Well, we make our living on the streets, and we also drive home after our shifts. We get to know Muni drivers and lots of cops. In general, we don't like bikes, which means bike riders. Now, the bikes are good or evil, depending on how they are used. If the bike riders were nice folks who obeyed the same laws we get tickets for breaking, we would feel warm and fuzzy toward them, and we would be right out there with Matt Smith, defending them.
But they aren't. They are arrogant, and they drive as if beyond the law, because they have no license plates that can be reported when they violate traffic laws. If I run a red light and bump an old lady, everyone rushes to write down my license number. Bikes have none, and the riders damn well know it, and push things to the limit. I see this daily: A bus, a truck, and two cars are stopped at a red light, as the law requires. Along comes a spandex bandit, and zooms right through us, into the intersection, and if any of us honks at him, we all get the finger. In fact, I see it 30 times a day. They take rights they do not have. They steal.
Ten times a day, I see some bike bozo running up the one-way street (that is, the wrong way). Twenty times a day, I see bike riders pedaling along the wrong side of the street, facing traffic. I can't do that. A guy on a Harley or a Honda doesn't do that. But the bike guy does it, with finger upraised if challenged.
Fifty times in one of my eight-hours shifts, I see bikes cruising right through the stop signs I stop for. They don't even hesitate. By the way, this is not just a few bike guys ... this is just about all of them ... if I see one stop, my teeth fall out.
On a rare night shift (when I become a Night Cabbie -- but not, of course, the columnist in the Examiner) I see these idiots doing ALL THE ABOVE, with no lights on in many cases. No lights at all.
So, the bikers make us all feel we are being ripped off. And thus, we don't bother to "see bikes," and we don't care where we open doors, or if we ride over bike lanes. The general attitude among drivers who make their living on the road is: "F*** em ... they won't obey the law, so why should we?"
You can call us cracker morons if you want. But we know that motorcycles obey the laws, and we watch for them. The rip-off bike riders don't, so we have our own choice term for them -- hamburger.
Howard Beason is a nom de plume used by a San Francisco taxi driver who has requested that the fee for this column be donated to charity.