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Learning from a road rage interaction

Posted by on July 7th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

This tricky traffic situation led to
an interesting exchange.
(Photo © J. Maus)

For the second time in about as many months, I got into an interaction with someone driving a car while riding home from work. But unlike last time — when my middle finger contributed to a heated argument and the man in the car sped away — last night something amazing happened.

Here’s what went down…

I was riding west on Skidmore during the height of the evening rush hour, just having rode past several cars backed up at a red light on N. Vancouver. This section of Skidmore has one lane of travel and a parking lane in each direction. I was riding along in the travel lane so as to avoid any door zone hazard and to discourage anyone from trying to squeeze around me (see photo above).

“I almost hit you man, you’ve gotta’ get over. Why don’t you get over?! I could have run you over!”

As the cars from Vancouver Avenue caught up and began to pass and I heard someone yelling, “You gotta yield man! Yield! Yield! Get over!” and I watched a car pass with a man’s left hand outstretched from the driver’s side window pointing in a “get over” motion.

I immediately reacted because I felt like I had every reason to be where I was and I was not riding illegally. I didn’t react with anger or a middle finger (he didn’t pass me dangerously like the guy did back in April). I just nodded, smiled, yelled (nothing of substance), and waved my arms back at him. My objective was simply to make him aware that I heard him and that I would not be intimidated.

As I watched him drive away he suddenly swerved into the parking lane and stopped. ‘Great,’ I thought, now we’ll get a chance to talk about this face-to-face.

“I almost hit you man, you’ve gotta’ get over. Why don’t you get over?! I could have run you over!” he said repeatedly. I was smiling and nodding as I took off my glasses and helmet to make myself more human. Unlike the guy in April, this guy was not threatening me. Rather, he seemed to be expressing a sincere fear of hitting me and he decided it was my fault he felt that way.

“I hear you, but what about me?” I replied. “I was just riding trying to ride safely!” I tried as best I could to explain to him that I have the right to ride in the road to avoid a dooring hazard and that I felt it was safer to ride in the lane than to swerve in and and out of gaps in the parking lane.

For several moments, we went back and forth trying to explain to each other why we behaved like we did. For both of us, fear was the main motivator.

Then, the man introduced another thing into the equation. Race.

“I grew up riding on these streets… I rode all over this neighborhood… but I never rode out in the lane like that. Then you guys [referring to white people I presumed, given that he was black] move up in here and you start riding in the road.”

As we continued to go back and forth, he suddenly put out his hand and said, “By the way man, my name is Jeff.” After we shook hands we both laughed and smiled a bit. We had both made our feelings known and we were ready to move on.

After he pulled away, my mind buzzed from the exchange. In just a few short minutes, I think we gained a much better understanding of each other, and more importantly, of the “communities” both of us represented.

The interaction made me think about how I’ve been riding on these types of streets. Yes, I feel taking the lane is necessary, but I also could stand to move over just a bit more to let cars pass when there’s room. It was also helpful for me to hear first-hand something I have known for years — that biking and gentrification are complex and intertwined issues in North and Northeast Portland.

Our roads and the laws that govern them are not perfect — especially as they pertain to traveling by bike. As I try to make the best out of the situation on my daily rides, this interaction will help me remember the perspective from the other side of the windshield. As for Jeff, I hope he realizes that the people on bikes he passes by everyday are just people; trying to survive and get home safely just like he is.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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bahueh
Guest
bahueh

umm..ya..not exactly sure I’d call what you described as “road rage”….

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

i hear you bahueh, I couldn’t think of a good title and/or a name for the type of interaction. It seemed to start as a typical road rage situation with someone being angry and yelling… but by the time we met face-to-face he wasn’t ‘raging’ at all.

as for the law, it’s just not clear what “impeding traffic” is (remember the Ainsworth Incident?). To me, the “reasonable flow of traffic” on a small street like this is for people in cars to slow down and wait a few seconds until they have room to pass. Until the law is made more clear, this situation will continue to be problematic in my mind. but really, a full discussion about this law and this traffic situation would be better suited to a separate post. thanks for the comments.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

oh ya, and Maus…center lane only when you can do so without impeding traffic…if not, its as far to the right with you as “possible”. that’s the law man…

Justin S
Guest
Justin S

Actually it’s “far right as practicable” which means something very different.

Julie
Guest

Thanks Jonathan. I appreciate your dedication to creating better understanding among the diverse riding/non-riding communities. This story shows the complexity of not just car v. bike, but also gentrification and race. Good reminder that it’s easy to see the issue in terms of simple polarization, but it’s a lot more complex and worth the effort to communicate.

The Biking Viking
Guest
The Biking Viking

There is certainly an art between avoiding the door hazard and allowing space for cars to go around. I probably tend to favor the latter, though I certainly don’t blame anyone who feels more comfortable in the middle of the lane.

But I like the discussion that took place in this instance. It’s not very often that you meet a commuter willing to pause and discuss the minutia of bike right-of-way.

Kronda
Guest

Actually bahueh, sometimes ‘as far to the right as practicable’ (not possible–there’s a difference) means being in the center of the lane. The law allows for avoiding dangers to the right and the door zone is certainly a real danger.

http://bikeportland.org/resources/bicyclelaws/#814430)

When I’m in these situations, I happily will move over to the parking lane to let specific cars pass when there’s enough room. Most of the time, drivers know what I’m doing, and pass safely, at which time I signal and move back out. This strategy keeps the peace 95% of the time and gets everyone where they’re going in one piece.

Esther
Guest
Esther

Jonathan, I had a similar experience last week on NE Couch.
On NE Couch, I had been playing leapfrog with a #19, and eventually passed it around 10th. As it caught up to me at 6th, I continued to stay in the car lane, instead of moving to the bike lane that begins at 6th. The bus driver honked aggressively several times behind me. After Grand I moved into the bike lane and we both stopped at a red light at MLK.

The driver inched up to where I was waiting behind the crosswalk, and opened the door, saying sarcastically/passive-aggressively “Aren’t you supposed to be in the bike lane when there is one?”

I explained that I don’t ride in the bike lane between 6th and Grand because I have seen numerous close calls there, gesturing with my hands to show how a car cuts off a bicyclist moving forward in the bike lane. I explained that almost every time I have gone through that intersection cars have turned right directly in front of me because the bike lane only began in that block and drivers don’t expect bikes to suddenly be passing on the right.

I half-expected her to maintain her right to the vehicle lane, but she nodded thoughtfully and said, “Oh, ok.” I said “Have a great day!” and I felt pretty satisfied that my point of view made sense to a driver, and that she had gotten a different perspective on a route she may have to drive many times in future.

Now, I wish I had a better way to communicate with the bike jerks who pass without ringing on the super tight lane on Interstate…an entire club ride passed me yesterday, one or two at a time, while I was trying to dodge those darn stormwater grates. I rang my bell and shouted but they were going too fast (and it was too hot) for me to even try to catch up and have any interaction with them… one guy who stopped at a light with me commiserated “I hate that too!”

peejay
Guest
peejay

It’s nearly impossible to have a rational discussion like that when you’re out on the street using different modes. Jonathan, you got lucky.

I do find it possible to have this kind of talk — with positive results — in other situations, like over lunch at work, or in a restaurant, when both people are already on even footing. A conversation between somebody in an automobile and anybody else is pretty hard — what with the fact that they are effectively a disembodied head to somebody outside their car, and to them, everyone is little more real than if they were on TV (with the ultimate mute button of rolling the window up).

I suppose helmets don’t help, either, as you say. Tell that to the helmet extremists!

are
Guest

seconding kronda. 814.430 permits a cyclist to move left to avoid a hazard. a motorist overtaking too close is a hazard that can be avoided by asserting the lane.

also, when i read the header i assumed jonathan was referring back to the previous incident as “rage,” from which he “learned.”

Velophile in Exile
Guest
Velophile in Exile

BAHUEH (#2) IS WRONG ABOUT THE LAW (AGAIN). See Subsection (2)(c):

814.430 Improper use of lanes; exceptions; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of improper use of lanes by a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions and the person does not ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

(2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:

(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction.

(b) When preparing to execute a left turn.

(c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side. Nothing in this paragraph excuses the operator of a bicycle from the requirements under ORS 811.425 or from the penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.

(d) When operating within a city as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of a roadway that is designated to allow traffic to move in only one direction along the roadway. A bicycle that is operated under this paragraph is subject to the same requirements and exceptions when operating along the left curb or edge as are applicable when a bicycle is operating along the right curb or edge of the roadway.

(e) When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

(f) When operating on a bicycle lane or bicycle path.

(3) The offense described in this section, improper use of lanes by a bicycle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §701; 1985 c.16 §339]

Improper use of lanes is the sole source of law in the traffic code for addressing not riding on the right. The Impeding rule doesn’t say anything about riding to the right and applies specifically to motor vehicles:

811.130 Impeding traffic; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of impeding traffic if the person drives a motor vehicle or a combination of motor vehicles in a manner that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

(2) A person is not in violation of the offense described under this section if the person is proceeding in a manner needed for safe operation.

(3) Proceeding in a manner needed for safe operation includes but is not necessarily limited to:

(a) Momentarily stopping to allow oncoming traffic to pass before making a right-hand or left-hand turn.

(b) Momentarily stopping in preparation of, or moving at an extremely slow pace while, negotiating an exit from the road.

(4) A person is not in violation of the offense described under this section if the person is proceeding as part of a funeral procession under the direction of a funeral escort vehicle or a funeral lead vehicle.

(5) The offense described in this section, impeding traffic, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §569; 1985 c.16 §288; 1989 c.433 §1; 1991 c.482 §18; 1995 c.383 §45]

As usual, that anti-bike agenda just can’t stretch far enough to deal with the facts. Stick to your day job dude, understanding the traffic code requires reading comprehension skills.

browse
Guest
browse

I aspire to be calm and collected during confrontations like this. I don’t always succeed, but I try. Well done!

trail user
Guest
trail user

If Jeff displayed the same amount of anger as the previous road rager(who I assume was white), black Jeff could possibly end up in jail. Obama discussed angry black men in his books — in that an angry black man is deathly frightening to white people. I’m sure Jeff was about to tear your head off.

Eugene Bicyclist
Guest

Interesting post. Yeah, I give the guy in the car credit for at least 1) trying to just tell you what he thinks is the problem without being rude, 2) being willing to discuss it reasonably and 3) actually taking the time to stop and talk.
I mean how often does that happen?
But it’s a sucky situation for a cyclist: a fairly busy street with 30 mph+ traffic on the left and a line of parked cars on the right.
And, frankly, I’d rather have a guy in a car yell at me than find myself plowing into a door.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

JM, I think your’re giving too much credit to the drivers mistaken opinion in this interaction.

He’s wrong… tell him so. I agree, tell him he’s wrong nicely, but cycling behavior based in law and best practices shouldn’t be given equal weight to made up nonsense from childhood memories.

There is no reason to entertain incorrect ideas about what your and a driver’s responsibilities are.

As much as I think the efforts of the VC people are misdirected, Commute Orlando is right about this:

“The responsibility for safe passing is unequivocally on the overtaking driver and it always has been! There is no right of speed or right to pass. If you can’t pass safely, you may not pass. Period.”

http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2010/07/07/passing-into-oncoming-traffic/

alice's adventures
Guest

“If you are going to take up a whole lane go the speed of traffic!”

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a disgruntled driver after she swerved (very fast and aggressively) around me after we came out of a one-lane construction zone near the Lloyd Center. As timing would have it, she sped up, then screeched to a stop at the red light several feet ahead of us. I calmly road up beside her and asked “What her problem was?”
Not the most polite way to start things off, but I was trying my hardest not to let my anger get the best of me.
She responded that I was taking up the whole lane and going too slow. I responded that bikes have a right to the lane under hazardous conditions, such as the bottleneck we just passed.
I quickly could tell that nothing productive could be further discussed with this young lady so I backed off, told her to have a good day, and hoped I was a good example of a calm and communicative cyclist.

Didn’t end as well as your exchange, but I hope I can improve my future discussions with drivers as I am sure more situations like this will occur.

Red Five
Guest

“you people”…wow the race card always get pulled. It sucks to have “whitey” move into an area and bring up those property values.

JAT in Seattle
Guest
JAT in Seattle

Stay on Target!

Chris
Guest
Chris

In a couple of cases (a fender bender and a bike/car interaction) one of the first things I have done is introduce myself. Both times I was amazed how quickly the situation de-escalate. Once was pretty funny, guy came out of his car fuming! I said nothing, waited for him to cool down, and stuck out my hand and said “Hey, I’m Chris.” Kind of caught him off guard and we worked it out no problem. Makes you both real people instead of the guy you hit/got hit by, etc. Good lesson.

meteorite
Guest
meteorite

Simple courtesy goes a long way toward greater understanding and safety for all road users. Thanks, Jonathan for making the effort by engaging this motorist and for encouraging others.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

#10…”possible”, “practical”..whatever. none of the law you posted changes anything I said…speaking of reading comprehension skills.

anti-bike agenda? what are you talking about? I’ve been riding well over 15 years, commuting daily, and racing as a Cat. 3 on the road for the past 6. I’m more “anti-stupidity on a bike” focused..maybe you fall into that crowd, I don’t know.

good on ya for trying to make up facts though…well done.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

just to be clear (I have time on my hands) seems like JM was in a situation were perceptions simply differ…he felt he was obeying the law to best of his ability while trying to keep safe….the driver felt he was trying to keep JM safe but felt JM could have been acting/riding differently. I agree the law isn’t always clear in certain matters as to what “practical” is…and I’m even more certain the vast majority of drivers don’t even know what the law is in these matters.
glad it worked out for the best and that some meaningful dialogue was exchanged…even if it degraded into race based profiling and stereotyping (teh guy didn’t even know JM lived in the area..he just assumed) aside from the traffic interaction at hand.

Linda
Guest
Linda

Has anyone seen this? Interested to hear what people think. Found it on Oregonlive.

http://commuteorlando.com/ontheroad/animations/narrowlane/narrowlane.html

KYouell
Guest

I loved that. Now I have something to point to as a justification for what feels right; I’m willing to pull over (and pause) to let cars pass unless an intersection is coming up. I won’t give up the lane then.

spencer
Guest
spencer

Ester-
as a “bike jerk” on the super tight lane on interstate i can only say that you don’t need a bell to know what is behind you. check your blindspots, behind you, and cross street traffic as much as possible. you dont honk at cars before you pass them do you????? its polite to ring a bell, but a bell is not an accessory needed on most race bikes. i try to say on the left but most of the i’m traveling so much faster than the rider that they dont here it, or they are startled because already there next to them by the time the statement registers.

you can ride over every grate on interstate, in fact, its far safer than getting sideswiped by the evening rush hour commute.

i’m a racer, commuter, and car driver so lets not polarize the issue any more, just be aware of your surroundings during every trip out on the mean streets of PDX.
cheers

david....no! the other one
Guest
david....no! the other one

How about,”Learning from a, Probable Road-Rage Interaction”

Kelly
Guest

Thanks for bringing up the race point Jeff made because it is absolutely valid (esp. with Portland’s whiteness/gentrification issues which are more complex than my handful of sentences are going to address). I see the two comments who address Jeff’s/Jonathan’s race points are dismissing them as having any bearing on an interaction (one rather nastily dismissing it) but Jonathan, I would love to see any of your further thoughts on this here at your site!

This is an encouraging driver/biker interaction to read about and I’m glad things went this way this time.

NE
Guest
NE

@16 Red Five, neighborhoods change. Pretty sure that area started with “whitey”. And for what it is worth, I got the same line right after I was right-hooked a few months ago, no signal, moments after I was passed. No excuse for not paying attention, no matter the color of your skin.

Jerry_W
Guest
Jerry_W

Good for you Jonathan, I’m glad your conversation was civil. I ride with full respect for drivers and myself. I give drivers every bit of road I can safely can. I wave thanks when drivers are courteous, and I’ve had excellent results. This is not a war, it’s community.

TonyT
Guest
TonyT

Spencer,

Yes, Esther should be aware of her surroundings, as it appears she is from the story she told, but she shouldn’t have to ride over every storm grate on Interstate to make your life easier.

Like you, I too find myself passing a lot of riders, and there’s really no reason why you can’t back off a bit and wait for a break in traffic so you give the person you’re passing some mannerly distance.

Manners people, manners.

KRhea
Guest
KRhea

I don’t think the guy meant “you people” in terms of you “white people”. I think he meant “you people” directed at the incredible number of what he see’s as “serious/commuter” cyclists now in that area of town.
Had he meant something with a racial overtone I would bet the entire exchange would of been a “bit” different.

We had a “you people” incident a few days ago while riding outside the metro area. When the words “you people” were uttered they came from a middle aged white guy and his wife who are bothered by the ever increasing number of cyclists they encounter on “their” country roads. I was the lone black face in that group and I’m sure they were not referring to me directly but to us as a group.

Just a thought.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

I think by “you people” he meant “affluent and feeling entitled” not white.

KRhea
Guest
KRhea

“SkidMark”

Didn’t think of that, but could easily meant that as well.

Marcus Griffith
Guest
Marcus Griffith

Why speculate about what another person meant by a phrase? Ask. Or move on.

There are numerous motorists who feel “obligated” to point out when a cyclist is in harms way on the road.

trail user
Guest
trail user

Headphones allow me to tune out everyone on the road. Goofy big smile, thumbs up, everyone’s happy.

Paul Tay
Guest
Paul Tay

Next time, try movin’ toward the left, and allow da cagjaas to pass on da right. Think about where da cagjaaa sittin’. Make it easy for everyone to play safe.

But, ya did good. Me, I would have just shouted Merry Christmas and left da scene.

pat h
Guest
pat h

What a nice civil discussion both in the original article and in the comments. Seriously.

Jim F
Guest
Jim F

Speaking of race and traffic, why do black people always walk in the middle of the street even when there is a perfectly good sidewalk? It doesn’t bother me – I just find it interesting.

Personally, I never ride on a street where doing so will impede traffic. Doesn’t matter to me what the law says. I just find it rude. It bothers me when I am driving a car so I don’t do it to others when I am on the bike. There is always another way. But to each his own.

pat h
Guest
pat h

I now retract my previous comment(@ Jim F, #34). I hope he is being sarcastic.

Richard S
Guest
Richard S

I had the exact same encounter with the same gentleman on Tuesday. It seems he was taking it upon himself to try to educate us commuters on his view of the rules of the road.

I imagine, given the results, it must have been pretty frustrating for him.

My situation was the same an JM’s. I was taking the lane because I thought it unsafe to do otherwise.

Kronda
Guest

@Spencer (22)

Your statement is so glaringly inconsiderate, I don’t know where to begin. Your comment reeks of someone who is so privileged, you just expect everyone to move out of your way.

TonyT made a good start and I would add that whatever mode you’re in, it is the obligation of the overtaking vehicle to pass SAFELY.

“you dont honk at cars before you pass them do you?????”

No. But cars also do not share one lane of traffic between them and neither should cyclists.

“…most of the i’m traveling so much faster than the rider that they dont here it, or they are startled because already there next to them by the time the statement registers.”

You might be used to passing and being passed in tight quarters from racing, but the bike lane is not a road race. If you’re close enough that the person you are passing is startled, then you are too close. If you move into the adjacent lane like you are supposed to then there’s no need to say ‘on your left’ because you’ll be in your own lane of travel. Problem solved for both parties.

“i’m a racer, commuter, and car driver”

Sounds like you could make some improvements on being less in ‘racer’ mode when you’re commuting and giving a little more consideration to others.

pat h
Guest
pat h

@ Kronda (37), Re: #22

There is a big difference between expecting other cyclists not to suddenly swerve and expecting “everyone to move out of your way.”

trail user
Guest
trail user

#35

“why do black people always walk in the middle of the street even when there is a perfectly good sidewalk?”

Same reason cyclists ride in the middle of the street — to avoid hazards. Cyclists avoid doors, black people avoid being shot by trigger happy hoodlums/cops/everyone else frightened by blacks walking along poorly lit sidewalks. At least they can see cars rumbling up the road. Where’s ‘middle of the road guy’ to explain all this? Oh and to sell crack.

Seager
Guest

I had a similar thing happen to me just today, but it didn’t end nearly as well as yours did. 🙁 I did write it up though:

http://www.webikeeugene.org/index.php/2010/07/what-would-you-have-done-a-driver-threatens-my-life-on-e-19th-ave/

matthew vilhauer
Guest
matthew vilhauer

spencer-been listening to any of jonathan’s cycling comments on the radio lately? evidently not. in oregon as a cyclist passing other cyclists you are legally required to announce yourself or ring a bell when passing another cyclist. don’t ring angry… and don’t be a dick!

esther an kronda both have very valid points for us commuters to consider. everyday riding on the streets is not a race and as such simple things like consideration and respect for all road users would go a long way towards keeping everyone safe. you people. us people. every people…

Kronda
Guest

@pat h (39) Spencer’s response was to give Esther advice about riding over the grates.

To me that = hug-the-curb-no-matter-what-so-it’s-easier-for-me-to-pass = my-right-of-way-is-more-important-than-yours.

Which is crap.

Vance Longwell
Guest

You’re in clear violation of the law Mr. Maus. ‘That’ law says stay right, except if it’s unsafe, to paraphrase. What you, and your ilk, think is that you can just make up any imaginary hazard, and ride down the middle of the road, seriously inconveniencing often dozens of motorists; and yes, me too, ’cause I’m usually trying to pass some fool like this.

Some one opening a door into your travel lane is a hazard. Riding by empty parked cars isn’t. Just play this little game in front of a judge, I dare you.

‘Love talkin’ about your rights, don’t ya’ll? Except, half the time, you’re completely ignorant of what they are, and their scope. Besides, who cares about rights when you’re being a dick? Eff your rights man, you could have simply been, how do you call it, yeah, I think manners is the word: You could have been polite and just slowed down to avoid imaginary car doors, and stayed right. Like you gave a runny s**t about anybody on this Earth, other than your ‘rights’; and which you don’t even have.

Keep it up. This is bitch number one. Stop-sign-running, dicking up the sidewalk, these pale in comparison to the rage induced by some white, California, transplant, riding down the middle of the damn road on his two-wheeled, 50 lb., tank. The number one, principle, complaint I hear day in, and day out.

Thanks for makin’ it all work man. Way to be. Of course, you’ll never hear squat about it. Because it will be me that guy’s son pulls a pistol on, or throws a beer at, or hits me on purpose. It will be me because I’m poor and don’t get to choose when I’m out, which is usually all by myself, in the middle of the night. It will be me and not you, because I’m just an ordinary Joe on a bike, without City Hall, and a spendy free lawyer to call upon.

Just priceless. I’m gonna have to circulate this one.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Esther #7 and those responding to her comments…I’ll recount a recent experience of my own: Last week sometime, early afternoon on Fairmount Boulevard (most of your are probably familiar with the street…circles Council Crest…very popular with cyclists, walker, runners, etc.)

I’m 400′ feet from cresting the hill on the southwest side of the loop…traffic is very light…not a car or other person in sight…the view ahead and to the rear affords good vision quite some distance down the road in each direction, so I’m taking it easy at about 12-15 mph slightly to the left of the middle of the lane, before beginning the big, fast, descent.

Before I can really discern what it is….w-h-o-o-o-sh-h-h!!…some dude on a bike rushes past me….on the right. Vision on the road 300′ or more ahead was clear with no cars in sight…this person could have easily swung wide on my left side into the opposing lane. Dude offered absolutely no warning whatsoever that he was approaching.

Wasn’t a lance wannabe, but appeared to be one of the compulsive fitness, personal best types. Someone that should know better. This wasn’t a real big deal for me. He didn’t pass that close, but I figured, especially if you’re not going to call out, why not swing wide to the left where people would be more likely to expect someone to make a passing maneuver unannounced?

maus…nice that you kept your cool, and the driver kept his. Of course, if he really had wanted to do you harm, he’d probably just have cut you off, thrown something at you, etc., etc. Hmmm…now I’m wondering how this person responds when people, unlike yourself in this instance, do flip him off or swear at him when he calls out to them. Kind of think he would have handled it the same way as he did you.

John Lascurettes
Guest

@ Matthew Vilhauer

spencer-been listening to any of jonathan’s cycling comments on the radio lately? evidently not. in oregon as a cyclist passing other cyclists you are legally required to announce yourself or ring a bell when passing another cyclist.

No, Jonathan’s radio spot is misstating the law as debated in the comments in his blog post about such. There is no written requirement in the ORS about giving another cyclist an audible when passing – only that a cyclist must give an audible to a pedestrian when passing. There are times when a bicyclist can be considered as acting like a pedestrian (such as when on a sidewalk or a MUP), but when they are in the street or bike lane, they most certainly are not a pedestrian.

Still, it’s common courtesy to give an audible to a fellow cyclist and I always do, even if I’m not legally obligated to do so.

cip
Guest
cip

Hey, at least you got the nice introduction to N Pdx! Myself (an immigrant from Eastern Europe with a 0.000000000000000001% black population) was stopped at a light on Albina about 9 years ago, and a ’70 souped up blue something stops next to me, the boom-boom music making my kidneys tremble. Me, looking jittery over my shoulder. Green light, they speed off, and the teen African American yells at me: “welcome to No-Po white a**!”
Regarding biking, I always go on the sidewalk if the street is busy. Nobody walks in America anyway, so if I get a ticket every 4 years or so, it is worth my safety.

eric
Guest
eric

I got honked at by some old white folks in a PT loser yesterday, because apparently they felt I was in their way. I just waved, because if I went any further over i would have been picking weeds out of my drivetrain. There’s a large population of drives who can’t seem to figure out how to slow down, wait for an opportunity to pass, and then pass safely. I think it’s a driver training thing, in that most drivers in OR have none.

When I’m passing a slower cyclist in a bike lane, I try to wait for a break in the traffic, signal, and then take the lane for the duration of the pass. I don’t use a bell or my voice, because I’m in a separate lane. Conversely, when I’m riding in the interstate bike lane I usually stay pretty far left in the bike lane unless there’s a semi coming up.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

“A compassionate attitude opens our inner door, and as a result it is much easier to communicate with others. If there is too much self-centered attitude, then fear, doubt and suspicion come and as a result our inner door closes. Then it is very difficult to communicate with others.” – Dalai Lama

Marcus Griffith
Guest
Marcus Griffith

An interesting video by Savvy Cyclist stating that savvy cyclist don’t bike too far to the right.

http://commuteorlando.com/ontheroad/animations/narrowlane/narrowlane.html

Paul Tay
Guest
Paul Tay

#40, @Trailuser, nobody sells crack in the middle of the street. But, everybody knows cyclists smoke crack, in the middle of the street. Dat’s why cagjaaa need to leave us alone. We be craaaaaaaaaaaazeeee and smokin’ crack.