Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Riding Past Traffic Yesterday...

Passing car after car. My bike wagon full of groceries. What a great feeling. I start to head downhill where Soquel splits into Capitola Rd, there's a Lexus in the bike lane, trying to merge to the right. I ring my bell but I don't think he hears me. The weight of the wagon working with gravity makes me break hard, I move real close to the Lexus and politely tap on the trunk.

The guy turns around and gestures that he can't move. If I could speak to him face to face, I'd point out that this is clearly the bike lane and that the right lane for cars is still at least 15 feet ahead. But there's engine noise, steel (or whatever metal they make cars out of), and glass between us; there's really not much I can do other than wait for the light to turn green or for him to get back in the car lane. The light turns green and he pulls forward. I pass him half expecting to hear some indignant swearing but nothing. I continue riding home...

Upon reflection, this is a relatively common occurrence. Cars want to get a head start in making a right turn OR think they can squeeze their way past but get stuck. They don't see bicycles in the bike lane so they figure it's okay. Then I come out of nowhere, honking my horn or ringing my bell (depending on which bike I'm riding) - If they can, the driver usually moves back into the adjacent lane and I ride past, sometimes giving them a dirty look. Can you relate?

1 comment:

Fritz said...

In California, cars are permitted in the bike lane for right turns within 200 feet of the intersection. If the Lexus driver was more than 200 feet from the intersection he was breaking the law, otherwise he was just fine, even if he is momentarily blocking other traffic (i.e. you).