Marginalization - Stay within the lines (lanes?)!

What is marginalization? As far as I understand it, it's anytime something (or someone) is pushed to the periphery, forced into a position of non-normalcy or made out to be "the other" amidst a mass of the status quo. As a white (at least I "pass" as white), Christian, straight, medium-height, thin-build, non-smoking, non-drinking, college-degree-holding county employee, you'd think that I'd be the last one to be marginalized, right. Well, think again.

Recently, I read an article in the local paper about how riding a bicycle in the bicycle lane is a dangerous thing to do in OC. It mentions two riders who were killed within 11 months of each other on the same stretch of road, as well as addressing the literal disregard of some drivers towards bike lanes. This article was printed on April 12th, 2007. Six days later a cyclist was killed right in front of my parents-in-law's house. This man was swept under a passing truck's tires as he moved from sidewalk to road. Hear that? No bike lane, but from sidewalk directly to the road. As dangerous as bike lanes are, they at least provide a space for cyclists. What about roads with no bike lanes?

As a person who rides his bike to work every day, through a very non-bike-friendly neighborhood, I've learned that according to both automobile drivers and pedastrians I don't belong on the streets. The roads that I take to work don't have bike lanes, nor do they have shoulders and they barely have gutters. After too many close calls (you get used to the trash piles in the gutter forcing you out into the road, but the whizzing of side mirrors past your ear is too much!), I made the decision to take to the sidewalks. There's only one problem - you're lucky if you can find a city in OC that allows riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. The rest of the cities say it's illegal. This problem is complicated by the fact that many pedastrians, who are powerless in the streets so must assert their power in their domain, don't care to acknowledge that a bicyclist is making a b-line straight for them. Last week a man was standing right between the bus stop bench and the bus stop sign. He saw me coming, looked the other way and stood his ground like a Kensington guard. I had to stop, squeeeeeeze through the gap between him and the bus stop sign, then shift down from a dead stop (you cyclists will appreciate that experience) so I could start going again. He just stood there, looking the other way. There was this other lady who did something similar. I can't tell you how many cars have honked at me, while I'm still on the sidewalk! Argh...

As a cyclist, I don't belong on the streets. The roads are reserved for the automobiles - that's the whole reason these roads were constructed. The sidewalks are made for pedastrians - that's the whole reason they were made. In some areas, there are bike lanes that supposed provide a safe space for cyclists to use, but that is not necessarily true. In the areas with no bike lanes, where am I supposed to ride my bike? In the cracks in the pavement, on the grassy hump next to the sidewalk, through the parking lot full of parked and reserving cars. My existence is acceptable to the others using the city streets in their designated space as long as I don't get in their way. Whoa, this could be a social commentary. But that's another post.

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travel log
  • 02.13.08 - to the temple with Luan and his mom, good to be back
  • 02.14.08 - Mẫu's alive! and staying for the weekend
  • 02.15.08 - floor hockey and Thái food makes for some strange dreams
  • 02.17.08 - frisbee and swamp monster at the park: fun but I'm pooped!
  • 02.19.08 - just read Triết's response to my last post - game on!
  • 02.20.08 - raining and expected to continue through Sunday - thank goodness!
  • 02.21.08 - 3-hour nap is a bad idea right before bed
  • 02.23.08 - to the beach to watch kites, a baptism @ 5pm, and homemade bulgogi - what a day!
  • 02.25.08 - just gave myself a haircut - woo, cold head!
  • 02.26.08 - 75° and spring cleaning - couldn't feel better
  • 02.27.08 - fed the elders bún đậu tonight - think it's their first time
  • 03.01.08 - working on new background...
  • 03.02.08 - finalized javascript to change background without muffing up my other scripts
  • 03.03.08 - fhe: "In his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12)
  • 03.07.08 - some decisions are harder than others, but some are downright excruciating
  • 03.08.08 - there is life after work... i almost forgot
  • 03.11.08 - the distance between good and bad is much shorter than between better and best
  • 03.12.08 - conversion is sometimes a gradual process, so much so that we don't even notice
  • 03.14.08 - for some reason everything was a little harder today, looking forward for bed!
  • 03.15.08 - last night after blog reading, I missed OnlyBlue, today I find she's back
  • 03.16.08 - best day of my life!
  • 03.19.08 - "Pray for the answer that they've been looking for"
release notes v1.0 - FINALLY DONE!
  • 12.07 - first thought of starting a new blog
  • 01.08 - busy with election stuff but blog design still on back burner
  • 01.13.08 - first idea to imitate jk rowling with the "desk" theme
  • 01.28.08 - start sketching current design, breaking down development into phases
  • 02.02.08 - election only days away but still drafting final plans
  • 02.04.08 - v0.6 LAUNCH
    • main components (blog body, sidebar, header, etc) designed and implemented
    • styling for font, links, drop caps, etc. finished
  • 02.07.08 - v0.8 LAUNCH
    • image style to imitate polariod
    • moveability - post-it notes and static clings can be repositioned by drag and drop
    • release notes styled and written
  • 02.16.08 - travel log (beta) added in hopes of catching the mundane
  • 02.22.08 - lightbox 2.03 reinstalled and working fine (hopefully - let me know otherwise)
  • 02.26.08 - v0.9 LAUNCH
    • travel log seems to be working, so I'll keep it
    • lightbox also seems to have passed the test, so it's a keeper
    • some credits/info added to bottom (will expand)
    • keeping old Viet terms in archive for future viewing
  • 03.18.08 - v1.0 LAUNCH
    • installation and testing of time-sensitive background completed (for now)