An Open Letter To The Man Not Using His Turn Signal

Dear Man Not Using His Turn Signal,

Hi. It’s me. The cyclist in the bike lane just outside your passenger window.

Not to sound creepy, but I couldn’t help but notice you six blocks ago, when you engaged in an illegal U-Turn, swinging wide with a slight skid that caused me to swerve into an empty parallel parking space. Though it’s clear you didn’t see me. And even now, decked in my blinking lights, red helmet, and fashionable neon vest, I remain undeserving of your attention, as you take up half the bike lane because, I assume, you intend to turn here.

But sir, why should I be forced into assumption? Are you aware that since the early 1950’s each vehicle that is driven on public roads is required to be equipped with flashing lights to be triggered by the vehicular operator when said operator intends to turn? Yet, despite your legal obligations to maintain the personal safety of yourself and those around you, you have chosen not to engage with the full potential of your vehicle’s array, leaving me signaless. I, myself, use my hands in an analog substitute, with simple gestures when I intend to turn, so as to communicate effectively with my fellow road-users. Which is why your inaction prompts me with many questions, oh Mysterious One, when I, in the cold bite of my kinesthetic commute, am left to wonder:

Are you going to turn here?

And if so, is there a reason you’re not using that fantastic flasher?

As I stand and attempt to intuit, I’ve come up with a list of excuses for you, let me know if I’m getting close:

Perhaps your turn signal is broken. Having used your blinker so religiously and forcefully for so many turns, like some kind of signaling zealot, you have worn out the efficacy of said turn notifier?

Or maybe your ears are wildly sensitive, and if needed, you could present a doctor’s note, excusing the non-use of a blinker, which haunts and hinders your delicate ear drums like a tell-tale turner?

But I think, the most likely reason of all, is that you are a spy. Don’t worry! I won’t tell. The disguise of a dented-bumper, 2007, gray Camery with a dangling side mirror is a convincing one alone, but paired with your costume of over-worn business casual, checking your cracked-screen phone’s bejeweled progress really ties the look together, effectively hiding your driving intentions from anyone who may try to follow you.

Whatever the reason, a mechanical malfunction, erroneous eardrums, or surreptitious spying, I am still left with this simple question: Are you going to turn here? And by “here” I  mean, “exactly where I am right now, on my bike in the bike lane where I am supposed to be and you are not, yet here you are anyway.” 

Are you? I only ask because my life depends on it, actually. Like, in a literal sense. 


Are you…?

You don’t even have to signal! Just glance up at me before you go so I know to get out of the way of your two-ton toyota that could end my life without proper operation. 

Just a brief, passing moment of eye-contact! So you acknowledge the existence and relative importance of my life to your fucking bejeweled game!

Ah. You are turning. Great. Nice. I will spend the rest of my day thinking of our interaction, which you were completely unaware of, but one last thing before you go: that’s a one way in the opposite direction.

Hope you enjoy my one, last simple gesture. It’s not telling you anything about what direction I’m going, but hopefully gets the point across about where I wish you would go,

Please get bent,
Sarah Gardner

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