The Chainlink

I think old age has given me certain priliviges and some disadvantages - but I used both yesterday.  I was biking with a trailer north on Milwaukee close to rush hour when a motorcycle started coming up behind me.  I stopped and with a strong thumb gesture, told him to "move it" , "out of the bike lane".

It worked.

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Good for you, Nancy. I'm glad to hear that he moved out without any argument. I think it actually helps being a female asking someone to move - in my experience, people seem more worried of seeing like a bully if they try to argue back with a woman.

I've stopped to talk to moterists a number of times when they are parked in the Elston bike lanes waiting for someone, and I'm always surprised how many other bicyclists just ride on by instead of using this as an opportunity to tell the drivers that such parking won't be tolerated. Usually, people will try to move out quickly, especially when I ask them kindly.

Once someone lied and said that he was having car problems. I think he figured I would just drop it and ride on, but instead I stuck around to make sure he left. He acted like he was checking out his "broken" car for several minutes, but after I told him I would call someone like a tow company or the police to "help" him, he eventually drove off. And because I always stayed very calm and actually offered to help this moterist in distress, he never really had an excuse to get angry with me.

Thanks, Nancy, for helping keep our bike lanes free of moterized vehicles - it makes it safer for all of us!

Dear Megan,

Thank you very much for your note.  I've always wanted to start a troupe - a combination of Grandma the Clown and Monty Python's Granny Gang skit.  The Granny Gang wear old black dresses with brooches and they push thugs off the sidewalks, they smoke cigarettes (not me, of course) and walk tough.  I thinks there is "mock documentary" clip of the thugs talking about this horrible new gang.

It actually did help that it was rush hour, there were witnesses in cars and other bikers coming up from behind.  At night, I try to get their license plates and call it in.


Nancy , you never know what type of reaction you will get when you challenge someone like this. I'm glad it worked for you and Megan. Be prepared for a hostile attitude from the driver and perhaps take pictures or video. You also might want to pre-dial 911 in case it makes a turn for the worst. Careful.

Yes - I know.  It's just one of those times, when the timing was right and it worked.  If he had given me a rude hand gesture or said something imappropriate, then I would have either dropped it or pulled to the side and called the police.  I take rude hand gestures as a threat and nothing to be trifled with.  

It's all in the same behavior category as the big, ex-football player types parking their Caddie in a handicapped zone at CVS. Did I go into CVS and point the problem out?  No, but should I have?  You bet.  

On another note, I don't know if allowing e-bikes (and other categories) in the bike lanes will confuse matter more about safety, "privileges" and rights.

Again, many thanks for your concern.  I must admit my cell phone is so old that it is hard to just open up and call.  It probably has a crank on it.  




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