Strange thing today. Rolling up the Lake Destiny frontage road (a two-lane road with nice clean bike lanes on either side). Saw I was overtaking a rider with a yellow reflective jacket – one like I’d like to get (mine’s orange, too small and not very reflective). But strange, I noticed that the cars were all slowing down, touching their brakes as they passed him.
Eventually I drew up behind him and then I saw a couple of things.
One: He had “Share the Road” across the back of his vest. Okay, that’s groovy.
Two: He was turning up his nose at using the bike lane, and was actually a foot out in the travel lane. That’s right, there is a nice bike lane all ready for his use and yet he’s making it a deliberate hassle for the overtaking cars.
There is a group in town (a kinda religious/fundamentalist/terrorist bunch) who believe that bikes should plant themselves firmly in the street, taking their ‘legal piece’ of the road. They call people like me curb crawlers and such. Inexplicably, they will reject bike lanes even when they are right there, going their way. And that’s what this guy was doing – cruising a foot and change beyond the line, exercising his God-given right to be a total asshole (and likely be run the fuck over by the first texting fuv to overtake him).
I just wrote about this Americanism HERE, and I’m tired of it. Does everything have to be confrontation? Does every pedestrian have to walk in front of me, every car push on me, and now every bike stage an Occupy Asphalt protest while I’m trying to get to work?
Of course, every driver who has to go around this guy (who is rejecting the lane motorists bitch about supporting in the first place) is carrying this anger off with them. Maybe next time they won’t give a cyclist a break. They’ll press a little harder, honk a little longer and consider a little less the idea of alternative transport. After all, why would they want to be an asshole like this guy?
Back in the moment where I was overtaking this guy (remember?): so now I need to crank around and make sure I have a lot of room. I don’t want to squeeze down his right on the lane, so that leaves swinging nearly out to the double yellows to get around him on the left.
Like there isn’t enough risk along the daily ride – now I get a little more. On principle.