I meant to post about this yesterday, but I got busy right when I got home, and then when the busy wore off, I got relaxed on the couch in front of the television.
To set the scene, as I was riding home yesterday, around the corner of 91st and Lamar, I was part of a long line of traffic caught behind a school bus that had stopped to let off some kiddos.
The woman in the car in front of me was reading what looked like business documents. The papers were propped up on her steering wheel, and she was reading them the entire time I was behind her. Granted, it was very slow moving traffic, and it was stop-and-go while we approached the stop sign, but she was reading while she was driving.
She was reading. While she was driving.
Nothing is so important that it couldn't wait until she got to where she was going. I don't care what it was. Nope. Not even that. It could have waited.
Remember the school bus? There were children all around. They were running this way and that on either side of the street. How many of you haven't seen a child run out into the street without warning? They don't do it often, but every now and again... and this idiot woman was reading while she was driving. With children around.
I know she wasn't paying attention to the road because twice she jerk-stopped the car in surprise because the car in front of her had stopped. She didn't notice the illuminated brake lights because... well... she was reading. While she was driving.
I really wish I'd gotten her license plate, or called her in for reckless driving, or at least tapped on her window and suggested she pay attention to what she was doing - the driving part of what she was doing, not the reading part. Had she actually hit someone, I guarantee I would have felt guilty for not doing so. Not as guilty as she would have felt, but guilty nonetheless.
At the stop sign, she went straight and I turned right. I watched her drive away, shaking my head, hoping she didn't have far to go and praying that she didn't kill anyone on her way.
Feel free to quote me the next time someone complains about cyclists behaving recklessly, inattentively, or unpredictably. It's not a bicycle problem. It's not a car problem. It's a people problem.