Saturday, August 18, 2012

While riding today in Kaysville, UT, on the way back to Layton, where I'm staying for a few weeks for work, I was in the right lane of two going the same direction, four total, when a car got right behind me, slammed on its brakes, tailgated me, and then passed me within inches, even though the other lane in the same direction was completely empty.  Pretty generic story so far, right?

Then he turned, almost immediately after passing me, into the next parking lot.  Despite my dismay that his destination ranked higher in his mind than my life, I realized that I had the opportunity to have a conversation with him about the situation that he had just caused.  Note that I say "conversation," not "confrontation."  I was surprisingly not angry, I suppose because I'm so used to this situation and I wanted to take this opportunity to inform him of what had happened and try to figure out why it happened.

I approached him as he got out of his vehicle and told him that he had passed me extremely closely.  His response was that I needed to use the bike lane.  Then I said, "There was no bike lane there; that was just the road shoulder.  But regardless, you still need to pass me safely, leaving three feet between us."  The rest of the argument is similar and mostly a blur in my memory, but after I decided I'd wasted enough time on this stubborn jackass (of course I did not call him that to his face or even raise my voice), I said, "Please be more careful in the future.  My life's at stake here," which I think is a pretty rational request.  His response? "I will when you use the bike lane."  Apparently he hadn't heard a word I'd said in the last two minutes.  Then I took a picture of his license plate, asked if he knew the Kaysville Police Department's non-emergency number so that I could report a dangerous driver, and left.  Last I heard, the Davis County Sheriff's Office was sending an officer to try to make contact with the driver.  Hopefully he is successful and it scares this driver enough that he doesn't endanger another biker's life as "punishment" for not using the "bike lane."

Note: In Utah, as in Ohio, there is no requirement for bikes to use the bike lane.  They are allowed to use whichever lane is required by the conditions, staying as far right as practicable (which typically IS the bike lane, but not always).  Thus, even if it had been a bike lane instead of a shoulder, I would have been in more danger riding there because he very likely would have hit me as he turned in front of me across my lane and into the parking lot.

Friday, July 13, 2012

On July 4, 2012, I was riding on Wilson Road (4 lanes), less than half a mile from home, minding my own business, when a truck came upon me and honked its horn.  I motioned to the second lane to indicate that I would not be getting out of his way but that he was free to pass me any time he wished.  Then he went around me, ran me off the road with his trailer as he moved back over, brake-checked me, and got on the freeway to speed away.  Not the brightest thing to do in a marked vehicle.  Did I mention it was a tanker truck full of flammable fuel?  Nice, right?

Of course I filed a police report, and then I contacted the company that owned the truck.  They got back to me immediately and informed me that they had investigated, that the driver had been honest and confessed to his actions, and that they were prescribing some corrective actions against the driver.  He was put on unpaid leave for 3 days, and when he returns, he will spend a day in a defensive driving training course, where, among other things, he will learn about road rage and how to prevent it.  The situation on the 4th will also be broken down piece-by-piece so that he can learn from his mistakes and, hopefully, make better decisions next time.

I completely agree with this course of corrective action.  It is much more satisfying to have a small punishment like the short suspension followed by a learning experience than to have him fired or even charged in criminal court.  This day of training which he will attend may well prevent him from doing anything so stupid again, which could potentially take someone's life.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Today as I was approaching my last turn on the way home, as I started to move into the turn lane, a car whizzed by me nearly hitting me.  I caught up to it at the next light (shows how much good nearly killing me actually did) and told the driver that she had almost hit me.  I was yelling at first (you would be too if your life had just been threatened), so you know what I expected to hear back.  Instead, the woman calmly told me that she was sorry and that she hadn't known I was going to move as she tried to pass me (never mind the fact that I signaled my turn and that she was left of center since I moved as soon as the left turn lane opened up). Then I told her that there's a yellow line there for a reason and thanked her.  Why can't all motorists be like that?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I was almost home from work tonight on Wilson Road, which is the last road before my apartment complex, when I noticed a truck behind me.  I watched him in my mirror as usual to make sure he moved into the other lane (there are 2 in each direction) and got a little concerned when he didn't since there were no other vehicles on the road besides the two of us.  Two or 3 minutes went by as he approached me and I started to worry and watch him more closely.  Wouldn't he have moved over by know if he had seen me?  Then, finally, a good 2 or 3 truck-lengths behind me, i.e. still plenty of time to move into the other lane and pass me, he starts honking his horn.  "Ah, good," I thought to myself, "he sees me."  The honking, now accompanied by tail-gating since he had caught up with me, continued off and on for the next 2-3 minutes until I reached my turn-off.  Following my usual routine, I gave the "slowing/stopping" hand signal and then the "right turn" hand signal.  This apparently angered his inner child even more than it already was, because he laid on the horn and didn't stop this time.  I continued with my turn and rode into my apartment complex, noting with amusement that the honking didn't stop until a good 10-15 seconds later.  I'm sure the other drivers who hadn't seen me (since he was far past my street by then) were wondering what the heck was wrong with this guy.

This idiot wanted to cause a scene, which he did plenty of, and scare me, which he fortunately did not.  I used to motion toward the other lane in this type of situation, but now I don't even bother with that.  My thinking is that if you're too stupid to figure out how to change lanes, you deserve to wait behind me.  I also realized that, contrary to popular belief, honking from aggressive drivers is not bad at all; it's actually good, because it means they see me.  After that, if any of them did have the audacity to hit me, I'd have a pretty clear case for assault instead of a simple failure to maintain assured clear distance ahead.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I spent Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco, and two things left a lasting impression on my memory.  The first was the number of safe, convenient alternatives to driving.  The biggest difference between San Francisco and Columbus was the state of the sidewalks.  Not only were there sidewalks on every street I used in San Francisco and Berkeley, but they were in good condition, didn't have utility poles in the middle of them, didn't have plants growing out of them, and were extremely wide.  San Francisco also has several different methods of public transit and the metro area has several different bus companies to take you anywhere you need to go in the Bay Area or beyond.  Of course, I also noticed the sheer numbers of bike lanes, the people who rode for transportation rather than athletic training, and the safe way in which bikes and cars shared the road, which leads me to my second point.

The other big thing I noticed on this trip was the respect that all road users showed toward one another.  As a pedestrian, not once did I have to walk around a car that had carelessly stopped in the crosswalk.  I saw no one stop at a stop sign past the painted line on the ground.  Never did I feel as though I had to yield my right-of-way at a stop sign/crosswalk combo to a cyclist for my own safety.  Not once did I see a car cut off a bike; if there wasn't room to pass, the motorist simply waited until there was, a concept that seems to be very difficult for Central Ohioans to grasp.  I only wish I'd had a bike with me while I was there.  I will definitely be going back.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

While riding in Cincinnati last week, I was coming up to a line of stopped cars.  As usual, I took the lane to make sure no one tried to pass me and, without room to actually do it, caused an accident.  For the first time ever, the driver behind me decided this wasn't good enough for him and that he was going to pass anyway.  So here we are, almost stopped now, 2-3 car-lengths between me and the vehicle in front of me, and the driver behind me guns his engine and flies into the oncoming lane, cuts back in front of me, realizes the next car ahead is no longer moving, and screeches to a halt.  At this point I had stopped moving to avoid the shrapnel that I expected from the collision that seemed imminent.  Fortunately for everyone, the aggressive passer was able to stop with just inches to spare, and everyone went home safely.

We're all familiar with the drivers that think the fact that they are approaching a slow-moving vehicle, in this case a bicycle, gives them a break from the laws about driving on the right and safe passing and nearly run oncoming traffic off the road in order to pass.  Well, yesterday on the way home from work on Trabue (2 lanes, 45 mph limit), that exact situation happened.  The difference, though, is that there were two cars trying to pass.  Instead of waiting for the first to pass and then passing me himself, the second driver drafted off of the first vehicle the entire way around me.  Then when the first vehicle was safely back in my lane, the second driver STAYED in the oncoming lane, passing the first car that had just passed me.  After forcing an oncoming car off the road, this dangerous passer finally got to his intended destination, a left turn lane.  Apparently it was too much effort to move back into the correct lane before his left turn.  I guess those other cars will just have to get out his way.
Original comment from this Dispatch article (letter to the editor, actually):
What gripes me about bike riders are those that want respect but yet pass away on the right, hop to the sidewalk to use the pedestrian cross walk while still riding to simply avoid the traffic control device, those ding ***** that ride their bike on sidewalks, and the cry babies that whine about "their rights" yet DO NOTHING to make sure other bikers follow the law that govern vehicles (lights, rules for turns, illegal passing, obstructing traffic flow, etc),
Follow-up comment:
What gripes me about motorists are those that want respect but yet pass left of center, cut off other vehicles (cars AND bikes), run red lights/stop signs (rolling stops, too), and speed, and the cry babies that whine about "scofflaw bicyclists" yet DO NOTHING to make sure other drivers follow the law that govern vehicles (lights, rules for turns, illegal passing, obstructing traffic flow, etc),
Now that's awesome!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Driving down Main Street in the middle of downtown Hilliard. Driver honks. I ignore due to the fact that I have oncoming traffic on the left and parked cars on the right: nowhere to go even if I wanted to. Guy nearly pushes me into parked cars passing me. I slap car. Guy stops and gets out. Guy starts swinging at me. Later I call police and cross my fingers that they find him.

All this after a lady somehow managed to squeeze between me, riding in the center of the lane, and the curb today on the way home from work.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Last night around dusk I was riding home on Trabue (45 mph, 4 lanes) when  UPS delivery van was too busy trying to scare me by getting close behind me (as much as I would like to have eyes in the back of my head, I don't, so his efforts were wasted) to look in his mirror before passing me.  The result was that he nearly hit a pickup that was already next to him in the left lane.  The pickup driver honked, the UPS driver sped off, and everyone went on their merry way.

Or so I thought.

At the next light, the pickup driver moved over behind the UPS truck and honked again while idling at the light.  Then when the light changed, the pickup driver cut off the vehicle next to him (sound familiar?) pulled up next to the UPS truck, and honked a third time.  Then he cut off the UPS truck and slammed his brakes on to a complete stop, forcing the UPS truck to stop as well.  Why the UPS driver didn't back up and go around him I don't know, but at this point the pickup driver got out, came up to the UPS truck at the driver's side (i.e. the roadside) door, and started screaming at the UPS driver.  At this point I pulled into a driveway and started to call the police radio room, just in case it got physical, but I hung up when a cop drove by and didn't seem concerned by a man standing in the middle of the street (to the point where the cop had to leave the left lane and cross the center line to avoid him) yelling at a stopped truck.  Eventually the pickup driver was all screamed out and got back in his truck and everyone drove away safely.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I finally got the chance to have a civil conversation with a driver who honked at me as he passed me.  It went something like this:
    Me: Is there any particular reason you honked at me?
    Him: Yeah I honked at you.  Not really what I said, but as you'll see later, his listening comprehension skills are the least of his worries.  It's illegal to be in the middle of the lane.
    -It's what? Can you point me to that law?  It's not one I've heard before.  Maybe it's new?
    -Oh yeah, I'll just whip it out.
    -You need to, because you have no idea what you're talking about.  Why did you have to honk anyway? We're in different lanes!  Then the civility is lost...
    -F*ck you!  The ingenuity of these comebacks never ceases to amaze me.

I was also once told (a year or two ago) that I have to stay within 10 inches of the curb by a guy that decided it was worth risking my lift to get in front of me at the last minute at a red light before slamming his brakes on.  These two incidents lead me to believe that perhaps not all honkers are angry, but simply un/misinformed.

However, I still think that if you're going to get into a shouting match over road laws, it would behoove you to actually know said laws.  (In case you weren't aware, neither of these gentlemen were quoting actual law, even though I'm sure they would have sworn on the holy Bible that they were.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I knew some drivers were stupid, but this guy takes the cake.  Coming up 4th Street in the left lane, a guy pulls up alongside me on the right and says, in a normal, calm voice, "Please use the bike lane."  I shouted after him in response, "What bike lane, moron?  There's no bike lane here."  He then stuck his arm out the window, index finger pointed down, toward the sidewalk.  Now, I know it's hard to tell the difference between the raised, white concrete sidewalk and a lane of travel on black pavement with pictures of bikes painted on it, but come on.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I saw this comment on a news article today which gives some insight into the mind of one who absolutely will not consider alternative transportation:
Nice try plantation! You'll never get my car! The last refuge of freedom an American has is he can get into his car and drive where ever he or she wants, whenever he or she wants. Make gas $20/gallon...I'll still drive.
While this is not directly pointed at cycling, I think it goes a long way toward understanding why motorists get so angry at cyclists for simply riding on the road.  To those most angry motorists, a car represents the ability to access freedom, and the cyclist is the only thing (in the motorist's mind) between him and that freedom.  The motorist is so blinded by his or her anger of the cyclist, who is a living, breathing person and thus easy to take out frustrations on, that he or she doesn't realize that in dense city traffic, another car or a traffic control device is sure to hold him or her up a few seconds down the road.

Friday, April 27, 2012

As I was riding in West Chester last night (not WC's fault this time!), I was confronted by an Ohio State Trooper.  She told me she needed me to ride on the right (the shoulder).  I told her I couldn't do that and asked her if she would drive on the shoulder, to which of course the answer was no.  Then she told me she didn't think I had a right to be in the road.  Regardless of the fact that I did have that right, shouldn't you, as a state law enforcement officer, know the law instead of guessing at what you think?  After she continued to press the issue I pointed out that she was impeding traffic and she sped off in a huff.

Then later that evening I was going about 40mph down a large hill on Vine Street in Cincinnati and lost control when the road whipped left.  The result is a lot of scraping and bruising, but thankfully nothing broken.  The bike is unrideable, but I'm confident the guys at Baer Wheels can put it back together in a few days.  Lots of walking and waiting, a long bus ride, a cab ride, and three hours later, I was back at my hotel.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Here's a new twist on an old favorite.  I was riding in West Chester (where else?) when a car honked and then aggressively passed me and cut me off before stopping directly in front of me at the next light.  That's not unusual at all.  Then, he got out of his seat, twisted around, and stuck his whole head and torso out his window to yell at me.

First he told me I was supposed to be riding on the shoulder of the road.  After I told him I wasn't, the only thing he could think of to justify his anger was that I almost got hit.  Well, if he almost hit me, whose fault would that be?  (Here's a hint: it wouldn't be mine.)  After this "justification" also didn't hold up, he simply resorted to threatening to beat me up.  I thought he was concerned for my safety since I almost got hit?  It was pretty entertaining, especially since I'm about twice his size, so I was actually kind of hoping he would leave the car in the middle of a 45-mph road to try to beat me up.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anyone who drives near campus knows that trying to get anywhere in a hurry is futile.  Today I was riding South on High approaching Lane and a driver behind me didn't like that I was taking the whole lane and going slowly (even though there were 2 cars in front of me, the reason I was going slowly).  At the next light, he passed me and the vehicle in front of me in the middle of the intersection using the parking lane.  Then at Lane, he wanted to turn right.  However, in his aggressive attempt to get around me, he was bumper-to-bumper with the car in front of him, so he couldn't change lanes until that car moved.  By that time, I had passed him, forcing him to once again wait behind me to make his turn onto Lane.  Revenge is sweet!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

From the comments on an article on PA's new 4-foot passing law:
If I don't get to treat you with disrespect and endanger you just because
some OTHER driver ran a red light one time, then you shouldn't get to do it to me, right?
This was in response to several commenters who felt that they had the right to cut off cyclists and pass them too closely because, at some point in the past, they had observed a bicyclist running a stop sign or red light.  Perfect!
Something I've noticed lately: motorists seem more likely to honk at cyclists if they are passing illegally.  For example, on my way to work this morning on McKinley Ave., the only vehicles that honked at me were the ones using the center left-turn-only lane as a passing lane;  the ones who only moved over the required 3 feet to pass me didn't honk.

Friday, April 13, 2012 <--Exactly, especially
...which involves making a slight counterclockwise twist of the steering wheel followed by a slight clockwise twist. With today's modern power steering systems, the physical exertion involved is negligible -- less than it takes to type a comment complaining about a law that, if people had a lick of common sense, wouldn't be necessary.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Well here's something you don't see every day:

We're all familiar with motorists who feel that being delayed by a bicyclist entitles them to pass where passing is not permitted, even when it is dangerous or inconveniences other motorists, but today I was in the center of my lane on a 2-lane road with a few cars behind me when the second car back passed both me and the car directly behind me.

This was of course followed by the next 3 or 4 cows in the herd following the leader.  It seems like no one is able to think for himself or herself anymore, but that's a separate complaint.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why are drivers so in love with their horns?  I got passed today by a driver, honking the entire time, who decided the center left-turn-only lane was his personal passing lane.  I can understand honking as a warning, but I already knew he was there after the first 10 honks, so the rest weren't really necessary.  Perhaps he was honking to show his anger.  However, I didn't take my lane position with the express purpose of inconveniencing him (for all of 10 seconds).  Believe it or not, I actually put a higher priority on not tearing my bike to shreds on the horrid roads of Columbus than on letting you get to the next red light 10 seconds before me.  Perhaps your anger should be redirected at the person who broke the law and caused a dangerous situation for you, me, and the oncoming traffic.

I ought to attach an air horn to my bike so I can fight fire with fire (well, noise with noise).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Saw this as part of a comment on a bike commuting blog
I am a cyclist who does not own a car; it works for me. How you live is your choice. We can share society — I’ll stay off your toes, and you stay off mine. I don’t care if you drive a Nissan Leaf or a Hummer, just let me ride in my little space without trying to clear me off the pavement.
While I do own a car, mostly because my parents and brother live within driving distance but not riding distance, I pretty much never use it.  And the rest of this quote is absolutely 100% how I feel.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I spent last week in West Chester, OH (north of Cincinnati), where you'd swear the people have never seen a bicycle before.  The three funniest things that happened to me:

1.  Riding less than a mile from my hotel to the place where I was getting training, on a 4-lane road, a driver pulls up next to me in a car and tells me I'm impeding traffic.  Rather than get into the legalities of taking the lane (what I was doing has been judged perfectly legal in court cases in Ohio), I said, "So are you.  How fast are you going."  He looked down: "16 miles an hour." Me: "Exactly.  Get moving."  Because, you see, I was not legally impeding traffic (nor physically impeding it, since there were other lanes to pass me) because I am not capable of going any faster.  He, on the other hand, WAS impeding traffic because he was going 30 miles under the speed limit in a vehicle capable of going much faster than the limit.  His response was the unimaginative "But you're breaking the law!"  Then I turned right on red and let him stew while he waited to go straight through the light.

2.  Riding to the hotel from training on a 7- or 8-lane road, a driver pulls up next to me at a light, and it's a warm day so his windows are down.  He says, "You're not a car; get out of the road." "Ignoring the fact that he is a person and also not a car, I point to a truck and say, "He's not a car either; he's a truck and he's using the road." So, now we've established that roads are for the use of ALL vehicles instead of just cars, right?  Well, this guy didn't think so when he responded, "F*** you a**hole.  Get out of the road."  Slow learner?

3.  On a workout ride in Fairfield, OH, on a 4-lane road in a commercial mall area, I'm in the center of the right lane.  A truck comes up behind me, slams his brakes on, and lays on the horn.  I motion toward the left lane to indicate that he's free to change lanes and pass me whenever it's safe to do so.  He doesn't care.  He follows me for about 5-10 minutes literally inches from my back wheel.  I'm scared, because I know that if I have to stomp on the brakes for any reason, he'll run me over before he can react.  We come to a yellow light that's just about to turn red.  I make a dash for it and then slow down so he'll have to wait for the light.  Instead, he runs the solid red light, which means he blocks the intersection for a few seconds once I slow down to try to force him to wait.  He then honks again, for a solid 4 or 5 seconds.  I again motion toward the left lane, and this time he seems to realized that both lanes go the same place, passes me, cuts me off (with no signal, of course), and then turns right!  You just risked my life, your driver's license, and the peace of this neighborhood because you couldn't wait a few extra minutes to turn right?  Unbelievable!

Then there's always the guy from this morning who decided it would be a better idea to pass me left of center... with oncoming traffic... at a three-way intersection when I was in the left lane (to avoid the pothole-riddled right lane) instead of just using the right lane, which was completely empty.  People never cease to amaze me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Picture this.  You're driving down a road with at least two straight lanes and a right turn lane.  You are in the rightmost straight lane, and you realize that there is a bicyclist in front of you.  Other than the bicyclist, you are the only other soul on the road at the time.  Assuming you make a complete lane change in order to pass the cyclist instead of buzzing him or her, what do you do?

A.  Move into the leftmost straight lane, pass the cyclist, and then move back into the original lane when safe.
B.  Move into the right turn lane, pass the cyclist, and then cut back over into the original lane at the last minute to avoid turning right, nearly clipping the cyclist on the way.

Most reasonable people would probably choose option A, but there are a few motorists, though surprisingly more than expected, who routinely choose option B.  It really makes no sense, since the purpose of the second straight lane is to allow safe passing, and that lane in this case is completely empty.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

By Tuesday night, I will have ridden 1001 miles so far this year. :-)

On the way home yesterday, I was approaching a left turn from a 2-lane road.  I was riding just inside the centerline as I prepared to turn.  A car, which had previously honked at me because I was in the way, pulled up beside me on the right.  He slowed down (so he was obviously not in a hurry and thus not inconvenienced by my presence), rolled down his window (in 36-degree conditions), and informed me that I was supposed to ride "off to the right side of the road."  I prepared to make a snappy, sarcastic remark about how he wasn't supposed to pass on the right, but instead surprised myself by calming saying, "Yeah, except I'm turning left up here.  Thanks, though," with only the slightest hint of sarcasm in my thank-you.

While he didn't cause a problem and the road was plenty wide enough for his illegal pass, this brings to light one of my pet peeves: if he hadn't been so busy worrying about where I was riding, legally, he could have been more focused on where he was driving, illegally.  If all of us as drivers would stop worrying so much about what other people are doing (I'm guilty of muttering about stop sign runners quite often myself), perhaps we could improve our own driving and make the roadways safer for everyone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Columbus has the worst taxi drivers ever.  Yesterday I was riding on High through the Short North and a taxi starts trying to make a left turn from the oncoming lane, directly into me.  I slow down and give him the one-handed "what are you doing" shrug, while simultaneously yelling at him so that he doesn't keep moving toward me.  He gesticulates wildly and yells something inside the car.  Then, as I ride off down the street, he stops in the driveway into which he just turned, rolls his window down, and yells at me!  I was amazed.  Did you really just get mad at me because I wouldn't stop dead in my tracks to let you turn when you had no right to do so?  Columbus has the worst taxi drivers ever.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I came to an all-way stop sign in Upper Arlington today on my way home and waited for the next cross-traffic vehicle to go, since he arrived first.  When he did not move after several seconds, I proceeded through the intersection.  As I neared the cross street (the stop sign was set back a few feet), the cross vehicle suddenly accelerated, nearly hitting me.  Luckily I heard his engine and stopped short.  I sincerely hope he was texting and suddenly decided to go without looking, because the alternative is that he intentionally waited for me to enter the intersection in order to scare or even hit me.  Really, though, either option is scary.

Then, between Hague and Wilson on Trabue, a car honked at me because I had taken the lane since there was oncoming traffic and not enough room for a car to pass me within my lane.  This is not an unusual occurrence, so I ignored the car and kept moving, doing what I knew was not only my legal right, but also the best option for sharing the road safely.  Then, because he was more important than both me and the oncoming car, this driver passed me while I was still in the center of his lane.  This, of course, meant that half of his car was in the oncoming lane, forcing the oncoming car to swerve, and the other half of his car was inches from me.  I called the Franklin County Sheriff's radio room, since this incident occurred in Franklin Township and not Columbus, and reported the dark blue or dark purple 4-door sedan-style car with license plate FIV 9366.   Unfortunately, the speed limit on Trabue is 45, so he was probably gone before I even hung up the phone, let alone by the time officers started searching for him.  Nevertheless, it's in the records in case he ever tries something similar.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On the way home yesterday, the right lane ended and someone didn't want to be behind me in the left lane, so he decided to stay in the right lane until the last minute and cut me off as he merged.  Because the alternative was to shred my brakes or to become a part of his vehicle, I ended up in the center left turn lane next to him.  While I was there, I fixed him with my best glare.  Then I noticed he was on his cell phone.  All of a sudden, his erratic lane change made sense.  After all, everyone knows that laws and common sense don't apply if you are on a very important phone call...

So I'm next to him, glaring at him as hard as I can, and sees me.  While continuing to hold the phone to his ear, he opens the door without so much as even slowing down, leans out since he isn't wearing a seat belt, and asks me what the f*ck I want.  I honestly don't know what he was using to hold the wheel or to hold himself in the car with one hand on the door and one on the phone.  I then informed him that he had cut me off and dropped back behind him.  I'm amazed at his talent/stupidity/total disregard for his or anyone else's safety.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bikes can be walked around blocked roads; cars can't. Bikes-1, cars-0.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Some (extremely intelligent, I'm sure) motorist yelled out "Are you serious?" as he passed me today, of course not giving me a chance to answer:

Why, yes, I am serious.  I'm serious about burning off the cookies I ate at work today, staying healthy, and saving money by not buying gas.  The real question here, though, is are you serious?  Are you seriously yelling at me as you slide into the next lane to pass me, slide back into my lane (without a turn signal either time), speed, and turn your head to yell at me instead of looking ahead of you?  Seriously scary is about as close to serious as you'll get with that kind of driving.
According to the calculator on, I save $2434 a year on fuel by biking to work daily and travel a total of 4160 miles.  And that doesn't even include trips I take outside of work!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Does anyone know what the prize is for the getting to red lights before any other traffic?  It must be pretty nice to be worth risking my life, let alone the life of the driver doing the risking.  Whether it involves cutting me off and slamming on the brakes or accelerating as soon as I move into the right-turn-only lane when you will clearly have to stop at a red light before you can turn left or go straight, it just doesn't make any sense to me.  Maybe they like paying for the extra gas they waste accelerating for no reason?  Who knows.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Drivers of Columbus: I realize flipping the turn signal lever and yanking the wheel to change lanes takes a lot of effort, but do you think you could actually move into the next lane before you pass me instead of nearly hitting me?  I would greatly appreciate it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I understand when someone yells at me to ride on the sidewalk or in the bike lane (if the sidewalk or bike lane actually exists, because I've been yelled at to ride on the sidewalk before when there wasn't one) because there are a lot of misinformed people driving around, but what does it profit to tell me not to ride in the street if there's no sidewalk or bike lane?  Where else is there to ride?  I don't understand it.  Of course, this brings me to the topic of the anger of motor vehicle operators being misdirected at cyclists, but I'll save that for another day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

As I start to change lanes, with a signal, the driver behind me decides he needs to get into that lane RIGHT NOW, goes left of center, and cuts me off. Later, as I'm screaming at him at the next light, the look on his face tells me he has no idea whatsoever what just happened. How can people like that pass the license exam? Scary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Drivers scare me.  And I don't just mean when I'm riding, though that seems to bring out their most unsafe behaviors.

Riding in the left lane of a 3-lane 1-way street with a double left turn lane, a car moves into the turn lane to pass me, cuts back in front of me barely missing the cars stopped waiting to turn, goes through the intersection, and then moves over into the newly created lane to the left, not once using a signal or slowing down.  What if one of the left-turning cars had decided to move into the straight lane and had thought that this dangerous driver was only going to stay in the turn lane to make a turn? It could have been disastrous.

Another driver this morning passed me with so little room ahead that the oncoming car had to come to almost a complete stop to let him or her pass.  Really?  Is it worth two seconds to risk three+ lives?  Still, I'm surprised the oncoming car waited and never honked.  If I'd been driving that one, I would have sped up and pounded the horn for all it was worth, but most drivers are more complacent than I.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Roundabouts are SO much more efficient than traffic lights. This country is light- and stop sign-crazy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Talk about weird, I had trouble from two back-to-back motorists today.  The first one honked, then second one honked his electronic horn, so I thought it was a cop.  "Oh great. Now I have to educate another ignorant law enforcement officer about the rights of the bicyclist."  First guy pulls up next to me, tells me to use the bike lane, and speeds off.  This was on Trabue Rd., between Hague Ave. and Wilson Rd.  For those of you who aren't familiar, there is no bike lane!  At least he didn't tell me to use the sidewalk.

By this time, the second vehicle (that I still thought was a cop) was behind me, so I braced myself for the confrontation I expected to ensue.  Turns out it was an off duty officer from some suburban department or possibly a metro parks ranger (all I know is it wasn't a Columbus officer, a sheriff's deputy, or a state trooper) with an electronic siren and PA system in his personal vehicle.  He told me to move over on his PA system.  I shook my head.  Then he pulled up next to me, going my speed while straddling both lanes, looks over at me (i.e. not at the road ahead), and asks me where I'm going.  I guess I'm a naturally honest person because my response was, "Wilson Road."  What it should have been instead is, "That's none of your business."  Then he tried to tell me I had to ride as far to the right as possible.  The law actually says as far right as practicable and even explicitly states that I am allowed to take up the full lane if there is not enough room for vehicles to pass me, which there isn't on that section of roadway.  Of course, if he had known that part of the law, he probably would have known that impeding traffic, driving left of center, and driving without looking where you are going are illegal.  It's a shame I didn't find out what department he was in so that his supervisor could sit him down for a little talk about the proper use of his police powers.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I don't understand why it is that people are incapable of driving when drops of water are falling from the sky.  They only difference between driving in the rain and driving in cloudy conditions is that you (are supposed to) use your windshield wipers.

Going down the street, I see a car trying to leave a parking lot.  Knowing that the driver probably can't see me from a right angle in the rain (even though I have both a headlight and a reflective vest), I stop short of the driveway.  Not only does this driver not stop before leaving the parking lot as I had anticipated, but she turns toward me on the street and still doesn't see me until her left headlight collides with my front wheel.  Luckily it was a bumpy driveway so she was only going a few miles an hour and didn't cause any damage.  Her excuse?  I didn't see you because you were in my blind spot.  Really?  A car's blind spot is at 7 or 8 o'clock.  I was coming from 10 o'clock.  Lady, your whole head is a blind spot.  And if you can't see around a corner, why would you pull around it anyway without stopping and checking it out first?

It gets better.

Coming up Wilson Road toward my street, I need to move into the left lane of two (five in total with the left turn lane).  I look behind me.  Two cars in my lane.  OK, good.  I put out my turn signal and start to move over.  All of a sudden the first car that was behind me starts honking.  My dear, I am truly sorry, but if you don't use a turn signal and change lanes behind a vehicle clearly signaling a lane change, what do you expect to be the outcome?  Then, because this driver has to screech to a halt and blare the horn at me some more instead of just staying in the right lane and passing me as he or she would have done had I been in a car, the second car catches up to us, gets angry at the delay, and lays on the horn as it passes me.  Do you think you can frighten me off the road with your loud noises?  I've been riding for a while; this isn't my first time being honked at.  Please direct your anger where it belongs and not toward the innocent almost-victim of a bad driver.
I just want to say that, aside from lights, the $25 I spent on fenders are the best investment I've ever made.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A few weeks ago I was the victim of a hit-skip accident wherein a car trying to get around me pinned me between his and another vehicle at a stop light (luckily it was gently) and then drove off after the light changed.  I called the police and explained the situation to the officer taking the report.  He proceeded to blame ME for being in the left lane (legally, I might add), as if this whole thing could have been avoided had I just stayed out of the way and was by no fault of the reckless, irresponsible, accident scene-leaving driver of the car that hit me.  He did run the car's tag and he told me he would follow up, which meant I would probably receive a citation for impeding traffic.  I told him this was fine because I had the law on my side and the judge would see that, but I wanted to other driver to accept the consequences for his actions.  He then proceeded to tell me how the judge would do whatever the officer told him or her to do.  No report has yet been filed, and I doubt if one ever will be.  So because the reporting officer believed I was partially at fault, even though I'm supposedly innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, I'm not entitled to have justice served on my behalf for this accident.  And we wonder why people hate cops.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Two questions:
  • What's the point of yelling obscenities at me from a different lane than the one I'm in? It's not like I'm slowing you down.  Maybe jealous of my gas costs?  I can't think why else you would be so angry at me.
  • Why do people think that any time there's a bike in front of them it's an automatic license to pass in a no passing zone?  At least no one's gotten in a collision trying to get around me... yet.
Nothing too crazy about this so much as scary.  I was in the left lane on Long at the alley just East of High when a car waiting to cross Long in that alley thought he had a clear road and accelerated across the street, headed directly at me.  I have a light on each end of the bike, reflective strips that hold my pants to my ankles, a reflective vest, and the street lights were still on, but somehow he still missed me (at least I hope he didn't see me because the alternative is even scarier).   I screamed at him several times while increasing my speed in an effort to clear the space in front of him before he got there, but I distinctly thought to myself, "This is the end."  Luckily I emerged unscathed.  The scariest part of this whole thing--because let's face it, the majority of drivers are unaware, unobservant, and just plain dangerous--is that there was nothing I could do to avoid a collision other than try to speed out of his way and hope he saw me before he hit me.


Welcome to my new blog wherein I will attempt to chronicle some of the crazy things that I've experienced while riding.  A little background: I have always enjoyed biking and biked to class while at OSU, but in March 2011 I decided it was time to get in shape, and started biking daily, first at the gym and then on the road as the weather warmed.  Between March 2011 and June 2011, I lost 35-45 pounds (I don't know what my weight was before I started), and between March 2011 and now, I've saved thousands of dollars on gas.  Now I'm working on becoming one of those crazy people who ride regardless of the weather.  This mild winter might just make that goal possible.  I now work in the IT department of a bakery where I eat several thousand calories a day and still don't gain weight due to my method of commuting.