Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh, Such Trials as I Endure

Infuriating: the general public's attitude toward traffic law. I complain about this enough in Small Laws, but I've got to rant about this here.

My traffic blog is on the radar for Secrets of the City, and what this means is that once in a while--usually while I'm embarrassing myself--one of my blog entries gets highlighted in their blog roundup. (It is so hilarious that they ignored my query for my Asian MMO article, yet they keep coming back to my online spleen-vent.) I checked my blogs on StatCounter, and even on a very good day none of my blogs crest 30 unique hits. Therefore, when Small Laws shot up to 230 hits before noon, I knew something was horribly wrong.

What ensued was yet another tedious and go-nowhere argument about traffic law. One user, in Secrets' comments section, opines that because cars can do more damage than bicycles, cyclists should not be beholden to stop signs or red lights. Specifically, he does not consider bicycles to be vehicles, and believes that personal opinion has jurisdiction over legal culpability: if you disagree with a law, you don't have to obey it! And rather than follow procedures to petition a rewrite or amendment, just break that law a bunch and the legal system will conform to your wishes, or something, as though state law were nothing more than a magazine that comes out quarterly to reflect how people are currently behaving.

I told him that bikes are, in fact, a lawful component of traffic and that he needs to brush up on MN Statutes 169.18, 169.19, and 169.222 to more fully understand his responsibilities and rights as a cyclist. He then called me boring and I have no counter for that: I haven't been exciting or interesting for nearly a decade.

But another link that Secrets indicated was, oh my gods, one of the most banal, ill-informed, and fucking retarded "discussions" the Internet has to offer. It started with one user laughing that if he doesn't pay his traffic ticket for riding his bike down Nicollet Mall, well, what are they going to do? "will they take away my license to bike?" It unfolds that a fine has been tacked to his $100 for failure to pay, plus it's been referred to a collection agency. A WINNER IS YOU.

In between these revelations, a dozen hazy-eyed, slack-jawed naifs stumble out of the woodwork to marvel and wonder: is it really forbidden to bike down Nicollet Mall? Because they see people doing it all the time.
  1. Collage One: Bikes on Nicollet
  2. Collage Two: Bikes on Nicollet
There are signs posted all up and down Nicollet Mall, every single block--sometimes twice in a block's length--each side of the street, and these lobotomized consumerist sheep-zombies haven't noticed a fucking thing. I'm not even astounded or in the least way surprised they haven't plundered the Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes. No, of course they haven't looked up state or city regulations, of course not. I would be shocked if any of them had. My world would fall apart if it was revealed that any one of these brain-dead, fashion-vicimized pre-corpses had, at any point in their lives, done a modicum of research pertaining to the laws that govern their entire existence.

But there are dozens of these large purple signs lining the length of Nicollet Mall. They feature a picture and very few words for maximum simplicity. And still these drooling, befogged, undereducated spawn of the hapless are completely--completely--incapable of reading the sign and deciphering its meaning; indeed, they are powerless to notice it in the first place.

And they have jobs! Yes, they do! They're making food and drinks for you--they are making substances that you will put inside your body, and you don't even know their names! These triumphs of evolution who cannot interpret a stick figure are data-entering your insurance or banking information! They are, heavens forfend, in charge of other people! And someday, if not already, these intellectually independent kakistothropes are going to breed.

And oh, won't their children be something.

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