My least favorite part of my commute, other than going over the train tracks (insert brain rattling in skull) is a short stretch of road between the park tunnel exit/entrance and my left turn on the way home from work. If traffic is not heavy, I stay in the right lane almost until the intersection, then move into the left lane and on into the left turning lane. Recently, traffic has been heavy on that section. Regardless of what lane I’m in, I ride down the center, because the lanes are not wide enough for a car and my bike.
In heavy traffic, it is very difficult to move over to the left as described above because the cars just keep whizzing by, first the cars in the left lane, and then the cars in the right lane that switch to the left lane to pass me. A car almost hit me after a messy merge into the left lane a couple of weeks ago. To avoid being in that situation, I’ve been taking (i.e., “controlling) the left lane from the moment I enter the road, so I don’t have to worry about getting over later.
This means that for a distance of less than 1/4 of a mile, any cars traveling behind me in the left lane either have to slow down to my speed, or move into the right lane to pass me. This should NOT be a big deal.
As I biked this stretch in the left lane last Friday, some jerk drove up right next to me, halfway in the left lane and halfway in the right, rolled down his window, and yelled at me to, “Get over to the side!”
I honked my awesome horn and yelled, “I’m turning left up here; this is where I need to ride,” while motioning with my arm for him to move the heck over.
The ignorant bleepity bleep continued driving half in one lane and half in the other, providing the further helpful suggestion that I should be riding in the middle turning lane.
Dude! You had been driving down the road half in one lane and half in another for how long? You created more confusion and danger than I ever possibly could have, while I was within my rights and operating my bike legally and SAFELY on the road!
The combination of anger at the jerk driver and fear from the dangerous situation that HE created left the adrenaline surging through my body. I made it through the intersection and a bit further, body shaking the whole way, but I eventually had to pull over to the side because I was so worked up, I couldn’t breath.
I’m not gonna lie, if I had the opportunity to punch the guy, I might have done it. And then we could have talked like nice, civilized adults.