Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pet Peeve Regarding Motorists Number 1

Throughout my time being carfree there is one nagging behavior that keeps popping up among motorists that really annoys me. The complete disregard certain drivers (assholes) display for a cyclist waiting at an intersection. Here I am in these situations trying to obey traffic laws and be a good little cyclist when some asshole acts like an asshole. Maybe assholes just don't view people on bikes as real people, and therefore they can ignore and marginalize us. We are less then them, we are... sub-asshole. For more on the subject of assholes, cars, and the cyclists they hate, you should read this blog post from the Boston Biker Blog, explaining how to deal with assholes.

Over and over again while I wait patiently at intersections, a vehicle will come from behind and not stop after me, but pass and stop in front of me at an intersection. It happened again yesterday and seems to happen regardless of whether I have taken the lane or am waiting behind another vehicle.

At the intersection of Scott and Toole, I stopped behind an SUV turning left, about ten seconds later a Chevy truck pulled up and rather than acknowledge me, nudged in behind the SUV. When I waved at the driver to get his attention and using my hands to explain, not the middle finger, that I was there before him, he just looked at me and shook his head in apparent disgust. At which point, when the SUV got an opening to go, I quickly moved forward to block the asshole from moving forward.

At the same spot a month back I was the only one at the intersection trying to take a left but cross traffic was to heavy to find an opening when an Eclipse pulled up, passed me, and without stopping peeled-out into traffic. Of course I learned a valuable lesson then... Eclipse are officially cool again now that I know they can peel-out.

These incidents seem to happen mostly at stop signs. But still, in the 6 months I've been carfree, this has happened 6 or 7 times. Maybe I need something like the clothing below to fend off assholes:


Mark Kirschner said...

Are you "hugging" the shoulder/lane line? If so, maybe it's time to start taking the lane at stops. Get yourself smack-dab in the middle. A driver wants to slip by you, s/he'll have to cross the lane.

Richard said...

I always get in the center of lanes at intersections. Not doing so puts you in danger of being left hooked (UK) or right hooked (US).

Here in London and other places, there's bike boxes at the front of waiting traffic, but cars still encroach. When this happens, I politely round them and put my back tyre inches from their front bumper while waiting. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and reminds them that they don't belong in the box. I know. I'm a small and petty person. ;-)

Matthew Helfant said...

I have had the same types of experiences as a pedestrian on suburban "superblocks". Many who drive in these types of built environments look at you like you are crazy if you are walking on a superblock without sidewalks. this is especially true of people who drive SUV's for some reason. There is a lot of work to be done to retrofit these types of neighborhoods and to change people's attitudes.

Keri said...

I don't think this has happened to me once I'm stopped, but it happens too often as I'm approaching a stop sign.

I had a van pass me as I was barely 2 car lengths from stopped traffic at a red light. He ended up stopped beside me. I was so incensed that I did go 'round and squeeze between him and the car in front. Just glared back at him. Probably not advisable, but sometimes I get all Irish and forget I'm a small female.

CarFree Stupidity said...

Mark... I am taking the lane. I always try and take the lane at an intersection unless the bike lane extends all the way to the crosswalk, which I really don't like because I feel trapped in the bike lane at an intersection and that if you get out of it your doing something wrong and drivers get pissed, generally.

Kerri... that is another behavior that really pisses me off. I get the sense that sometimes drivers actually speed up toward the intersection to get out in front of you. One time I had a driver do that as I was taking the lane and putting out my hand to signal a left turn... he just went by me on my left and we reached the intersection at the same time. He then tried to perform a rolling stop.

Keri said...

Yea, isn't it funny how that trick often involves the motorist running/rolling the stop sign. But we're the scofflaws.

Hey, I heard Missoula didn't have stop signs for the longest time. People knew what to do at intersections — yield. But they had to start installing them because Americans from other states came in and caused crashes because they'd been dumbed down by over-use of stop signs all over the rest of the country.

Nadine said...

I was biking in to work yesterday and had a guy use the bus lane to cut me off at a red light. As I was glaring at the back of his head, I realized he was a co-worker...and just continued glaring. :)
Meanwhile, he got to the parking garage about one second before I passed it. Unfortunately I didn't see him all day; otherwise he might've gotten an earful.

Doug said...

We live in a car culture and share the roads with people that have no clue about bikes being used as transportation. I don't go out on the roads with an expectation that I'm going to be accepted by every other user on the road. I don't look at those that are ignorant of other users' rights as assholes. I accept the fact they have yet to learn how to share the road. The mere fact that I am out there, on my bicycle following the rules of the road and exerting my right to use the road, helps to bring more awareness to others that we can all use the road together.

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