Bikes and Cabs - the Cats and Dogs of Traffic

One of the reasons I love Philadelphia to the point of irrationality is it's inherent bike friendliness. It's not as overtly bike friendly as Palo Alto, with well marked bike lanes amply sized running just about everywhere. But the characteristics of Philly's street grid make for an exhilarating ride because it pretty much puts cyclists on equal footing with vehicles. First, it's mostly flat sloping very gently away from Broad street towards the rivers. Second, the grid in effect populates the city with a ton of intersections - most of them are 4 way stops (ideal for coasting through), but even stoplights can allow the steady paced biker to catch up with fast accelerating cars.

And that's exactly what happened tonight, at the end of my ride to East Falls and back. Cab drivers tend to be some of the most aggressive drivers in the city and there was no exception to that rule tonight. This one guy cut me off at the intersection of sixth and Chestnut - right in front of Independence Hall Dammit! and I would have none of it. I definitely get road rage, and when I do I will do everything in my power to ensure that whoever has incurred my wrath spends the rest of his or her evening feeling like a dumbass. But as a bike rider, I don't have much power compared to internal fucking combustion engines. But this is where the beautiful streets of Philadelphia come to my rescue. The cab driver managed to cut me off one more time as I was about to pass him, but then promptly came to a stop sign and two red lights. With no cars coming, I sailed through.

I'll be honest, going through red lights and stop signs feels like cheating, and I mostly avoid doing that. But if it's to teach a cab driver that he shouldn't waste his gas pushing around a cyclist who is only going to pass him, I think it's well worth the risk.

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