Reader schools Street Smarts in more ways than one
Dear Street Smarts,
I like and read your column regularly. Today you said, 'We're in the throws of winter... ' To throw is to propel something with force through the air by a movement of the arm and hand, and similar meanings, which can't apply to winter. The actual saying is 'in the throes of winter.' Throes are 'intense or violent pain and struggle, especially accompanying birth, death, or great change.' So, the phrase 'in the throes of' is used to mean in the middle of something difficult or painful.
If you're going to use it, you might as well have it right, I think. Thanks!
Your advice regarding two-wheeled vehicles is pretty spot-on. I rode motorcycles for years as a young man -- probably about 30,000 miles total, much of it interstate travel -- and found that city traffic was about the biggest hazard; many of the other drivers on the road are too distracted to see a motorcycle. The best defense mechanisms I found were these:
- You want to be treated like a car? Act like a car. No lane splitting, weaving, etc.
- Visual bulk helps a lot with being seen. Fairing in front, saddlebags in back, that sort of thing. Of course, at that point, you're likely on a machine that only gets 50 mpg -- or less, for the really large ones. That negates most of the 'green' motivation for choosing one.
I never had a serious injury, though I did have a few close calls and a couple miraculous escapes. I think the strategies of claiming your spot in traffic and of being visually larger both help with the real problem: being noticed by the drivers of the massive machines around you and your fragile, exposed self.
Thanks for all you do,
Don "No, Another One," Miller, Santa Cruz
Thank you for the lesson. It is much appreciated.