It Takes Faith

Pedaling in traffic is an expression of faith.  Faith in your abilities.  Faith in your machine.  Most of all, faith in fellow road users.  I have that faith, but it is tested all too often.

Today I was pedaling the ANT Light Roadster in a lane to stay out of the door zone.  I moved right when safe to let other road users pass.  Just now I was left again.  Black Dodge Durango honks, I hold up a finger (indicating “one second”), but my faith fails  me.  I slow and move right into the door zone.  As he passes within inches (oncoming traffic prevented him from moving left), I slap his mirror.  Pledged to myself and you all I would stop doing that, but it is a difficult pledge to keep.  He slowed, lowered window and yelled that I needed to get out of the middle of the lane.  He added an f-bomb in there, but I can’t remember whether it modified “middle” or “lane.”  I am sure he meant to modify me, but I forgive him in his anger.   I shouted back “let’s ask a police officer.”  He repeated himself.  I repeated myself.  He drove away.  Yuck.

Hours later and I am still upset.  He may be as well.  If I had avoided the slap and just pulled over, at least I would have felt better sooner.  Maybe that’s a good rule.  If a car honks, pull over and let them pass.  They’re obviously impatient, so time to let them go.  I am very excited to become adept at following this rule.  I will be so much happier!  They may be as well.

The rest of the ride was nice.  I got coffee beans for home.  Looked at records.  Got a bad espresso from a newish joint.  Came home.  Every other driver was cool.  I took the lane when needed.  People waited a safe distance behind.  I moved right when it was safe and waived them by.  They went.  Sharing.

I wish the authorities would hurry up and educate the small minority of motorists who aren’t aware of a pedalers’ right to take the lane when necessary to be safe.  I don’t want to do it (on the spot education is the opposite of effective).  The NYDOT doesn’t want to do it (not part of their mission).  Maybe the Department of Motor Vehicles?  Don’t they administer driving tests?  Easy to add “Where are bicyclists supposed to ride?  (a) Right side of road.  (b) Sidewalk.  (c) middle of lane.  (d) Right side of road unless turning left, hazards are present on the right side or the lane is too narrow to share side by side.  A brief 60 years later and all the unaware motorists would burn off the map.  Bicycles May Take the Full Lane signs might have helped here (and no 60 year waiting period!).  They’d bolster my faith, if nothing else.

Two steps forward.  One back.  Net gain of one.  Life proceeding apace.

Be well.

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2 responses to “It Takes Faith

  1. I find most Dodge Durango drivers to be assholes. My car accident in Omaha was caused by one so I’m biased.

    • Maybe it is something in the driving experience. I say we go to a Dodge dealership and take one for an extended test drive. I have taken to wearing denim head to toe (which my cousin calls a Canadian tuxedo!), so they won’t suspect that we are only doing research.

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