Friday, January 9, 2009

Ottawa Transit Strike: Day 30

The transit strike in Ottawa has not effected me that much. The roads are more conjested, but I can still pass the lines of backed up cars as long as there is not too much snow. Hearing about coworkers carpooling to work at 6:00am and students paying $30 for cab rides to class makes me really grateful to have equipped my bicycle for winter.

The one thing that I find most frustrating is the number of subburban drivers coming into downtown and bringing their suburban or small town driving habits with them. I got clipped last night by some one who did not shoulder check before pulling out of the parking lane on a busy road. He would have hit a car if I had not been there, because at 19:30 it was the tail end of rush hour. The car had a license plate from a small feeder community outside of Ottawa and I am willing to bet that this person is not used to parell parking on busy streets and would typically be able to park in boxmart lots.

The conditions around Carleton have been some of the worst. The strike started December 10, which was five days after the end of classes and six days before the end of exams. Most students were largely unaffected for the rest of the month, at least as far as getting the campus. Carleton is also popular with local students from the affluent suburbs in that part of town, so I am willing to bet that many of them are able to borrow cars or get rides from their parents now. The roads leading to campus have been a terrible mess of illegal three point turns and shaky attempts to parellel park in residential spots. On Monday some students got angry at having to yield to me when turning on one of the roads into campus and with the fact that I outpaced them when they were stuck in gridlock. They eventually caught up and the front passenger tried to door me, but she misjudged the angle. I ended up running into her even though I was attempting to brake. I am confident that they are not used to seeing cyclists on the road and feel that we have no place there.

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