Archive for September, 2011
In today’s suburbs the houses seem to be getting closer and closer together. Soon I feel like you’ll be able to pass a cup of sugar between your windows. With this close proximity of our neighbors it’s kind of hard to not be aware of things that are going on next door. The key to good neighbor relations is to mind your own business and if you do hear something pretend you didn’t. Now, some people didn’t get that memo and are kind of nosey. Check out 10 indications your new neighbors are nosey.
- Peaking through the blinds: Do you notice your neighbor looking out their window every time you are outside with your family? The curtains are moving as you pull into your driveway. One slat in the blind is open while the rest of the blind is closed. Maybe you are all the entertainment they get in a day.
- Taking the trash out at the same time: Do your neighbors seem to take their trash out at the exact same time you do every week? That seems rather suspicious doesn’t it? It seems like they are in hopes that you will strike up a conversation with them. When you do say hello to them do they stand and talk your leg off? Maybe they are just lonely you think so you chat with them, week after week it keeps happening so that taking out the trash is an hour long event. After weeks of this you decide to sneak your trash out at midnight to avoid the neighbor.
- Asking you personal questions: While you and your family are out in the yard the neighbor appears and strikes up a conversation. No problem at this point because you want to be good neighbors, but then you think it’s odd that the neighbor asks about where your wife was last night until 1 in the morning and other specific questions.
- Neighbor gets your mail: Once or twice a month the neighbor comes bringing over your mail because they received it by “accident”. You know they are nosey when the envelopes seem a little damp like they’ve been steamed open and then resealed.
- Borrows sugar, but doesn’t bake: You know your neighbor is nosey when she comes over to borrow a cup of sugar, but you’ve never seen her bake. While in the house waiting for you to get the sugar she wanders around looking at everything.
- Takes too long in your bathroom: You’ve invited several neighbors over for a barbeque and the nosey neighbor uses your bathroom and takes forever in there. Next time you go in there everything is a little out of place like every drawer and cupboard had been gone through.
- You find them looking over the fence into your yard: While taking out the dog you look up and see your neighbor looking into your yard. When you look right at them they just walk away without explanation as to what they were doing or looking for.
- Other neighbors tell you things: Then other neighbors start knowing things about you and your family that there is no way they should know. Or they tell you that the nosey neighbor asks specific questions about you or has told them stories about what goes on at your house. They heard an argument the other night; they sure hope you don’t get a divorce. Nosey remarks that are cloaked as concern.
- Items you’ve left out for trash appear at your neighbor’s house: The baby pool that had a crack in it or the old broom that you put in your trash can appears at the neighbor’s house. You may see them using the broom to sweep the walk or using the baby pool as a planter. You are all for recycling, but it seems weird that they dug around in your trash can.
- Voices and opinion about your argument last night: You really know your neighbor is nosey when the lady of the house tells you that your husband was completely in the wrong and that you should stick to your guns. When you ask what she’s talking about she refers to the argument that she overheard last night. If this happens, I think it’s time to move.
Many cities in the United States are now seeing increased bicycle traffic. With the difficult economy and high gasoline prices, there are more people choosing bikes as a primary transportation mode. This increase in leg-powered traffic, when combined with the already high levels of motor-powered traffic, can make for some conflict on the roadways. Let’s look at 10 reasons why bicyclists and motorists have trouble coexisting.
- Speed Difference. No matter how fast a bicyclist can peddle a bike, there is no competing with a motorized vehicle for speed. When you have vehicles moving at different speeds on the same roadway, there is going to be potential for conflict and danger of accidents.
- Visibility and Distractions. Because of the narrow profile presented by a bicycle and rider, they are more difficult for a motorist to see than are other motor vehicles. When this is combined with the distractions that some motorists allow themselves while driving, crashes and near-misses are often the result.
- Narrow Streets. Increased bicycle traffic coincides with a movement in some cities and neighborhoods toward what is called “traffic calming.” Among the methods used to encourage slower traffic are the narrowing of streets and addition of mild curves. This leaves little room for a motorist to pass a bicyclist, especially when there is oncoming traffic.
- Shunned Bike Paths. Oftentimes, slimmed down streets in a neighborhood are accompanied by the addition of paved bike paths. This is a wonderful idea for maintaining safety, if the bike paths are actually used by bicyclists. It seems that there are two issues involved that keep bikes off the paths. These will follow.
- Bicyclist Arrogance. Some that choose to ride bikes for transportation or physical conditioning are determined to exercise their right to ride the roadways, regardless of the existence of bike paths and narrowed streets. It has been noted that bicyclists taking this attitude are most often riding high-performance bikes and wearing the most expensive of cycling gear.
- Walkers and Casual Riders. Bike paths are often used by walkers as well as riders, and many of the conscientious bicycle riders that use bike paths are those that are in no hurry. This can cause impatient riders to take to narrow streets rather than have to deal with the slower moving obstacles on bike paths. There is some irony in this, as the higher speed riders now become the same sort of slower moving obstacle to motorists that walkers and slow riders are on the paths.
- Motorist Ignorance. There are some motorists that don’t understand how much space they are required to allow while passing a bike. Quite often, bicycle riders find themselves squeezed up against curbs or forced into yards and ditches, as cars and trucks pass without offering sufficient space between.
- Ignored Traffic Control. Some that ride bicycles appear to think that stop signs and traffic signals at intersections are only for motorists and walkers. This could fall into the Bicyclist Arrogance category above, but it really deserves its own slot on the list.
- Between Lanes. Bicyclists have the ability, because of their narrow profile, to pass between motor vehicles in adjacent lanes when traffic is slow or stopped on multi-lane streets. This has real potential to cause conflict and/or injury. Some motorists will not see a bicyclist approaching from behind, while others may be having a bad day and do something illegal to obstruct a rider’s progress.
- Mutual Antagonism. This brings us to the last and potentially most dangerous issue, between bicyclists and motorists, and the fault can be on either or both sides. Some motorists think bikes should only be allowed on sidewalks and bike paths, and they try to intimidate or startle cyclists. Some bicyclists think that everyone should either ride a bike or take a bus, and purposely do things to annoy or obstruct motorists. Either of these can end in injury or tragedy for all. Let’s chill, folks.
Perhaps after reading of these 10 reasons that bicyclists and motorists have trouble with coexistence, we’ll all be just a bit more aware and considerate of each other. At least, one can hope that is the case.