Of Stupid Signs & Idiot Drivers

With the cancellation of this evening’s group river ride because of lack of a quorum, I filled up my hydration pack and saddled up to go get me a lot of sweat from my beloved Griffith Park Loop ride, roughly 18 miles of varied terrain that goes from urban to riparian to rural and back to urban again and requires some slow and serious exertions getting up into the rural part — especially on a single-speed bike.

sign.jpgWell, when I got to the top of the climb generally known as the “roller coaster” I encountered Mt. Hollywood Drive to be gated, as usual, closed off to vehicular traffic. Cars haven’t been allowed there for many years. But then, a few more yards inside the gate I found this entirely unofficial sign and thought so highly of it that I set my new cam on timer and posed with it and my middle finger (you’ll have to click it to biggify).

Indeed there is some intensive work being done a few bends up the road, and even on the Hollywood side there is a section of open trench and more stuff going on, but its not that rough going. For a road that since its closure to automobiles has been a haven for runners, walkers and bicyclists to now also be summarily off-limits to everyone else is just ridiculous. And from the looks of the other cyclists and pedestrians around paying the warning no heed I’ll bet this is one of the most ignored signs in the entire city.

It was a grand excursion, derailed only a little bit by some jackhole in an old Honda on Vermont approaching Franklin who honked at me from behind as we came up to the red light at Franklin. Coming to a step I pulled to the left, the better for him to roll up so that I could pointedly yet cordially question the guy why he felt the imperative to beep in my general direction.

“Did you honk at me?”
“Yes I did?”
“You were in the middle of the lane.”
“I was in the middle of the lane.”
“Yes, you should be over to the right.”
“Over to the where?”
“You know, closer to the curb.”
“I see. So what you’re saying is that you honked at me because I was in your way.”
“And that I have no right to be on the road.”
And by my being where I was on the road prevented you from rolling a few more feet to a stop at this red light.”
“And will you look at that, here I am way over in the left part of the lane.”
“I must be some sort of idiot.”
“Some sort of daredevil — or anarchist!”
“Wait a min—.”
“But here’s the kicker: I’m none of that. Did you know that California Vehicle Code Section 21202 states that bicycles are allowed the full use of the lanes they occupy?
That’s right, on this road your car and my bike are the same thing. So whether I’m in the middle or the right or the left of a lane I’m allowed to be there and you can’t just beep at me and try to shoo me out of your way.”
“In fact, you’re the one in the wrong twice, sir.”
“Check it out: CVC Section 27001 states that motor vehicle drivers may use their horn ‘when reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation.’ Let me ask you, do you think you’re safely operating your vehicle by distracting me with your horn in an attempt to get me to forfeit my rightful place on the road because of your ignorance of the law?”
[the light turns green and traffic starts to move]
“I believe the correct answer you’re looking for is either ‘no’ or ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘Wow, learn something new every day!’ Have a nice one.”


UPDATED 07.27: GuessWhereLA Flickr Group master, Death Valley explorer extraordinaire and Echo Parkian Scott writes with unofficial information he’s obtained about the sign that I disparage in this post:

Apparently three things have happened that caused the sign to go up:
1. Bikes were ‘hitching rides’ to the back of the large dirt trucks, getting towed up the hill. This was the initial reason the sign went up with the reference to bikes.
2. The asphalt roadway had been removed and safety was a concern.
3. A bunch of bikers came past the construction site and started screaming at the workers for screwing up the road, the next morning the DWP’s truck tires were reportedly slashed.

Thanks Scott!