PSA: Yield to Emergency Vehicles

I'm frankly shocked to be in position where I feel that I must post this entry.

My husband was just coming down from one of the reserviors in our area. There was a huge accident up there a short time ago. Three ambulances, six fire trucks, and a slew of police vehicles were on the scene. My husband pulled off onto a shoulder of a blind s-curve in the road as a fire truck blazed toward the scene of the accident, and saw two bicyclists coming down the curve, in the middle of the road. His window rolled down, he called, "Get off the road! Here comes an emergency vehicle!"

Their response?

"Fuck you!"

He was horrified at their display of defiant unconcern for others, and watched the fire truck swerve wide to miss them, almost resulting in another accident wherein they missed the side of his truck by about a foot.

Further down the road, he pulled off as a police car raced up the canyon. A car was in the intersection, and paused in the mddle of the road when they saw the police car come. The officer must have been doing fifty, my husband reports. Agape, he watched as the car began to make its left turn in the path of the oncoming police car, making the officer have to slam on his brakes so hard that the rear end of the car threatened to break loose.

Seconds count. Emergency response personnel don't pour on the speed for fun. They do it because someone is seriously hurt.

When you see emergency vehicles, have enough human decency to get off the road. I don't care whether you are in your car or on a bicycle. You do not have exclusive rights to the road. Yield to emergency vehicles.

posted by Linda on June 30, 2004 10:38 PM

I've seen this sort of arrogant idiocy many times -- NEVER by motorists or motorcyclists, ALWAYS by bicyclists.

The problem is the obnoxious attitude of smug, politically "correct" superiority on the part of bicyclists, who view all operators of motor vehicles -- even emergency vehicles -- as "consumeroid rapists of Mother Earth," and thus (whenever they can get away with it) behave exactly as these bicyclists your husband encountered.

I'm told this is a huge problem throughout the West, and I can testify from personal experience it is an enormous (and enormously infuriating) problem in Washington state, where bicyclists often ride four or six abreast on two-lane mountain roads, refuse to pull over or yield, and thereby maliciously back up motor-vehicle traffic literally for miles.

In short, the behavior your husband observed this morning is yet another expression of the Culture War.

Posted by: loren at June 30, 2004 11:45 PM

I have seen this repugnant behavior from motorcyclists, bicyclists and regular everyday motorists. Some people just feel that they are too damn important to pull over. And then there are some that are oblividiots. (I hang my head in shame that once I didnít pull over right away because I didnít hear the sirens over my car radio blasting Ė I have since changed that nasty habit.) I did pull over however, when I noticed that others were.

Posted by: ethne at July 1, 2004 08:01 PM

At least once, I noticed the sirens and lights, but there were too many cars to the right for me to pull over (...and was on a boulevard, so no going into the left lane into oncoming traffic) so I had to go into the intersection to open a path. Didn't get ticketed so I guess you can ignore the law under some circumstances. :-)

Posted by: Patrick Chester at July 1, 2004 08:12 PM