I went out for an easy little ride on Sunday morning. I was enjoying the sunshine, getting some fresh air and just spinning my legs. As I approached the end of my ride I had to make a left turn onto my street and so I looked back, moved out into the center of the road, signaled that I was turning and then all of a sudden the peace and quiet of the morning was interrupted by “HOOOOONNNKK.” A car had come up behind me and decided that their need to make a left turn trumped mine and that they needed to scare the crap out of me to let me know it.
Sometimes I take these things in stride and just shake it off, but when I saw the person park in front of my apartment building about two tenths of a mile up the road I decided that they needed to know that this was not ok. I rode up and thanked them kindly for scaring me and told them that I had to be out in the road because I was making a left hand turn. They in turn mumbled something about how I was taking up the whole lane and needed to get out of the road. I angrily went inside and thought about printing out some bicycle laws and leaving the on their windshield like:
39:4-14.1 Rights and Duties of Persons on Bicycles.
Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway is granted all the rights and subject to all of the duties of the motor vehicle driver.
A bicyclist may move left under any of the following conditions: 1) To make a left turn from a left turn lane or pocket; 2) To avoid debris, drains, or other hazardous conditions on the right.
After a few deep breaths I decided against this, but it still makes me a little bit angry even now after having a few days to cool off. I am frustrated by the lack of understanding that motorists have regarding the fact that a bicycle has most of the same rights as a car on the road. I don’t know what can be done to educate people regarding this fact, but with each passing day I become more determined to find a way.
ALSO, I realize that sometimes people are frustrated when they approach a large group riding four abreast or even cyclists crossing over onto the wrong side of the road. So, as I ponder ways to make people understand that we have rights on the road too, make sure you do your part and get to the right when a car is passing. Stay on your side of the road. That law above also states that we are “subject to all of the duties of the motor vehicle driver,” so remember that rule when you are out riding and maybe we can all work to ease this vehicular animosity.