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September 21, 2011 / comocyclechic

“You know there’s a BIKE LANE!”

Shirt, Target; Old Lady Khakis, Macy's; Heels, Steve Madden via Blackberry Exchange; Brooch, gift from my mother-in-law

I was riding home in traffic today, and I encountered a four-way stop with a line of about six cars waiting to get through. I checked behind me to appraise the traffic situation before moving from the bike lane to the motor vehicle lane so I could safely wait my turn to get through the intersection. The closest car behind me was several hundred feet away at the time, and the line of cars waiting to enter the intersection was moving at a crawl so I signaled and took the lane. At no time did I impede the flow of traffic or cut someone off.

So there I am, about third in line for the stop sign when the car behind me pulled up next to me on my right side, the driver rolled down her window and shouted, “You know there’s a BIKE LANE!”

“I gotta wait my turn,” was my reply. I did not follow that with “bitch” even though it would have felt really good.

Taking the lane and waiting your turn is the safest way to get through an intersection, by the way. Chapter seven of the Missouri Driver’s Guide says in part, “Most collisions with bicycles and mopeds happen at intersections, where smaller, slower bicycles and mopeds are especially easy to overlook.” The best way to stay visible and reduce risk is to expose yourself to only two cars — the car in front of you and the car behind you. Riding to the front of the line in the bike lane might be tempting, but is also dangerous because you don’t know if a car is going to make a right turn without seeing you. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists advises cyclists to take the lane “before intersections and turns to assert your position on the roadway.”

I know the lady who shouted at me today will never see this, but I had to get it off my chest.

On the sartorial front, this is another slim pants, knit top, heels ensemble that was both easy to bike in and required no fussing upon my arrival at the office.

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6 Comments

  1. mzpez / Sep 21 2011 10:31 pm

    Glad you didn’t cuss. This would pass for an Interpreter’s outfit….can I borrow it?

  2. Tobias / Sep 22 2011 5:23 am

    Ginger, I bet she was jealous about your nice looking outfit, so she did not find any other way to express her pure envy 🙂

    I think those little wars between car drivers and cyclists are the same in all over the world. Some of them end up with a non pronounced word “bitch” (btw. that will be “Schlampe” in german, next time use this 🙂 ), others like in my case last year, unfortunately ended up with a broken arm, black and blue marks, a broken 6K priced roadbike, some court visits and an assurance that have not paid all my damages yet even after I won the lawsuit.

    Important is, that after all we should continue to ride the bike cause as JFK said: “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride”. 🙂

    Greets from the other side of the planet,
    Tobias

    • comocyclechic / Sep 22 2011 11:01 am

      Oh, how scary. Sounds like you’re back on the road, though. Good for you!

      Ginger

  3. Ellen / Sep 22 2011 8:33 am

    I get this sometimes, too, and it feels kind of threatening, but I can’t help but think that the more times car drivers see cyclists doing it right, like you were, the more they will get used to it. It always gives me a little warm happy feeling when someone who has been rude or zooms by me then ends up stopped at the next light, where I catch them up. It happens surprisingly often–I think car drivers massively overestimate how much we slow them down. I like to give them a smile and wave when that happens!

    • comocyclechic / Sep 22 2011 11:04 am

      Smiling and waving is nice, and that’s what I usually do. Sometimes I like to shake my finger at especially rude ones, though.

      g

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