Last week the Drive was on Emerson Avenue in north Minneapolis when a black sedan, going so fast I could not determine the make or model, used the bike lane to pass me on the right.
My ire was quickly replaced with joy — glee actually — when a couple blocks later the speed demon came up behind a Metro Transit bus. The motorist tried using the bike lane maneuver again, but could not squeeze by. Leadfoot was forced to slow down to below the 30 mile per hour speed limit.
Apparently obeying the speed limit is an outrageous suggestion and not something to actually follow. In a recent survey of more than 2,000 drivers, AutoNation found that 69 percent of motorists admitted to driving faster than legally allowed, which likely explains why 41 million Americans are issued speeding tickets each year, according to the report by the Florida-based automotive retailer.
Speeding was the second most common car crime that survey respondents admitted to, but it shows just how impatient motorists have become. Nearly 69 percent of drivers say they are too heavy on the gas pedal, eclipsed only by the 70 percent who cut through neighborhood streets or sneak through parking lots to get somewhere faster.
Ranking third and fourth were the aggressive driving behaviors of honking when the light turns green if vehicles in front of them don't move immediately and flipping off other drivers. Placing fifth was the 41 percent of drivers who race through yellow lights. At last check, I thought yellow meant to slow down and prepare to stop.
The issue of how hurried drivers show up in headlines came last month as a 3-year-old in Alabama was struck by a bullet and killed when a motorist shot at his grandmother's car because the motorist felt she was driving too slow.
A few months ago, the Drive heard a behind-the-wheel instructor lament the lack of courtesy on the roads. He said he was giving a lesson on a city street, going about 20 miles per hour, when another motorist pulled up beside the vehicle and yelled "teach that kid to drive faster."
The Drive is no saint on the roads, as I am sure I have forgotten to use a turn signal here and there, but collectively it seems like our driving conduct is getting more rude and reckless. The study bears that out.
"Alarming" is how AutoNation's Rachel Wallach sized things up. "We could do better."
And how. While we are still in the season of New Year's resolutions, let's all pledge to drive better by going the speed limit, avoiding tailgating, using our blinkers, wearing seat belts, not texting and driving and actually stopping at red lights and stop signs. Above all, keep road rage in check by showing grace to those who don't.
Zipcar lowers rates
Now that Car2Go has pulled its blue-and-white Smart cars off the streets, Zipcar has dropped its hourly rate to $6 an hour, down from $9 per hour on weekdays and $10 on weekends.
The rate change is "meant to help those who may now be without transportation with Car2Go pulling out," said Zipcar spokeswoman Katelyn Chesley. Car2Go had about 29,000 members in the Twin Cities before it left the market, citing "extremely high" state car rental taxes for pulling out. Zipcar has about 30 vehicles for use in the Twin Cities and is ready to expand if car sharing policies in St. Paul and Minneapolis change, she said.
Follow news about traffic and commuting at The Drive on startribune.com. Got traffic or transportation questions, or story ideas? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @stribdrive or call Tim Harlow at 612-673-7768.