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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I'll second that.  When I rode to/from Rogers Park, I had lots of problems there - cabs, beer trucks, and jerks in general.

nik was here said:

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

Those can be much more pleasant alternatives.  I definitely agree with Liz on that.

Liz said:

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.  

Claim the lane; you have every legal right to it.

Maybe you could have pulled over and let the taxi and Cadillac pass you? After all, this is not a pissing contest with someone you don't know about who is right. It is about you getting home safely.

I also second what Liz said. Most of these streets are low traffic, one-way streets that make for much more comfortable riding.

Way to stick up for your fellow cyclist.  How did you get "pissing contest" out of this?  You're telling him to get home safely when that's exactly what he was trying to do, was it not?    

One often overlooked diagonal (doesn't run this far north though) is Clybourn.  I find that it has much more room, is mostly one lane with plenty of space to avoid the door zone and give cars room to pass. Its my daily commute route and it was a pleasant surprise when I moved to Roscoe Village. 

When I move to Ravenswood next month, I plan on taking Damen south to Clybourn into downtown instead of Lincoln, since the distance is about a wash, and its a bit nicer to ride on. 

When riding that stretch I stay in the lane but to the left. I also go slow enough so I can stop if someone's about to open their door (one day I noticed most of the close calls I've had, whether almost-dooring or right hooks or someone crossing in front of me, were when I was riding fast, so I just slowed down) slowing down has really made it a lot safer and helped with the near-miss doorings.

hmm not sure. I have really never felt the need to take the lane unless there was a delivery vehicle, or while turning. I take the lane on that turn from wells, even though they painted sharrows, since i think it's crazy to let someone pass me on a turn like that. but then I move over. Also i take the lane through intersections when there is a left-turning car, because if I stay right, someone tries to squeeze through!


But I've seen other people take the lane for longer stretches. Whatever makes you feel safe. It may be courteous to move over and let people pass, but they are already pissed at us for being on the road in the first place.

Was he?

The taxi and Cadillac were driving behind for 2 miles. Two options come to mind.

1. He persistently took up the lane (in an attempt to be safe) and effectively prevented the cars from passing him safely. That's not sharing the road, that's occupying it. There had to be more than one opportunity (at an intersection, or a empty parking lane) to move to the right and let the cars pass.

2 The drivers were real jerks, had plenty of opportunity to pass him safely but refused to do so, and instead harassed him. The thing to keep in mind there is that they drive 5000lb of metal and can kill or maim you in a moment's notice, while at the same time being immune to any threat that you may pose to them. 

Zoetrope said:

Way to stick up for your fellow cyclist.  How did you get "pissing contest" out of this?  You're telling him to get home safely when that's exactly what he was trying to do, was it not?    

Stupid me, you're right.  He was clearly trying to get home un-safely.  

So you would prefer cyclists just put their tail between their legs and carry their bikes over to the sidewalk when cars are buzzing, honking and yelling?  That's definitely sending a message to motorists that cyclists have a right to the road at all times, as opposed to just a small portion of it when drivers are feeling charitable.     



Duppie said:

Was he?

I like Melanie's advice. I have been using Lincoln for...well lets say a long time.  I ride on the far left side of the right side. That non sequitor means I try to leave room on the right to react to doors and room on the left to let cars and faster bikes pass me.  I always use a mirror and am aware of what is going on behind me. I tend to occupy more of the lane when its clear and less of it when there is traffic.  You have to use common sense, discretion and a little bit of rhythm.  I often find my commute much like dancing but I am a much better bike rider than dancer.  When I get to a light I position myself in between to allow turners a way through to my right while allowing speed racer to dart to my left.

Taking a lane and blocking it at well under the speed limit is not trying to get home safely; it is being a selfish road user and asking for trouble.

Sure, it is our right to take the lane but is it really the safest choice?  I think not.  I would much rather ride the middle of the sharrow and keep a close eye on the parked cars for a potential dooring than ride in a position that forces motorists to either pass me closely or be held up.


It's about sharing the road and taking a whole lane is selfish entitled behavior.  We have a duty to ride not only safely AND courteously; failing to take into account how your actions affect drivers and understanding why certain things frustrate them is the number one cause of ill-will between motorists and cyclists.



Zoetrope said:

Way to stick up for your fellow cyclist.  How did you get "pissing contest" out of this?  You're telling him to get home safely when that's exactly what he was trying to do, was it not?    

How is blocking traffic safe?

Do you understand what sharing the road even means?



Zoetrope said:

Stupid me, you're right.  He was clearly trying to get home un-safely.  

So you would prefer cyclists just put their tail between their legs and carry their bikes over to the sidewalk when cars are buzzing, honking and yelling?  That's definitely sending a message to motorists that cyclists have a right to the road at all times, as opposed to just a small portion of it when drivers are feeling charitable.     



Duppie said:

Was he?

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