Enraging (yet common) bike lane encounter

This is a tame incident compared to many, but it was worth sharing. The (very old) man driving this SUV was clearly looking for somewhere to park and didn’t care about the bike lane. The driver had been hugging the bike lane even before the right-hand turn shown in the video, but that’s when things really started going wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwTEy3c5xmk

What would you have done in this situation? How should we address this in public policy? Certainly more bikes on the street helps. I’m curious what else.

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resopmok
resopmok
8 years ago

This is a medical condition known as “obliviouitis.” In this case, the driver did not realize you were there, because they were focused on finding a parking space instead of their job as a driver, monitoring traffic conditions. To answer your second question, eliminating on-street parking where there are bike lanes would be a good start. This would also open the space available, allowing for wide, and potentially separated infrastructure. Unfortunately, this isn’t a widely held position among transportation planners and policy makers.

MaxD
MaxD
8 years ago

Tell that guy that his blinkers are not operating.

PNP
PNP
8 years ago

It might be a bit much to call this enraging. Sure, it would have been nice if the driver was a bit more aware and–here’s a shocker–used a turn signal. But it’s clear from his behavior what he was trying to do.

Part of our awareness as cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists is reading the “body language” of vehicles and people around us. I’m glad you were aware enough to stay safe.

mh
mh
8 years ago
Reply to  PNP

And this is why I am terrified on behalf of kids-who-haven’t-driven on the road on bikes. Most of us have driven in somewhat safe cages for years, and have learned how to read intent – or recognize confusion.

Dan A
Dan A
8 years ago
Reply to  mh

This is why I’m terrified of drivers who don’t ride bikes.

soren
soren
8 years ago

“Part of our awareness as cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists is reading the “body language” of vehicles and people around us.”

Those who are a danger to other human beings are the ones that should be aware, not people walking or cycling. And any society that requires people walking or riding to read the “body of language “of people in dangerous multi-ton machines to stay safe is a very deeply flawed society.

In a situations like this I attempt to “mirror” the behavior by riding very close to the drivers-side window and issuing a very loud “ooooops”. The reactions to my “violation” of their personal vehicular space are often comical.

mh
mh
8 years ago
Reply to  soren

I haven’t grown those kind of cojones. And you do it with a surprised smile, right?

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
8 years ago

I couldn’t care less if motorists choose to drive in substandard bike lanes like the door-zone variety shown in the video. I’m generally found taking the travel lane outside the door zone. Our laws don’t require me to ride in a hazardous bike lane and I choose not to.

My rage here is confined to the traffic planners and engineers who approved this abomination. They should be ashamed of themselves. Better yet, they should do the honorable thing and resign.

JeffS
JeffS
8 years ago

I… would have most likely been in the travel lane, so a non-issue.

Bike lanes always, always, always end badly. The people that advocate for them have to understand that at least as well as the rest of us.

SurlyGuy
SurlyGuy
8 years ago

Until we get clearly protected lanes, which likely is never for most corridors other than designated trails, I would think you need to embrace a Tai Chi like philosophy and avoid conflict altogether and realize the hazard that was obvious from the footage. I don’t think a conversation would help this person. Better design would. Yes, biking is horribly dangerous and unfair to the cyclist, as your video proved. Thanks for sharing that.