When the roads are not covered in ice, and the skies are not dripping snow or rain, I ride my bike to work. It’s a short ride, less than two miles, and I have only one major intersection to navigate. But that one intersection is a doozy.
The road I ride has no bike lanes. And it also has an unusual light sequence. Instead of having the left turn green arrow turn on before the straight green, it comes after. This means that while I wait to cross the street, I have to worry about people coming up behind me and deciding that they should turn right in front of me.
Legally, they shouldn’t be doing that. As a bicycle, I am a vehicle on the road, and cars should not be turning in front of me. But they do, and it is my most dangerous moment of the day.
Or, it is on most days.
One day, I was riding home and pulled up at the red light next to a white car that did not have turn signal on. I don’t actually trust that, but I take it as a good sign. The light turns green, they go straight, and I pump my legs to get the bike moving. There’s a lube shop just across the street, and I can see they are signalling to turn in. Miracle of miracles, they are actually waiting for me to pass before turning, rather than cutting me off.
I ride by as fast as I can, and give them a friendly wave to acknowledge their gesture.
Then I almost fall off my bike when a car behind them blares their horn, presumably because the white care is not moving. I’m a bit pissed at that, because they were only being nice, and treating a bicycle like an actual vehicle with a person on it. So after they turn in, I turn around and flip the bird to that honking car.
Now, usually, at this point in my ride, I would keep riding straight for three more blocks before turning right, but while I may have been foolish enough to flip off a car while on a bike, I wasn’t foolish enough not to turn at the very next intersection and pedal my butt off to get out of sight. Their horn blared behind me as I turned, as well it might.
My heart raced all the way home, but it was worth it. I hadn’t ever done more than yell when cars cut me off or nearly ran me down, but this car had honked at someone else doing the right thing, and I wouldn’t stand for that.