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Gotta Hurry to Get that Loaf of Bread

July 15, 2007 Loughborough Commons, Scooters, South City 28 Comments

Earlier today, around 11am, I was heading eastbound on Loughborough, a 2-lane street with on-street parking on both sides.  I was roughly near the middle of Carondalet Park and all of a sudden a Chevy Caprice passes me.  It took me a second to realize I had just been passed.  I looked down at my speedometer on my scooter — I was doing roughly 32mph.  I look up at a speed limit sign and it is posted at 30mph.  Then I flip the guy the bird.

I ended up being right behind him at the traffic signal entrance to Loughborough Commons.  I tooted my horn and yelled “hurry up” as he had a back window down a bit.  Once he parked I asked why he passed me, stating that that was dangerous and what was his hurry.  His only response, “Are you a cop?”

Folks, before you get in such a hurry to pass those of us on two wheels take a look at the speed limit and check to see what speed we are traveling.  If we are going slow on a 4-lane road then simply use the other lane (although don’t cut back in front of us and then turn right).   If we are on a 2-lane road and traveling at the posted speed limit just wonder if you really need to get to your destination a second or two before we do.  The bread will still be on the shelves when you get there.


Currently there are "28 comments" on this Article:

  1. Reginald Pennypacker III says:

    Or you could speed up.

  2. Travis Cape says:

    Somehow I doubt speeding up would help. I speed down Kingshighway and there’s always someone else passing me going a bit faster. How fast do we need to go OVER the limit? Mind you, I don’t get all pissed off when someone in front of me obeys the limit. As much as I love it, south city needs a good dose of manners!

  3. Tino says:

    Steve was already violating the speed limit. Just another one of those scooter speed demons racing up and down the streets. Tsk tsk.

    I live on Loughborough, and I’d frankly like to see the city bump the curbs out at the corners to narrow the street and get people to slow people down (that it would keep people from parking too close to the corner and blocking the line of sight would just be a bonus).

    Just down the block from me, there’s a set of flashing yellow lights with a speed-limit sign on it, but I hardly think that the problem is that people are under the impression that the speed limit is 55 mph here.

    One thing has really had an effect, though. My neighbors are moving, though, and had one of those giant PODS boxes delivered in the street in front of their house the other day. It’s wider than any car, and on top of that it’s sitting about ten inches away from the curb. This seems to have slowed down most of the traffic quite well.

  4. Jack says:

    This morning, I found mini-van (I know, gas-hog – tsk, tsk) with a flat-tire. I slapped on the donut so we could get to church. At first I was angry that I had to drive slow (50mph, in the right-most lane) on the expressway, but after I had cooled down from fighting w/ getting the spare installed, I actually started to enjoy driving slow and observing the ensueing madness around me as people passed me, or rode my tail. I enjoyed the slow-mosey even more mid-afternoon when there were more people driving like idiots and I was still doing 50 (right-most lane again) on the way to get the tire fixed.

    People just need to slow down (myself included) and see the sights a little more, and the insanity. Maybe then we’ll appreciate the wonderful city around us.

  5. Jim Zavist says:

    Having owned 3 VW vans, I’ve also appreciated the slow lane many times . . .

  6. fred says:

    You flip the guy off for passing you? I’m surprised to hear that coming from you. You watch the news right? People die all the time for these small little silly “quien es mas macho” acts.

    If you’re on a motor scooter you should expect to be passed. Wise up sir.

    [SLP — See the next comment for a good response from someone with a scooter that can easily break every speed limit in the city.  The issue is that often if I were driving a car going at the speed I was going (legal) he most likely would not have passed me — it is the false perception that a tiny little scooter is holding him up somehow.  There have been cases, and just a few, where I see that I may be holding up some traffic and I can often sweep right to let them pass.  Again, I arrived at the destination right behind this guy so it is not like I was just poking along on a slow sunday ride.  One fact I didn’t mention, this guy was older (say mid to late 60s), it is possible his sense of speed is a bit off.

    I doubt he saw me flip him off because it took a few seconds for me to realize what happened and for me to check my speed against what was allowed.  I don’t think his eyesight at that distance in the rearview mirror would have been that keen.  Also, people die all the time from wreckless motorists going faster than they should.]

  7. StL_Stadroller says:

    “If you’re on a motor scooter you should expect to be passed” = what the hell is that supposed to mean? So, If I was doing 60mph on my Vespa in a 35, I should “expect” to get passed to?

    Why shouldn’t we just expect people to obey the freakin LAW?

    However, Steve your speedo is most likely quite optimistic (most scooters are) – have you checked it against a GPS ever?

  8. Jason says:

    Not to completely change the subject, but I would LOVE to see some legislation out there that regulated PODS and other on site storage containers that are placed on the street. Some of these can remain for months. Could you call and report it if its in one place for over 5 days like a derelict car, or do these things already have permits that the owners must get?

    And back on topic- I got passed once on holly hills- on the right and they drove down the bike path. I was so PO’d. I started watching my back and my speed since I was going over the speed limit at the time I was passed, then a week or so later it almost happened again, but I boxed the guy out and made them stay behind me. Almost took his headlight out.

    Anyway- be aware of everyone around you, and when you think someone is going to drive like an idiot around you, you are probably right. I tend to drive faster than others just because I then feel as if I am in control of my situation instead of people zooming around me on all sides. If you do drive slow, stay to the right. if you drive fast, signal when passing and then get back in the right lane afterwards by signaling again. Maybe we need continuing education classes to retain our drivers licenses.


    [SLP — Ald Krewson passed a PODS bill last year regulating their time on the street. 

    I’m a very defensive driver — always looking out for potential hazards.  In addition to education classes, I think motorists need to spend some time pedeling a bike on a road and/or riding a scooter/motorcycle — it changes your viewpoint completely.]

  9. fred says:

    Hypothetically, If you’re going 60mph in a 35 you should follow your own advice and “obey the freaking LAW”.

    At any rate, my point still stands; Flip the bird to the wrong person and you’ll be riding your scooter on the sidewalk. Very poor behavior, and then to turn around in the last paragraph to give advice on how to drive? Start with advice on how to act civil. You’d gain more respect that way, try it.

    [SLP — Well, I’m not saying I’m proud of my reaction but I certainly don’t flip people off at random.  I felt he made an uncivil and potentially dangerous move that was completely unnecessary.  We all make mistakes and sometimes we need other people in society to speak up and say, “wait that behavior is not tolerated”  — be that passing impatiently or flipping the bird.]

  10. Matt says:

    STL drivers are CrAzY

    best to not flip off anyone, let things roll…(coming from living in mellow Kansas City for two years).

    [SLP — flipping him off, given the distance, was no biggie in my view.  However, confronting him at Loughborough Commons was riskier on my part.]

  11. Matt says:

    of late, i usually just mouth “you’re crazy,” flip the mirrors, and move on, especially pertaining to incident on debaliviere today. it’s hard though.

  12. Kristen says:

    I had a similar incident while biking on Grand the other day. Not just honking, but “BItch! Get off the road!” while passing me inches from my handlebars.

    Road rage against cyclists/scooterists is especially dangerous–we are flesh and blood on wheels, not encased in 2 tons of steel. Threatening behavior from cars is an immediate threat to life and limb, and that instinctive “Fight or flight” kicks in. It’s impossible NOT to react in anger in these situations.

    I realize there are people everywhere that don’t know how to handle 2-wheeled traffic, but St. Louis especially needs a huge public “Share the road” education campaign. It’s worse here than I’ve ever seen.

  13. Linda says:

    i’m a scooter rider too. i recently discovered that my speedometer is set about 5 miles slower than i’m actually going. in other words i might think i’m doing 35 but really only doing 30. that’s according to those speed monitors the police set up now and again.

  14. john says:

    Where’s the “two-wheeled” advocates? Does StL have any? Most definitely the public here needs an education in STR issues. So where’s the PR from StL BikeFed? Trailnet? EWGC BikePed Committee? Why won’t the advocates either through public outcries and/or media address this important issue? Why are they so quiet? Why won’t local leadership, particularly in StL County/City, support the rights of all road users? The New 64 and the restripping of Clayton Road shows that the area is going backwards, not forward. Local politics continue to favor cars over people and the local advocates remain silent… shameful.

  15. Reginald Pennypacker III says:

    “I realize there are people everywhere that don’t know how to handle 2-wheeled traffic, but St. Louis especially needs a huge public “Share the road” education campaign. ”
    Yes, the bicycists should take it. Especially the one who raced right through a stop sign by the brewery today.

  16. Adam says:

    ouch! touché, reginald!

  17. Jack says:

    I’m a transplant and I’ve heard that drivers ed. isn’t required in St. Louis and you just have to pass the written and driving exams. Is that true? I think drivers ed. could do the metro-area some good, especially when it comes to bicycle traffic, both for riders and automotive traffic.

  18. Actually Jack, that’s true of the entire country. I think except for chauffers, HAZMAT, and OTR truck drivers I don’t think formal training is required for anyone. Not even for motorcycles.

  19. LisaS says:

    Kristen’s got a good idea there: why doesn’t Bike St. Louis or someone do a “Share the Road” campaign, for both drivers (ads, literature to read while waiting in line to renew car licenses) and bikers (bike safety day at school? or library programs?)

    And always …. those of us in small vehicles (Miatas, Minis, etc) and on two wheels need to be aware of the real rule of the road: the largest vehicle has right of way.

  20. Jack says:

    I know it was required back in the early 90’s in Ohio – I had to take it to get my licence. All high school students wanting a licence had to take it; the class-room material given by a teach and the driving portion was contracted with driver ed. school. I still remember and use a lot of the info that was taught. My wife just confirmed it was required in Wisconsin as well.

    I still think most of STL drivers could benefit from some formal schooling, of course it won’t help with the blatant speeding issues we have, especially in residental areas.

  21. jd says:

    I ride a scooter, and usually feel safer riding it than when riding my bike. This is mainly due to the fact that I keep up with traffic. There are still those who feel that even though I’m traveling 35 in a 30, that I need to be passed or tailgated. Shockingly, this is typically on the right on a shoulder (especially while on Compton).

    It’s nuts, the public needs to be more aware of the rules, but there will always be those who just don’t give a shit. Scream all you want, which I usually end up doing, and it does nothing more than get you screams back (especially while on Compton).

  22. equals42 says:

    Being passed aggressively is more dangerous to those riding scooters and bicycles but it happens to me quite often while in my small sedan. I insist on driving at the speed limit on small streets in my neighborhood (Wherry, Mackind, Loughborough) and are passed or tailgated regularly by people who seem to think small neighborhood streets should be driven at 45 mph. I admit to driving very fast on freeways but there usually aren’t kids playing on I-44.

    Ald. Barringer promises that Wherry will be part of the new Bike St Louis path and will receive bump outs which (she says) slow traffic. I’m not holding my breath since she said that over a year ago. The real problem seems to be St Louis residents who don’t respect traffic laws and find others as impersonal impediments to their happiness. It may sound strange but I think people would be nicer to each other if we didn’t spend so much time in cars and had to actually interact with each other again.

    Oh, well. Everyone be safe and only flip the bird if you’re sure you are bigger than the minutely endowed male in the over-sized SUV.

  23. Craig says:

    This website is good reading simply for the confrontations that the author finds himself in from day to day.

  24. Ben H says:

    Lets get to the profound underlying problem here.
    The “Share the road” signs are all wrong. Instead of just one little bike picture above, they need a nice big suv picture, following the bike at a safe distance, with both waiting for the pedestrian to make the curb. This one is a good start:
    As it is, the signs have the tone of many a south sider who’s learned me one:
    SHARE THE ROAD, you retard bi-cycler, Roads er far cars. buurep.

  25. Jim Zavist says:

    Here’s an observation – is there a whole lot of passive-aggressive, pent-up frustration around here simply because we have too many 4-way stops? Do people feel like they always need to “hurry” to “make up” for all the time they “lose” when they (‘re supposed to) stop every block or two?

    A couple of facts that I’ve learned over the years – engineers set speed limits based on what 85% of the drivers feel comfortable driving (reality). Politicians set speed limits artificially low in response to constituent concerns about “safety” and/or to raise revenue (politics). And, if we’re looking for the culprit, look in the mirror. Anytime police do stepped-up enforcement in a neighborhood, the bulk of the tickets are written to local residents. equals42 is the classic example – I’ll be really careful in my own ‘hood, but the same standard doesn’t apply a few blocks away (which just happens to be someone else’s little piece of paradise).

    Finally, I wouldn’t bet on an “education” effort – people know the rules, they just choose to ignore them or are oblivious to the fact that driving requires both skill and attention! Better to invest in better design and empowering the traffic engineers to do their jobs, and taking traffic design and management decisions out of the hands of politicians.

  26. Kristen says:

    I’ll grant that a lot of cyclists don’t know the rules of the road, or that the same traffic laws as cars apply to them. Like the guy I saw riding the wrong direction in the bike lane down Grand, in the dark with no lights or reflectors. Or the guy riding a Honda Metro on the sidewalk!!! Scary. I agree that “Share the road” education needs to be targeted toward both sides.

    BUT part of the issue with uneducated cyclists stems from the common thought “vehicular and non-vehicular traffic shouldn’t mix. Bikes/scooters aren’t cars, so they shouldn’t behave like cars.” Those are very auto-centric ideas, and they perpetuate the behaviors that make mixing bikes/scooters and cars so dangerous.

  27. equals42 says:

    “equals42 is the classic example – I’ll be really careful in my own ‘hood, but the same standard doesn’t apply a few blocks away (which just happens to be someone else’s little piece of paradise).”

    Actually, I drive slowly in all residential neighborhoods thank you. I admit to driving fast on highways. If you know someone who thinks of I-44 as their piece of paradise, they should stop playing on the highway.

  28. Jeff Jackson says:

    Latest I heard that Fall of ’07 the second addition of “Bike St. Louis Routes” will take shape. Of course I have also heard there were supposed to be “Share the Road” signs put up for the I-64 mitigation program in June but I have yet to see them on Midland / North & South (part of the route I ride to / from work) which was stated as one of the alternatives. St. Louis has many tiny municipalities which means change is SLOW. Maybe a good network will be in place for biking and walking on-road and off-road by the time I am 40 (almost 7 yrs away)… I am for trails but they cost major $$$ I am more for educating cyclists and motorists and making our already many roads safe for ALL! Below is a chance for cyclists to obtain bike safety information:

    Bike Smart – Ferguson • Saturday, July 28
    Bike Smart heads north to the Ferguson Farmers Market on July 28 from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Dr. Joe Cangas of Helmets First will be there to do helmet fitting and selling helmets for just $7. Also, Trailblazer Bikes will provide a mechanic, so bring your bike for a free mechanical safety check. They’ll perform minor repairs on the spot. We’ll be raffling off an indoor bike trainer, donated by St. Louis Recumbent Bicycles. We’ll be there with maps, literature, and experienced cyclists who can offer help to get you going by bike with the information you need to do it with confidence.

    Another scary fact is that you can count ten of your fellow autos around you and one of them is driving either with out a license, no insurance or with a suspended license. There isn’t enough money / resources / space (jail / garage lockup for cars) to contain all of the looser drivers out there! Just read the recent stltoday article about it.

    Keep Cycling!


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