The Chainlink

I got harassed by four separate motorists on my commute home this evening! I was riding down Lincoln, in the middle of the lane for parts of it because I didn't feel safe riding all the way to the right. Lincoln does not have a bike land, only sharrows. I don't like to ride inside of the door zone, and cars were passing me too close on the right. I got honked at a lot and yelled at. Same thing happened on Aldine. I try to ride down side streets because they have less motor traffic. I don't quite understand why the cars didn't go one block over to Belmont instead, if they were sick of being stuck behind me. A taxi and a Cadillac followed me for two miles, honking and yelling the whole way, while following too closely. Sorry for the rant, I am just getting frustrated with asshole drivers. Am I being too aggressive by riding in the middle of the lane?

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Difficult to tell from your account of the events, but if you are obstructing a taxi and a Cadillac for two miles, you are no longer traffic, you are a traffic hazard. Taking the lane is a short term solution to traffic impediments and stretches of fast roads where there's not adequate room to ride to the right and avoid the door zone. I don't think aggressive is the proper adjective. You may not be fast enough or may be lacking in bike handling skills that make it difficult for you to ride with traffic. If your solution is that cars should get off the road which you have decided to occupy, and take an alternate route, it doesn't sound like you're being an aware or astute "share the road" user. Drivers get frustrated with asshole bike riders too.

Well, when I try to let cars pass me, they come within inches of hitting me with their mirrors. Lincoln is not a terribly wide street. I guess in the future, I will have to be more aware of people trying to get around me.

Lincoln, south of Fullerton is on my personal Blacklist. Especially concerning evenings between Thursday and Sunday. 

I was riding between Montrose and Belmont. The road at that point is basically wide enough for a driving car and a door zone, and that's it. Not terribly bicycle friendly, despite the presence of the sharrow.

nik was here said:

Lincoln, south of Fullerton is on my personal Blacklist. Especially concerning evenings between Thursday and Sunday. 

That's pretty much what I was doing. I was – for the most part – keeping up with traffic and even passing cars at lights.

Daniel G said:

Yeah, I'm streetviewing Lincoln and it doesn't look like you could expect more than a foot and a half or so from passing cars in heavy traffic. Pissed off drivers and all cabbies will probably give you less than that. My only real solution for streets like this in traffic is to take the lane and ride the speed limit (~25-28 mph) for as long as I'm able. Or you can slow down and chill in the door zone, and have to stare down the rear windows of every car you pass. If a bicycle has to really back up traffic to stay safe, they probably put sharrows on the wrong road. DOT's main goal is to move cars.

I ride Lincoln  on my commute, from downtown to past both Belmont and Montrose, and farther north home and back to work again everyday. The farther north you get on Lincoln, the less friendly the vehicles and less "sharing" of the lane. When possible, I try to ride at least a few feet away from the dooring areas if there is traffic, or I try to position my bike in the middle of the painted "sharrow" as much as possible, while keeping my eye open for doors opening in my path. If you ride it long enough, it isn't half as bad. People will yell and honk if you are in the middle of the lane on any busy street. I find that sitting in the middle of the painted sharrows keeps them pretty quiet, and if they honk, I just point that I am where I am supposed to be.  I do agree, though, that many times people will pass you on Lincoln with about 6 inches to spare. My best advice is just to be hyper aware of passing cars and try to get over a bit to let them inch by.  It really isn't all that bad of a street, even in rush hour, but you do need to be very aware of your surroundings. 

+1

Kevin C said:

Difficult to tell from your account of the events, but if you are obstructing a taxi and a Cadillac for two miles, you are no longer traffic, you are a traffic hazard. Taking the lane is a short term solution to traffic impediments and stretches of fast roads where there's not adequate room to ride to the right and avoid the door zone. I don't think aggressive is the proper adjective. You may not be fast enough or may be lacking in bike handling skills that make it difficult for you to ride with traffic. If your solution is that cars should get off the road which you have decided to occupy, and take an alternate route, it doesn't sound like you're being an aware or astute "share the road" user. Drivers get frustrated with asshole bike riders too.

I ride Lincoln from Belmont to Wells (then to downtown) to and from work daily. I can't recall a time that I have ever been honked at by a driver. (I did get in a shouting match with a guy when there wasn't enough room and I hit/snagged the mirror of his full size truck with my bag.)

Since I have been doored I try to avoid the door zone but rarely go past the center of the sharrows. I normally look and signal if I need to miss a pot hole or pass someone -try to make it super obivous that I am going into the lane. I am often buzzed and think anywhere from 25-50% of the people don't give me the 3' room. (Esp. out of state drivers)

Maybe people are nicer to me because I am a female?! I wonder if your treatment may be due to your looks... Are you (looking a possible hipster) on a single speed carrying a messanger bag (which is how I roll, but I am so far from cool) or do you look like a Lance on your performance bike? Thinking about some of the comments from this blog from Let's Go Ride A Bike about the 'Mary Poppins' (Dick Van Dyke) Effect. If you dress like a professional on your way too work people tend to be nicer....

 

I ride a hybrid/commuter bike. I was wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and a messenger bag. Lincoln Ave north of Belmont is so narrow that most of the sharrow is in the door zone. I figured I'd rather be followed too closely from behind than risk being doored on the right and buzzed by cars on the left. They just didn't have to be jerks about it. I tried to move to the right at intersections or no parking zones to let them around, but merging back into traffic can be dangerous too!


Jenn_W said:

I ride Lincoln from Belmont to Wells (then to downtown) to and from work daily. I can't recall a time that I have ever been honked at by a driver. (I did get in a shouting match with a guy when there wasn't enough room and I hit/snagged the mirror of his full size truck with my bag.)

Since I have been doored I try to avoid the door zone but rarely go past the center of the sharrows. I normally look and signal if I need to miss a pot hole or pass someone -try to make it super obivous that I am going into the lane. I am often buzzed and think anywhere from 25-50% of the people don't give me the 3' room. (Esp. out of state drivers)

Maybe people are nicer to me because I am a female?! I wonder if your treatment may be due to your looks... Are you on a single speed carrying a messanger bag (I do) or do you look like a Lance on your performance bike? Thinking about some of the comments from this. If you dress like a professional on your way too work people tend to be nicer....

 

When you occupy a lane- do you occupy it while waiting at traffic lights as well?  You mentioned passing cars at lights- are you splitting lanes during stops (to pass) then taking the lane once traffic is moving again?

During my commute times there isn't as many cars parked on the side of the rode... Which I am sure helps out with my experience, as well as seeing many of the same cars daily.

Lincoln does suck more than normal north of Lincoln/Southport/Barry... and then after Belmont there is that tiny little bottle neck... And with the idea of the Dick Van Dyke affect you where somewhere in the middle of appearances... Didn't look like a D-bag, just like an average guy.

People suck! We have to do what we think safest for ourselves... Even if that slows down a cabbie, etc.

I would suggest taking a street like ravenswood, paulina, marshfield or Leavitt north, instead of Lincoln.  I generally avoid riding on Lincoln since there is so little space for passing cars.  Avoiding the diagonal of Lincoln adds very little distance (maybe 1/2 mile) and is much more pleasant.  

Sounds like everything you did was within your right to do so, Adam.       

Wouldn't it be great if you could report abusive motorists to the police and they would do something about it?  Of course they have more important things to do, though.  

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