Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Turn off, tune in, and drive

I read a news story a few days ago about how car manufacturers are planning to incorporate computers with Internet access into future car models. They say that today's consumer expects to be connected all the time.

I’m having a hard time feeling good about this. I’ve already dodged drivers who were eating breakfast burritos, applying makeup, and organizing the paperwork and other shit that was sitting on the empty passenger seat.

Pedaling around Anchorage in the dark this winter, I’ve noticed a lot more screens glowing on the dashboards of cars. Whatever they’re used for, one thing is for certain: Drivers have to look at them to use them. That means they aren’t watching out for bicyclists. Or kids on their way to school. Or anything else that could be flattened by their vehicle/entertainment center.

Like a lot of bike riders, I’ve sometimes wondered if the sound of a car horn will be the last thing I ever hear. The way things are going, if a car ever takes me out, I wonder if the driver will even notice in time to honk.

4 comments:

WheelDancer said...

I'm a bit less concerned with the ones that are paying enough attention to honk. It's the ones that will know I was there by the crunch of me and my bike under their wheels.

JordyB said...

I just hope it's disabled when the vehicle is in motion...HONK!

clark said...

once last winter when i was sitting on my bike waiting for the light to change at reeve blvd and commercial dr a lady sailed thru the intersection at 40 mph in a mercedes SUV while reading a book. she had the little dome light on and she glanced up for a microsecond as she passed over the crosswalk.
it's great that people are reading, and i know what it's like when there's a book you just can't put down...

Tim said...

I always pretend that I am a super hero - Mr Invisible. If you think this way you should never get hit by a car as you will always know that nobody sees you, even if they are looking at you. It's happened too many times that drives blow right through stop signs etc., while they are looking right at you and just don't care. Some shrug like they are saying sorry.

But, the one that kills me (it comes mostly from women) is they wave at you like they are saying "Sorry honey, I see you, but there's no way I'm letting go of my phone or letting off the gas, not for a bicycle".