The other day I was driving through Capitol Hill here in Salt Lake City, and I was sitting at a stop sign waiting to make a turn. At that moment I heard someone laying on their car horn, which pierced the typical Salt Lake City silence downtown. As I was looking around trying to figure out where it was coming from, I saw a longboarder cruising down the hill with an old man in a grey Toyota Scion XB driving inches behind the kid laying on the horn. At the first chance the kid saw, he bailed down a side street, where he easily could have been hit by an unassuming car or hit a pedestrian. Then the driver of the GREY TOYOTA SCION XB sped away undetected…or so he thought. I of course lost my mind over this and chased him down, but that’s another story.
So what did we learn from this? #1 If you haven’t ever ridden a skateboard or longboard or honestly, even a bike then you really have no idea what a speed under 30mph actually feels like when you are exposed to tiny pebbles and cracks in a road. #2 25 mph downhill on a skateboard feels crazy fast – yet in a car it feels like you could open your door, step outside while the car is moving to pick up a quarter off the ground and then get back in without missing a beat. When I asked the old man in the GREY TOYOTA SCION XB what the hell he was doing, he exclaimed that the kid on the skateboard was crazy. Really dude? Did you forget you were driving a 3000lb vehicle while laying on your horn chasing an unarmed, harmless kid down a hill at 2:30 in the afternoon? Maybe my definition of crazy is different than yours but that seems a bit crazy to me. (Of course he also called me crazy for pulling him over and I was thinking he was crazy for calling me every name in the book when I am twice his size and a third of his age)
So here’s the deal. In this day and age skaters & longboarders & cyclists still have to protect themselves and act smart, much like motorcyclists have been doing for a century. Is it fair? I don’t know. People in cars are more and more distracted and annoyed and it seems like everyone has to find out the hard way that cars can easily kill a pedestrian or cyclist or skater. At the same time, you can’t assume a guy on his way to work thinks your GoPro footage of your buddy powersliding down State St. is nearly as cool as you do and this could be the catalyst for an unsafe situation.
That being said, people in cars need to chill out. Why are you so mad that a cyclist is riding slow? Who cares? What if that skater was your kid or your brother or sister? Wouldn’t you want to protect them with your big car no matter how “stupid” you deem their actions? Let’s say that old man ran that kid off the road and the kid died – would the old man think, “awesome, that’s exactly what those skaters deserve! i’m going to wait until the cops show up so I can tell them what a hero I am!” No. That man was not thinking clearly and we are all guilty of this on many occasions. So please, next time you encounter a skater, or longboarder, or cyclist – protect them, because you never know who is driving next to your loved one…