Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hating on bikers

Once every few months, some less-enlightened motorist gets frustrated by my presence on his (it's almost always a man) for-cars-only street and decides to express his frustration with an exhibition of biker-unfriendly driving.

Like this morning.

I was riding north on Langley Road towards Beacon. The macadam is not pristine on Langley, especially towards the curb. (Langley is scheduled for resurfacing this summer.) So I was riding near the center of the lane. I was going about 27 mph, which is either a little under or over the posted limit. (I can't recall if it's 25 mph or 30 mph on the stretch in question.)

A guy in a black Toyota SUV rides up behind me and starts honking excitedly. When I didn't immediately surrender unto him his birthright, he pulled over the yellow lines, passed uncomfortably close to me, and cut back in front of me, honking all the way.

Not surprisingly, he cut across Chase, Herrick, and Braeland to Parker St. (He was in a hurry. Why put up with Newton Centre congestion when you can bomb through residential streets?)

When I caught up to him at Parker, he screamed at me for riding my bike in the road.

People with such a distorted understanding of the rules of the road -- Massachusetts Law allows bikes on the roadway and actually forbids them on most sidewalks -- and such an unfettered willingness to enforce their misunderstanding of the law with multi-ton vehicles should not be allowed to drive.

Update: I have notified the Newton Police Department and the Registry of Motor Vehicles about this guy's conduct. I'm not looking for jail time, just for somebody to give him a call or make a visit and encourage him to share.


Mike said...

Not that it matters, but isn't Chase after Braeland (so he really just bombed through one residential intersection).

Will said...

In my view, you are a car. You take the same space as a car, and you are only passed as a car would be passed. The only exception would be the highway. However, I understand you, Sean, are able to maintain a steady 55 mph for some time, for which I applaud you.

Eric said...

Sean, I share your frustration with drivers in Newton, you should see them try as hard as they can NOT to yield to the fire engine.

Two weeks ago I watched a guy race ahead of me down Middlesex Rd, near the Chestnut Hill T stop and the Post Office, and rather than yield and let the engine pass, he barreled through a red light at the crosswalk for the Brimmer and May school. Actually, he recklessness my have saved him from the beating my entire engine crew wanted to give him. Some people are just stupid.

Charlie D. said...

I have run into such folks a few time while bicycling myself.

A gentleman in a pickup truck on Mt Auburn St in Watertown pulled up beside me at an intersection to make a right turn (I was in the center lane) and said "Get on the sidewalk!". I did not have time to respond.

An SUV full of young guys (college aged perhaps) went bombing by me on Beacon St in Back Bay in the middle lane (I had taken the right lane) while honking and yelling at me to get over. Apparently they had no concept of a "door zone".

It's a jungle out there sometimes, and ignorant and rude motorists certainly don't make it any more pleasant. Stay strong and hold your ground. Soon enough people will realize how smart and fun bicycling really is. We'll be the ones laughing when gas gets up to $8 a gallon!

jwardell said...

Sure, he should not have been so arrogant. But holding up traffic, you were still the cause of the road rage, much in the same way that someone driving the left lane at "a little under or over the posted limit" causes rage (and congestion, and pollution, and accidents). It's one thing if you were abou;to make a left turn, or passing some parked car or obstruction. But all to often I see bikers that can very easily be further right to allow easier passing and they make no effort to do so. Then of course they blow through red lights, cut between traffic. And you think it's the car drivers that think they own the road? It's the bikers that choose which rules they do and don't want to follow. Regardless of your mode of transportation, please keep right!

Sean Roche said...

In response to jwardell, let me be clear: whenever I am biking slower or no faster than traffic, I stay as far to the right as is safe and prudent. It doesn't make my ride more enjoyable to needlessly hold up car traffic, so I don't.

In this case, I was out near the center of the lane because of the pot-holed conditions on the right of the lane.

I do marvel, however, at your suggestion that going at or near the speed limit on a two-lane local road is "holding up traffic" and a justification for road rage. On that one, we're going to have to disagree.

theboy said...

in the same way that someone driving the left lane at "a little under or over the posted limit" causes rage (and congestion, and pollution, and accidents). . . It's the bikers that choose which rules they do and don't want to follow.

It's not just okay for cars to break the law by exceeding the speed limit. In fact cars should bread the law? That's following the "rules." Cyclists avoiding obstacles are not following the rules.

Car-addled or just a nut?