Wednesday, December 16

Crappy Drivers: The Intersection Passers

Okay, here's a scenario for you. Speed limit's like 20, intersection's about 50 meters ahead, I'm going to be taking a left at the stop sign. I'm on my bicycle, cruising about 15-17MPH. I hear a car approaching from behind. At our current speeds, it is impossible for the car to pass me and get a safe distance to pull back in to the lane before reaching the stop sign. I don't know what they are expecting here. Do they want me to pull over, stop, let them pass, then continue? WRONG! I just continue going along normally towards the intersection and pull to the left, rightfully claiming my lane as I approach the intersection. Claiming the lane at an intersection if you are not turning right is not only your right in New Hampshire, it is your duty.

This forces them to either get in line behind me, which would mean conceding defeat to a 15mph cyclist, the ultimate humiliation, or trying to get around me. If they try to accelerate around me with 50 feet left to the stop sign, I just hammer it out and beat or tie them to the line. Sorry pal, I'm ahead of you. This causes them to be next to me, in the oncoming traffic lane, trying to enter the intersection. If anyone else is trying to turn on to our street, then this guy is just sitting there, in oncoming traffic, blocking the way. There's no need for the air horn here, they know they have lost. Either way, I lay an epic track stand right in their face, and proceed through the intersection as traffic allows.

On a related note, there's also those times where, as a cyclist, you see that there is a red light up ahead. If you're downtown, the speed limit is only 15 or 20 depending on the road, so cyclists can keep up with traffic without any problem anyway. If I see a red light, I'll start coasting. I know the exact patterns and lengths and triggers of all the lights, depending on which lanes have cars and such. Ideally, I'm timing it so that the light turns green right as I roll up to the line. This actually makes traffic smoother, as there is no stop and re-acceleration. This is of even greater benefit to the cars than it is to myself.

But I gotta tell you, seeing a cyclist or two taking up the whole the lane and coasting at 6-8 miles per hour gets some people really, I mean really pissed off. Sometimes they blow around you at 25 miles an hour or more (way too fast for downtown). Congratulations Pinprick, you made it to... a red light! I once had a guy in a minivan through a tantrum and peel out, full squealing tires and everything, when the light finally turned green. Sorry dude, I just can't take you seriously in your wood-paneled Caravan.

Anyway, I guess these are a couple little things I do to intentionally be obnoxious, or when I am feeling sanctimonious. I'm not really defending them, and I hope someone comments to tell me off.

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