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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was just going to tell you that you guys need to move back to the city!

da' Square Wheelman (aka garth) said:

Wow, makes me glad I moved :)

The law requires that you ride "as near as it practicable" to the curb. Whether or not you were a nuisance would have to do with how real the threat of getting doored was. You would be the best judge of that.

Sec. 11-1505. Position of bicycles and motorized pedal cycles on roadways—Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
(a) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under the following situations: 1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motorized pedal cycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or 2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or 3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, motorized pedal cycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this subsection, a "substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

"For purposes of this subsection, a "substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane." 

If "side by side within the lane" means the bicycle a reasonable distance from parked cars, i.e. about three feet, then a passing vehicle three feet to the left of the bike, almost all the roads I ride on have a "substandard width lane."


Mike Keating said:

The law requires that you ride "as near as it practicable" to the curb. Whether or not you were a nuisance would have to do with how real the threat of getting doored was. You would be the best judge of that.

Sec. 11-1505. Position of bicycles and motorized pedal cycles on roadways—Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
(a) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under the following situations: 1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motorized pedal cycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or 2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or 3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, motorized pedal cycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this subsection, a "substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Sorry, in some states it's considered a crime even if you are just harrased. As numbers we are strong.... Maybe if IL. has the energy we can too.

+ 2.

well said kevin

Brendan Kevenides said:

+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.

yay dug has spoken.

+1 on that one too...

DB

notoriousDUG said:

Letting cars that are backed up behind you when there is room to do so is not putting yourself in danger unless you have truly horrible bike handling skills and a near total lack of situational awareness.  You forced two cars to be stuck behind you for two miles!  Please tell me that you can see how that is frustrating to the motorists.  You can justify your selfish behavior by saying they should have taken a route that was more convenient to you but the inverse of that is that YOU could have taken a route that was more convenient to THEM! 

Are you seriously going to try and tell me that there was, at no point, an area where you could have safely squeezed over to let them pass?  I have never had to force a car to wait behind me for a BLOCK let alone TWO MILES.  It is not hard to judge a space of 2-3 parked cars in which it is safe to squeeze over, or even just slow down enough to not worry about getting doored, so that you can get passed at a safe distance.

Also, do you have any idea how frustrating/annoying it is to motorists to have you hold them up in traffic only to have you pass them at a light gaining distance on them and then cutting back in farther up and continuing to hold up the works?  I am not sure I can think of a more dick move to pull in traffic, if you want to take the whole lane you need to continue to take the whole lane at signals; if the shared lane is to narrow to be safe when cars can pass you how does it suddenly become safe when you can pass them?

Adam Herstein said:

I feel that I shouldn't have to put my own safety at risk just so some driver can get home 30 seconds sooner.

gabe - dude I didn't think I could ever love you more !!!

and NO, we cannot get a room.

you are a rockstar!

Dan

GabeW (not the other Gabe) said:

This picture is popular among my car enthusiast friends.

this one too

Now, for those two miles you had a taxi and cadi riding your "bumper"..were you passing anyone?  Were you turning left?  Was there traffic behind you able to legally move faster than you were allowing them?

No.

No.

Yes.

Take the lane when necessary (passing someone - or a pothole, glass, car door, double parked car, slower cyclist, etc...; or you're about to turn left) then MOVE OVER, JACKASS. (read that with the comic tone of the pic, I'm not calling you a jackass, I haven't met you....I'll reserve judgement :D)

Share the road.  Cars have the same legal right to be there that bikes do.  Car drivers acting the way you did results in road rage directed at them from other drivers.  Keep your head up and balance your safety with courtesy towards others.  Depending on where I'm going, 2 miles is the entire commute.  I find it hard to believe that in that entire ride you couldn't find a safe spot to let faster moving traffic by, regardless of being on a bike, a motorcycle, a car, or a bus.

Yep, I agree that a slow moving cyclist that scoots ahead of stopped cars at traffic lights only to go slow in front of them again, is a pretty unmannerly move, if that's what really happened here.  Sometimes it's better to get impatient motorists off your tail by moving right into the parking lane or an alley entrance for a few seconds, if nothing else than to make YOUR ride less unpleasant.

BUT....I'll play Devil's Advocate here for a moment.  What if Adam were driving a giant cement truck or road grader down Lincoln Avenue at 5 miles per hour, rather than riding a bike.  Would we, and the impatient motorists following behind, have any expectation that Adam would pull his gigantic slow moving vehicle off the road every few hundred yards to let impatient motorists by?  I don't think so.  Is it that the impatient motorists expect a cyclist to get out of the way, because bikes don't belong on "their" road? And besides, a cyclist can be easily intimidated or menaced by a motor vehicle if the cyclist won't "get out of the way" unlike the cement truck driver.  Do we as cyclists feel deep down, that we really don't belong on the street, and we should always make way for motorists?

I find it hard to believe that the taxi driver following Adam, who really, really wanted to speed down the road past him, couldn't manage to find an opening in two miles in the oncoming lane, to properly change lanes to the left and pass Adam safely with at least a three foot margin of safety.  I think too many motorists feel entitled to split our lane while passing us, possibly not even bothering to cross the center line.  And why should they?  That might put THEM in some danger, rather than putting a cyclist in danger by forcing him or her into the parked cars.  It's a sense of motorist entitlement, I think, that they shouldn't have to change lanes for our safety.  Again, cyclists are seen as an unwanted nuisance, rather than as legitimate traffic.

I agree with Thunder Snow about impatient and entitled drivers. Just the other day I had to take the lane on Wells to pass a few bikers :). I made sure I wasn't cutting anyone off when I entered the lane. About halfway past the bikers the lady driving behind starts laying on her horn. First off all I slowed her down for 10-15 seconds of her life. Second, the light on North Ave a block ahead was red. So why the hurry just to get to a red light sooner?? It's amazing that people can't think more than 2 seconds ahead of themselves sometimes.

I expect bikes to allow me past and a piece of heavy equipment or a large truck not to due the disparity in maneuverability.  Ever drive a road grader or cement truck?  They are not very easy to fit into an alley entrance or empty parking spot; in fact they don't fit at all.

Thunder Snow said:

Yep, I agree that a slow moving cyclist that scoots ahead of stopped cars at traffic lights only to go slow in front of them again, is a pretty unmannerly move, if that's what really happened here.  Sometimes it's better to get impatient motorists off your tail by moving right into the parking lane or an alley entrance for a few seconds, if nothing else than to make YOUR ride less unpleasant.

BUT....I'll play Devil's Advocate here for a moment.  What if Adam were driving a giant cement truck or road grader down Lincoln Avenue at 5 miles per hour, rather than riding a bike.  Would we, and the impatient motorists following behind, have any expectation that Adam would pull his gigantic slow moving vehicle off the road every few hundred yards to let impatient motorists by?  I don't think so.  Is it that the impatient motorists expect a cyclist to get out of the way, because bikes don't belong on "their" road? And besides, a cyclist can be easily intimidated or menaced by a motor vehicle if the cyclist won't "get out of the way" unlike the cement truck driver.  Do we as cyclists feel deep down, that we really don't belong on the street, and we should always make way for motorists?

I find it hard to believe that the taxi driver following Adam, who really, really wanted to speed down the road past him, couldn't manage to find an opening in two miles in the oncoming lane, to properly change lanes to the left and pass Adam safely with at least a three foot margin of safety.  I think too many motorists feel entitled to split our lane while passing us, possibly not even bothering to cross the center line.  And why should they?  That might put THEM in some danger, rather than putting a cyclist in danger by forcing him or her into the parked cars.  It's a sense of motorist entitlement, I think, that they shouldn't have to change lanes for our safety.  Again, cyclists are seen as an unwanted nuisance, rather than as legitimate traffic.

DUG, I'm just tossing this out there as I find it interesting that we don't challenge our basic assumptions about who belongs on the road and who should make way for whom.  Yeah, maybe the cement truck wasn't the best example.  OK, say I'm riding a bike behind a car doing 25 mph in a 30 mph zone.  Do I have any expectation that the motorist will kindly pull over to the right curb to let me pass--the car is certainly maneuverable enough to do so.  I'd say hell would freeze over before a motorist got out of the way of a faster moving bicyclist.  It's built into our assumptions, both the motorist's and, remarkably, our own cyclist's notions of who belongs on the road, and who needs to make way for whom.  I'm suggesting that a cyclist isn't automatically in the wrong for taking a lane, just as a motorist isn't wrong for taking a lane, which they ALWAYS do.  I believe there's a give and take, a cyclist makes way for a car one moment, a motorist makes way for a cyclist at the next moment.  But right now, it still seems kind of one-sided: cyclists are EXPECTED to be subserviant to motorists by riding to the right, pulling off the road to let others by and so on.  Why is this?
 
notoriousDUG said:

I expect bikes to allow me past and a piece of heavy equipment or a large truck not to due the disparity in maneuverability.  Ever drive a road grader or cement truck?  They are not very easy to fit into an alley entrance or empty parking spot; in fact they don't fit at all.

I didn't read all the responses to this, and I usually would love to back a fellow cyclist against the meany cars....but Adam, you had cars waiting to pass you for 2 miles!  And you never thought to yourself "Hmmm.  Maybe I am a slow as shit rider, and am creating a dangerous situation for myself."  It sounds like you thought "I could care less about anyone else's time!  I feel I have the right to be here!  Everyone else can fuck off and wait for my slow ass!"  I ride Lincoln/Wells back and forth every day from Irving Park Rd to the Loop.  While I will admit it can be a bit tight in the shallow, you need to grow a pair and live with some risk.  Jeez.  You are a man!  Embrace it!

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