Tue 26 Mar 2013
You might recall last week that I got on my trusty singlespeeder “El Naranja” and undertook my first road ride of 2013 by pedaling to the DMV in Glendale and back to purchase a copy of the California Vehicle Code required for my present public safety training module. What I forgot to relate was the negative contact I had with a grumpy-assed old cyclist almost immediately on my way back home.
No sooner had I left the DMV when this guy passed me on Glenoaks and I made a right and fell in behind him heading east in the bike lane at a nice plus-10mph clip. Everything was totally peachy for the first block or so and I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one at that moment making use of the relatively new Class II addition to the boulevard, right up until he suddenly came to quick and full put-your-foot-down stop in the lane, as shown below, despite there being plenty of room to ease off to the right like most aware and considerate people would do.
Fortunately I was able make a semi-evasive move that allowed me not to pile all up into his lower intestine and instead move to the left out of the bike lane into the No. 3 traffic lane and safely pass him. In doing so (and while coincidentally aware due to the aforementioned training that it is a violation of CVC Section 21211[a] “to stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any bike lane, path or trail if the stopping, standing, sitting or loitering impedes or blocks other cyclists”), I offered the suggestion that he really shouldn’t make a habit of doing what he’d just done and then pedaled on up to the intersection of Glenoaks and Sonora where I soon learned that he was none to happy with the advice I’d offered.
I offer this next photo up primarily to showcase the bike sensor I found embedded at the front of the signaled left turn lane on Glenoaks and Sonora as indicative of how totally awesome Glendale has become in regards to including bikes on its streets:
I also include it to to show where I stopped while the cyclist I’d encountered caught up to me. Though he also needed to make a left and go south on Sonora, he opted to execute his turn the old-fashioned 90-degree long way, by crossing Sonora to the opposite corner and then waiting for the green to continue southbound.
I personally like to utilize left turn lanes whenever possible for no other reason than to get whatever motorists in my vicinity who don’t know better to perhaps replace their “What the hell is that cyclist doing there breaking yet another law instead of being on the sidewalk where he belongs!?” with a realization that it is the perfectly proper and legal way for a cyclist to make such a turn. And I didn’t begrudge this guy his decision not to follow my lead, at least not until he crossed Sonora, pointed his bike south on that far corner, and started jawing at me angrily accompanied by a series of gesticulations that were concluded with the clear pointing of a middle finger in my direction.
Without going into a lengthy “folks that know me” explanation of how I might’ve badly handled such an affront in the past, suffice it to say that in a previous far more demonstrative don’t-give-a-damn life I would’ve personalized it and gone to great and histrionic lengths to directly educate the gentleman as to how little tolerance I have for such bullshit. Today, being kinder, gentler and infinitely more aware of what a complete waste of time it is to get mad at such jerks, I just laughed him off and blew him a kiss, which caused him to flip me off a second time and jaw even louder until the green light was finally his and he proceeded across the intersection wth the second part of his gradeschooler’s left turn, as seen below (I had to use an arrow to indicate the little guy’s location as he angrily pedaled across in unintended imitation of Dorothy’s dog-hating spinster schoolmarm Miss Gulch):
Of course, you’re way ahead of me. You’ve already figured out that with both of us heading south on the same street, I’d eventually get my green arrow and his headstart down Sonora would quickly evaporate as I reeled him in until we’d once again be in close enough proximity to each other.
You’re gooooood! That happened at the next light at San Fernando Boulevard, when I pulled up behind him and cleared my throat loudly enough for him to peek around and know I was now readily available if he wished to continue the conversation.
Funny what a difference distance and cross traffic makes to one’s bravado. Maybe age and size, too — with me being a head taller and at least 10 years his junior. From across the buffered safety of a busy intersection this guy couldn’t insult me and flip me off enough. But when I get close enough to count the overburdened stitches in the buttcrack seam of his dark blue Dickies, suddenly he’s got absolutely nothing to say.
And it stayed that way for the rest of this red light and for the time it took me to pull alongside him as we approached the railroad crossing, wherein I looked him square in the gritty stare he gave back to and before putting him behind me for good, said:
“Have a nice day.”