Sunday November 14, 2010
Incident on 1st Avenue
I was biking to work the other morning, my usual route, and was riding up 1st Avenue North, near Key Arena, which is a one-way, two-lane street with an extra bike lane on the right-hand side.
(As an aside, this street has one of the more amusing road surfacing markings I've ever seen. Two lanes, right? But as 1st approaches Thomas, a road surface marking in the left-hand lane lets drivers know they can only go straight or turn left, while a road surface marking in the right-hand lane lets drivers know they can only go straight or turn right. I suppose the markings are there to remind drivers in the right-hand lane not to turn left, and drivers in the left-hand land not to turn right. Or maybe they're there to remind drivers not to go backwards.)
So I'm biking up 1st Avenue in the left-hand lane when a car zips past me and the driver yells something I don't quite catch. He has to stop at the traffic light on Harrison, which is where I catch up with him. His window is still rolled down and he's obviously exasperated. He points over to the right and says the following:
“How come you're not using the bike lane?”
His subtext is obvious. Look, dude, we've given you an ENTIRE LANE of your own. So why are you clogging up legitimate traffic with your bike?
I have some sympthy—but only some—and I point to the Harrison intersection and say this:
“I'm turning left.”
Do I get an apology? Not really. I can see that he sees the logic, but the logic only makes his exasperation worse. At which point the light turns green and he drives on.
Again, I have some sympathy with the dude. But only some. A cyclist has to turn left now and again.