Photo credit to Paul Chinn, The Chronicle / SF
After reading about how cars blocking bike lanes is becoming a growing problem (and a non-moving violation) in that corridor, a problem I myself have encountered while navigating those streets, I decided to take the initiative to create a blog about this problem and raise awareness. I want to empower everyone who witnesses a car who’s impeding the designated path of a cyclist and post a photo or video or text post describing your ordeal to me (and maybe soon enough, us) and we can raise awareness of this issue.
NOTE: This blog does not condone reckless cycling such as darting through intersections, unnecessary weaving through traffic and the like. Those are bad and you should feel bad for doing those things because that makes us all look bad.
Some cyclists where I live in DC and maybe elsewhere seemingly fail to recognize that “share the road” applies to cyclists sharing with automobiles as well. My wife works at a place where there are bike lanes. A lot of cars (including Shawn Blog here) stop to pick up spouses and children at this location (a private day care center). They frequently double park, which I do not do and agree is a bad thing. I can’t stand delivery trucks that somehow feel it is within their right to double park and block any part of the roadway.
But I disagree with the notion that any activity in a bike lane is somehow infringing on the rights of the cyclist because the whole “bike lane” system doesn’t logically consider the rest of the world (as may be the case with some cyclists and certainly other humans who may or may not ride bikes through our fair city). People will, for instance, pull in and out of the legal parking spaces at the curb. Any bike lane would need to be crossed. Pedestrians may also need to, on occasion, cross the street (and cross the sacred bike lane). There are many other reasons the a bike lane might have to be used for some other reason than riding a bike depending on the location, time of day, and circumstances of whatever is happening at a given moment.
This morning, after dropping my wife off for work, I carefully and thoughtfully looked in my rear view mirror to check for any traffic that might be approaching before pulling away from the curb to leave. I saw a cyclist at least 200 yards back and no other traffic, so I pulled out and started my drive. I was going to make the very next right, which would mean crossing the bike lane again—and since I had seen the cyclist when I pulled out, I checked again. He had somehow—perhaps intentionally by speeding up a good bit—caught up very close to me. I already had my signal on and made my right because there was still plenty room. It was totally safe, but the cyclist angrily glared at me as I made the turn (again, there was still a good distance) and mouthed something toward me (turning toward me while continuing to drive straight in the lane and not looking at the road at all).
I didn’t do anything wrong. Yes, if I make a right and hit a cyclist that’s right next to me, I would be at fault, but no vehicle—not even a bicycle in a bike lane—has the right to pass another vehicle on the right if that vehicle is in motion and has the right of way. I was a safe distance in front, so I certainly had the right of way.
This isn’t the first incident of this kind. I had one last week downtown where I cyclist make a left right in front me me as I was going straight from a light!
Now, I had a friend get hit on a bicycle in traffic once. He was hurt very badly.
I saw a guy get KILLED in the same crosswalk I was crossing the street in when I lived in NYC on a bicycle. I could smell the blood.
When I was a kid, I rode a bicycle EVERYWHERE. I understand what’s happening more than the average automobile driver and I am VERY careful.
But I see cyclists running STOP signs in DC every morning (illegal).
These people are wreckless and dangerous to every other driver on the road. Share the Road says “One Road, Many Users” and that seems like a good idea. If you’re a cyclist with an attitude toward cars, think about changing what you can. It’s not them.
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