Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hook Prevention

So I was riding my bike down the Teenybopper Mallrat route, eastbound, which is more annoying than riding it the other direction because on this side, the south side, the eastbound side, the bike lane is a narrow little strip next to the curb that I barely consider safe to ride in because—
  1. It often doesn't feel like there's enough room for traffic pass comfortably. I mean we're really flirting with the 3-foot passing distance, and
  2. It's seriously right on the curb—in that space where cars usually park and next to which bike lanes usually go—and is often full of garbage, ice, glass, and everything else that gets swept to the side of the road.

Because of those two factors, I often ride in the regular traffic lane. To the dismay of any motorists behind me, I'm sure, but I do try to be mindful of them and pull over out of the way when it's safe so they can pass.

And that's just what I had done for this one car as we both approached Park Avenue. Once we got there, as you can see in the dramatic re-enactment below, the car wanted to turn right but was unable to because there was a little old lady in the crosswalk.

As I approached, I saw that the LOL (little old lady) was going to clear the intersection just in time for the driver—should he not be paying attention to the cyclist (me) coming up behind him—to execute a perfect Right Hook.

Like the kind that took down two Denver police officers a couple weeks ago.

Ultimately, I had no intention of suffering a right hook, so I left the bike lane and merged into the traffic lane proper so he could right-turn away without worrying about me anymore than he would any motor vehicle.

I did it to be nice to him and, mostly, you know, out of self-preservation. But also to be nice.

Which is why I was surprised when he, after I got out of his way, did a hand fling at me in his rear-view mirror.

It wasn't an Incredudignantlous Flingsalute level hand fling, but it was a pretty good "C'MON WHAT THE HECK" fling, and was impressive in its own way since he had the steering wheel in one hand and his cell phone in the other.

So I think he was angry because he had mentally prepared to invest his valuable time in waiting for both a LOL and a Scofflaw Cyclist to pass the intersection before he could turn right, but I denied him that opportunity by not zipping around him.

I failed to live up to his expectations as a scofflaw cyclist, and true, it is frustrating when someone doesn't live up to your expectations. Especially if you're feeling pretty proud of the amount of observation and anticipation that lead you to form these expectations.

By all of which I only mean to say that the dude got a little angry, and I'm okay with that. You're allowed to get angry. You're entitled to your feelings.

But I will always behave the exact same way I did in that scenario, and I will continue to do so even if I know for sure that it will make that dude angry each time. Because I behaved in a way that allowed me to avoid a scenario in which there is a possibility I will get hit by a car.

And I am entitled to the feeling of not getting hit by a car.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Things I have yelled on my bike recently

Things I have yelled on my bike recently.
  • Nice turn signal! (Sarcastic)
  • Nice bike! (Not sarcastic. Said to a kid on a bike on the sidewalk who was watching me very closely.)
  • Foot doooooown! (Cry of anguish. Didn't want to put my foot down, but had to.)
  • Did you do yoga?

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Check out this picture I took of a traffic altercation in which I was involved today.

click through for street view

I was honked at for proceeding through an intersection, when I had a green light.


I was approaching Colfax and Sherman from the capitol parking lot, which I love riding through because
  1. all the congresspeople's license plate numbers are simply their district numbers and I like looking at those; and
  2. I find it fascinating to note the bumper stickers--and there are many, many!--that our congresspeople choose to put on their cars.

But! I was approaching the intersection from the parking lot, and I noticed the light change in my favor. Scanning the area, I noted there were some pedestrians crossing my path but they were too far away to be of concern, and I noticed there was a queue of cars opposing me waiting to turn left. (Across my path.)

Assessing (note you, having a GREEN LIGHT) an intersection through which it is safe to proceed, I proceeded.

SIDEBAR: As you can see in the photograph above, I was towing a trailer. I had some very large items to deliver downtown, and I had a bulky load of things to bring back from downtown. It required the buggy. I don't know how relevant that actually is. It obviously expanded my length and width until it approximated that of a small automobile.

So, having a green light, I proceed through the intersection.

I'm halfway through it when, BAM! It happens.

Rather, I should say, HONK-ONK-ONK-OOOONK! It happens.

I am horn-blared by a car wanting to turn left.

I was totally surprised and caught off guard.

I looked back at the driver and gave them what I hopped was an adequate Indignantcredulous Flingsalute.

The next car in line had its windows down, and the driver consoled me by calling out their window, "It's alright. You're okay. Keep riding. Okay."

And like that, I was through the intersection, and it was all over.

I had been incomprehensibly, inexplicably disrespected by one motorist; and comforted by another.

Which just goes to prove that "Some are jerks, some are nice, and you can't afford to generalize."

We're all people, you know?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

People can hear you on your bike

The other day I was riding home from work. As I approached an intersection, I saw a young woman in comfortable looking clothing standing on the corner. She had over her shoulder a large canvas bag, peeking out of which was a large rolled up mat.

Assessing her appearance as I approached, I said aloud but to myself, without really realizing it, in kind of a sing-song voice, "Oh, did you do yoga?"

She whipped her head around and watched me with a boggled, surprised, slightly incredulous look on her face as I sailed past.

Sorry, lady.

I'm a talk-to-myself-er and sometimes I forget people can hear me when I'm on my bike.