moisture build-up in the tank. It was a bit stressful and I hope I don’t have any more car problems.
The other day, I was driving behind a cement mixer, doing 30 mph (50 km/h) when a plastic garbage can rolled out towards the car. I guess the cement mixer knocked it over and it rolled back onto the road as I was driving past. I had no choice but to drive straight through. I couldn’t swerve to avoid it because I was on a narrow road and there was oncoming traffic. There was no damage.
B.B. said that the car was a bit cursed. Earlier this year, his parents drove this car to Florida and got hit by a drunk driver while they were stopped in traffic somewhere in Tennesee. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it was still a hassle to deal with insurance companies (especially since the drunk guy didn’t have insurance). Before that, B.B. was driving the car along a state highway one evening when he had a little accident. As he approached the dark highway intersection, he saw a man walking on the road. He thought that it was a strange since it was in the middle of no where. He started to slow down because he wasn’t sure if there were any other people walking around. He suddenly saw a box in the middle of the road. Rather than swerve to avoid it, he hit it straight on. It turned out that the box contained a bowling ball and a electric welder. To top that off, the car landed on the bowling ball and the wheels were lifted off the road. They managed to get the insurance to take care of it because the box that he hit also contained a pay stub with a name and address so the police were able to contact the owner of the items scattered all over the highway. Hopefully we won’t have any other accidents with this car.
One thing that I notice about motorcycle riders in Indiana is that they rarely wear helmets. I find it highly disturbing in a state with so many connecting roads, highways and interstates and with speed limits ranging from 15-70 mph (24-112 km/h) people do not seem to be concerned about getting injured in an accident. By my conservative estimates, less than 1 out of every 10 motorcyclists that I see on the roads are not wearing helmets. The main reasons for motorcycle fatalities include alcohol use, speeding, driver inexperience and not wearing a helmet.
Apparently helmet laws in the US are not universal. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are 13 states that do not have any state or local helmet laws. Indiana is one of these included states. Motorcyclists are not required to wear a helmet unless they are under the age of 18 and have an instructional permit.
Helmet use is the single most important factor in people surviving in motorcycle crashes. They reduce the risk of head, brain and facial injury among motorcyclists of all ages and crash severities. Unhelmeted motorists are 40 percent more likely to die from a head injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (From the American College of Emergency Physicians)
Recently, a police officer in Indianapolis has been accused of crashing into three motorcyclists stopped at an intersection, killing a motorcyclist while allegedly driving intoxicated. (There is suspicion of an internal coverup as police investigating the incident of one of their own claim that they saw no signs that the accused officer was intoxicated). Given the number of people who ride without a helmet, I can’t help wondering if the motorcyclist who was struck was wearing a helmet or not. This is a tragic accident and there is no excuse for what happened, but perhaps, he would still be alive today if he was wearing a helmet.