View Full Version : crazy van and tiny dogs (NE Broadway and Grand)

11-10-2006, 02:45 PM
when i was a child, i always had my mom read me a book called "Benny's Bad Day." It was about this bear who just had everything go wrong (i.e. - dropping his breakfast on the floor...etc...).

well yesterday day felt sorta like that....just with some obscenities involved.
ugh...i was so fed up by the time i got home.

normally, i'm back from work by 4pm. therefore, i usually beat any sort of rush hour traffic....especially with the route i take. yesterday was a bit different, i decided to ride straight from work to my friend kristy's shop so she could cut my hair. she works on MLK.

i was riding north on 47th during part of the ride in NE. when i was at a light (can't remember the cross street), i saw a middle-aged/older, fat, white guy with white hair in a black 4-door. he was facing toward me waiting to take a right (my left). he was completely covering the bike lane. in fact, i didn't even NOTICE the bike lane because his car totally blocked it and because another car next to him (who was actually in their lane) wanted to take that same right hand turn and peeled out super fast in order to turn AROUND the older guy in the black car. confusing huh? avec les chauffeurs de voiture...c'est la vie.
anways, when the light turned green, i proceeded through the intersection. i waited until i had a clear shot to his window and said (quite friendly mind you), "stay out of the bike lane!" he whipped his head back (while driving) and i could hear/see him accelerate and turn the next corner to double back for me. as luck would have it, i ended up seeing him snooping around the back streets as i was cutting over to broadway...but i made sure i snuck away. i didn't feel like having to deal with more discussions between ignorant drivers and myself.

after dealing with a few minor "douchebag moves" from drivers earlier in the ride, i came upon the worst one of the evening:
like most of us know, bikelanes can be a deathwish for us. especially considering most drivers don't even have a clue to what the laws are regarding them, they never check over their right shoulder when taking a right hand turn, could care less if they ride/park in the lane, and don't even dare expect them to yield to you going straight.
as i was riding through NE (headed west on broadway), i was actually observing how some of the blocks have bike lanes spaced futher away from the parked vehicles (compared to downtown). i thought: hey, at least that gives me a few extra inches to swerve around a door.
as i rode with traffic, it was the typical back and forth of watching frustrated rush hour drivers gun it to the next light, only to have me pass them up on their right. there was one unique vehicle in particular. this old, ugly conversion van with tinted windows. i think it may have been off-white, with some tan/brown highlights...i'm not sure. all i know is that had multiple tiny yippy dogs in the front passenger seat. i found it kind of humorous, the whole van. anways, i had easy ridden next to and back and forth by this van for a few lights. the driver easily saw me multiple times.

as i was approaching to go through a light at the intersection of broadway and grand, i see the van starting to slow down ahead of me (no signal). then it speeds up, then slows down. you know: one of those things where you can tell the driver is trying to figure out if they should yield to you or cut you off. i maintain my direction as the van quickly pulls a sharp right (still no signal). i was able to slam my breaks on and take the right as well. the van was about 6 inches away from my front tire. as i turned i yelled "WHAT THE F*CK!" fairly loud, the van started to slow down (it appeared as if it was gonna stop to see if i was okay). as i dismounted my bike, the van took off. i hesitated a few seconds to collect my thoughts and then took off up MLK in order to get the rest of the license plate. all i knew was that it was an Oregon pland started with a "V". i wish i hadn't hesitated, i probably could have caught 'em 1 or 2 lights down the road. i sprinted up to alberta, but lost 'em. i at least like to look the driver in the eye after that sort of thing. make a mental note for possible future interactions.

on my way home i dealt with more minor stuff from angry rush hour drivers...and for some reason some older guy in a pick up truck decided to BLARE his horn as he road by me around SE 35th and Stark. there was no traffic coming from the other direction, i was riding off to the right, he had PLENTY of room to go around me. it was one of those "how DARE you ride that THING in the ROAD!" kind of horn honking. ugh. by the time i got home, my knees were shaking.... it was one of those days where you think: holy crap theres too many cars on the road.
i try to remind myself i have it good here in pdx (in comparison to other places)...and i'll always be thankful for that. it was just a bad day. as if the negativity of all those auto-commuters were rubbing off on me. we all know they're bitter about our freedom.

i'll be sure to keep waving to the 205 traffic every time i cross over the overpass during rush hour.

11-13-2006, 04:46 PM
Ugh, sounds like you had a really bad day.

I can't decide if it's the weather or the fact that most people go to work in the dark and go home from work in the dark. Makes 'em grumpy.

Keep smiling and riding, man. At least you'll be in way better shape and live longer, provided they don't run you down! :)