Spooked by Santa Barbara Motorists

Thanks to all you impatient Santa Barbara motorists – you spooked my bike riding buddy this week.

John was visiting from Portland – his first time in Santa Barbara. He loved the weather, the architecture, the restaurants, but the motorists were too aggressive by half.

John and I would ride all over Portland. We lived in the same high-rise building downtown, so it was easy to ride on short notice. I was new to town, yet what I quickly learned to take for granted – the great courtesy Portland motorists extend to bicyclists. It’s because most motorists also ride bikes – they just happen to be driving a car at the time you meet in an intersection. Oregon has a Vulnerable Roadway User law that’s conducive to courteous cycling, too.

After I moved to Santa Barbara I was quick to ask, Would John come for a visit? I promised a good time riding the routes I was discovering. And we did. I took him up to Mountain Drive, where there are few cars and abundant views.

But around town he would complain about aggressive motorists. Too many times a car would roar up behind us, careen into the adjacent lane to pass, swerve in front of us, only to be caught at the light at the end of the block. Stupid moves, dangerous driving you don’t see in Portland.

Back in Portland, John has a lot of great stories to share with our mutual friends, but Santa Barbara motorists will get a different spin.

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