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.