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.