As I was on my evening commute from work, I moved one lane to the left to leave a right turn only lane. I looked back and there was plenty of room and the closest approaching car was a ways back and in the third (far left) lane. For some reason, he didn’t like me in the middle lane and made a point of yelling all about it to me as he drove by. At the time the light was green but it quickly changed and he had to stop and I was one car back in the next lane. Various scenarios were rushing through my head. I could simply slide up and say “excuse me, I couldn’t hear your pathetic rampage.” I could be a little more belligerent, a LOT more belligerent, profane . . . I could also do nothing at all.
I was on Independence at 15th heading North at about 7:00pm. Not prime rush hour, I didn’t delay this guy at all. Sure a couple of people queued up behind me at the light but they cleared me in about 10 seconds after the light went green. I’m not one of those stubborn, I have a right to the road cyclists, I will give up a route due to heavy traffic volume and I am not too proud to take to the sidewalk, if that is the less stressful path to where I am going.
I will ride this road again. Someone who was there at that stop light last night will pass me again. Maybe even the guy who yelled at me. Do I really want to be notorious on a vehicle that is perhaps 1/10th of 1 percent of the mass of theirs? If I had gotten into a confrontation with that guy, I would have been memorable in those people’s minds. What happens when they start to view me as a threat rather than an inconvenience? I want to be recognized for what I am, another person on their way home from a long day at work.
I chose to do nothing. I will see these people again and I don’t want them to remember me as the cyclist that went off on a motorist. They won’t know that the motorist yelled at me similar to a sports official who only sees the retaliation, not the original foul. I want them to see me and remember me as a competent, predictable and hopefully happy guy who regularly and purposefully rides his bike.
Don’t do that, if you’ll stop back about 20 or 30 ‘ from the intersection and put your right foot on the curb, the right on red folks will usually pull on around you. If not they’ll just wait. If you’re over in that middle lane you’re going to have to get over once clearing the intersection, not good.