Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Summer of Suctackularly Bad Driving

The seasonal high-pressure ridge that normally gives Bend warm, sunny summers finally has established itself over the Northwest, and even I can't find anything to bitch about in this month's weather.

So I'll bitch about Bend drivers. DAMN, they suck!

People in Bend like to complain about California drivers, and it's true that California drivers often are aggressive. On the plus side, though, they're also usually skillful.

Bend drivers appear to have gotten their licenses out of a bubble gum machine. And they normally drive with their thumbs up their asses ... unless they've got their heads stuck in there instead.

After moving here I discovered that Bend has the longest traffic lights in the world. I mean, you wait FOREVER for the damn things to change.

I soon figured out why Bend has the longest traffic lights in the world: It's because Bend has the pokiest drivers in the world, and they need about 40 minutes to drive through an intersection.

When the light turns green, the Bend driver does not interpret it as a signal to proceed through the intersection. He/she interprets it as a signal to look left, then right, then left again, then right again, then to take a sip of coffee, and then -- maybe -- to THINK about proceeding through the intersection.

And when Bend drivers finally make the momentous decision to proceed, they accelerate as if they were holding a raw egg between their foot and the gas pedal.

This is why, if you have three Bend drivers ahead of you at a traffic light, you can count on waiting through three signal changes before you can get across.

Bend drivers are hyper-courteous, which often makes them hyper-dangerous. They will STOP in the middle of a roundabout to let other drivers enter. I have even seen them STOP in the middle of the firggin' Bend Parkway to let other cars enter.

Of course when they're actually supposed to stop -- such as when they come to a STOP sign -- they often get confused and behave as if it was a YIELD sign.

Conversely, when they come to a YIELD sign they often act as if it was a STOP sign. The distinction between YIELD and STOP evidently is too subtle for many of them to grasp.

Now that summer is here there are even more displays of sucktacularly bad driving on our local streets and roads, because all the old farts who are too timid to drive in icy or snowy conditions have decided to fire up the '85 Oldsmobile and cruise around.

It's almost enough to make me wish winter would get here again ... but not quite.

ADDENDUM: On the Bend Parkway, a short stretch north of the Powers Road intersection, there is an UNSIGNALIZED PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALK going across all four lanes of the road. It is Oregon law that drivers MUST stop for pedestrians entering a crosswalk -- which means that cars and trucks and semis barreling along the parkway at 45, 50 or 55 miles per hour are supposed to STOP if somebody decides to saunter across the roadway.

This, my friends, is a 20-car pileup just waiting to happen.

An unsignalized pedestrian crosswalk in the middle of a limited-access, four-lane, 45-mile-an-hour parkway.

Only in fucking Oregon.


Anonymous said...

Yuh, strange thing that Parkway? Any time I find myself rolling thru town, drivers tend to slow down the 'closer' they get to an intersection that is CLEARLY Green!

Dude, don't worry about it? ( It turns Yellow -before- it turns Red ) Anyway, how has "Parking" there changed over the years? Please tell me that hasn't become a PITA too?

Look, when you're behind a guy in a 1962 Chevy 1/2 ton loaded to the gills w/ God knows what all.., you know to exercise caution around them! But with all the s@xmobiles rolling around town I'm always completely stumped when they refuse to get w/ the program?

blackdog said...

Pretty damn stupid to build a PARKWAY and put traffic signals on it in the first place, wasn't it?

Re parking: Yes, still a PITA downtown, but not anywhere else.

BTW what's a "s@xmobile"?

Anonymous said...


Right, just to break things up a bit, occasionally the wife and I will take Hwy 97 thru Bend on the way back from K' Falls and noticed... the Salem "Parkway" only has (1) light at the very end and you're basically off it anyway?

We're never sure how yours qualifies? It's a relief to hear you've at least got "containment" on the Parking issue! One thing I -will- say for C. OR's is that unlike Portlanders ( you guys don't pretend you don't 'own' a car, the minute you just stepped 'out' of one! )

Oh, "sexmobile", Beemers, Lexi etc. Everyone drives like "one more ticket and I'm riding a bike".

Anonymous said...

Had to stop by the office on Sunday and I can honestly say the weather here in the Salem area is beyond Sucktacular!

Had an impromtu HOA meeting on one of the owner's back deck and made the mistake of wearing shorts! Chilly like a mother. Couldn't wait for the half hour to get over with. Even though Saturday was more or less ideal, a weekend is typically thought of as a "package deal".

Well evidently NOT in Oregon. Overcast, chilly and I doubt we'll break 70 today? How much more of this any (1) individual is supposed to be able to take is beyond me? Mid-July, long sleeves and jeans.

blackdog said...

Odd that it's so chilly in Salem -- it's been in the mid-80s and 90s here, and normally Bend is cooler than the Valley, being at a higher elevation.

Anonymous said...

Heading North on 97 yesterday drove right into this fantastic storm! Kind of dangerous actually? Between Chemult and the 58 cut-off. ( You could see it coming for miles... )

Quite the "light show". In truth, things began cooling off even before we left K' Falls and there were what appeared to be -pounding- thunderstorms on the NW side of the lake.

Rather like a good old midwestern summer t'storm. As we turned westward on 58 it cleared up in what seemed like just a few car lengths? After all the heat I imagine many folks felt it was kind of welcome. Spares you from having to water the LAWN though! It was predicted there'd be several fires sparked by all that lightening. Anyone hear anything on that? Great weekend all around "I" would have to say. said...

This post is freaking brilliant! What really annoys me is when people actually stop on the merge lanes to the parkway. At a time when you are supposed to be accelerating to ease into traffic, these people are stopped waiting for their opportunity to cause a traffic problem when they ease onto the road at 20 MPH.