share the road does not mean share the lane
I got yelled at to “share the road” while biking down Butler St at 36th Street this morning. This was after an inches-away pass, which I caught on video, here. License plate in the video title.
How do we get across to people that “share the road” does not mean “share the lane”? The couple’s complaint was that I was in the lane. Like there is anywhere else to be on that part of Butler?
I do not know how to get across to the mass of already licensed drivers that cyclists really are entitled to use the whole lane, that you can pass them if you can see if it is safe to, even if there is a double yellow, and that you get in line and go their speed if you cannot!
THIS is the biggest problem facing cyclists today. Not bike lanes, not “treat them like they’re people”, not anything else.
THIS is the basic issue behind Cherokee Schill’s case in Kentucky, that the L.A.B. just decided not to help with.
THIS is the seed under James Love’s dentures, that caused him to get Bike-Pgh’s Facebook page taken down for a week last year.
THIS is what pissed off another motorist, on 25 mph North Avenue in Millvale, barely 10 minutes previously. Also caught on video. Also have the plate # on that (HFY-5156, see tweet).
THIS happens hundreds of times a day, not just in Pittsburgh.
That this doesn’t happen more often is the direct result of more cyclists being so cowed by motorists that they’re scared to death of getting on a bicycle in the first place.
I may ride my bicycle anywhere I goddamned please. So may Cherokee Schill. And if I cannot bike down Butler St in lower Lawrenceville at the speed limit, where the hell CAN I bike, in peace?
Stop pissing around with bike lanes. Focus on what REALLY fucking matters.
I notice that NOBODY is coming in the opposite direction. The first vehicle in the opposite lane, if I am not mistaken, is a parked delivery vehicle that comes into view quite some time after the close pass. So the driver had plenty of time and space to execute a legal 4′ pass.
For what it is worth, I have the very strong impression that a large subset of drivers actually don’t know that they are entitled (indeed obliged) to cross the double yellow in this situation. I probably have more people who simply remain behind me rather than passing too close even when there is ample opportunity to pull into the opposite lane to pass me. In many cases there is no evident animosity in these encounters — drivers simple hover back there waiting for something, or just biding their time. On the one hand, they are being respectful and I appreciate that, on the other hand I generally wish they would get on with business and pass me with 4′ of clearance.
So, it could be that a big part of and education campaign is to get it out there it is indeed OK to get across that double yellow stripe.
Part of my rant is directed at Bike-Pgh.
Part of my rant is directed at the League of American Bicyclists.
Part of my rant is directed at the People For Bikes campaign.
I really am not sure who I’m yelling louder at, but I’m fucking sick and tired of not just being able to bike down the street, be it sedate Butler Street, the suburban hell of McKnight Road, or even the part of Perrysville Avenue with its 18-foot-wide lane near Riverview Park where I’ve been yelled at TWICE even though I was as far to the right as practicable, not taking the lane, and they didn’t even have to cross the yellow to get past me.
JSYK, James Love said out loud at the ACTC meeting a couple weeks ago that he still feels justified in getting Bike-Pgh’s Facebook page taken down.
I’m not on Facebook, have heard that takedown thing other places on the forums. What was the justification for the takedown on Facebook’s end?
Also, have you experimented with turning in your recordings to the police for prosecution?
I have no idea how Mr. Love managed to get Fb to take their page down, but it was very difficult to get it restored.
I have not gone to the police yet with any of my videos. I need to do that. Suggestions on how to approach them would be encouraging.
btw, keep an ear toward WESA 90.5. I was interviewed by Josh Raulerson about biking with cameras. I don’t know when the spot will be aired. He may be interviewing others, too.
When Cherokee Schill’s route has a sharrow… then we can compare the two as being identical cases. Stu, you have a legit complaint and concern, but let’s not conflate two completely different things.
It’s night and day. One scenario is promoting cycling and making Butler St. a primary road for cyclists while the other is a step away from putting up signs that say “no bicycles allowed.”
A clean well-lighted place to vent. I think we need all this stuff. taking lanes bike paths taking lanes fussgangerzones all of it. no need to fight.
People get harassed. I’ve been watching the video of the woman walking around NYC and getting hit on by men constantly (http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/10/28/street_harassment_video_a_hidden_camera_records_what_women_go_through_on.html). You’re getting harassed because you’re possibly slowing things down a bit.
That’s life in the big city. It’s worse getting harassed just for walking around than it is for riding a bike, I think.
Have you shown any of the way-too-close videos to Josh at wesa? Give him a call and tell him you have more to talk about, maybe he’ll change the tone/scope of his radio piece. He might also be willing to cover how well your complaint with the police is handled.
As for contacting the police, try calling the city council person who represents L’ville and ask them who you should call. Then casually mention to the cop that so and so in the councilman’s office said you should call them. People sometimes treat you differently if they think someone else will check up on them.
I would never recommend violence, but Drivers like the one in the video will not give you/me/us any respect unless they have something to fear. Since they have no current reason to fear getting a ticket or worse from the police, and since a bike is no match for a 2 ton car, they have no reason to fear harassing us.
It’s because of Hells Angles and the like that most people dont mess with dentists on their Harleys, but scooters are probably fair game.
I wonder how successful a civil lawsuit of some type would be assuming you have good video?
I can’t imagine a civil lawsuit being successful unless Stu suffered some real injury.
some drivers are never going to get it though
I do my part and take the lane and have had similar results .
my last encounter was on the 321 Ride
Hearing these accounts makes my blood boil.
Tell the assholes to fuck off and move along. You’re not going to educate any driver by talking to them on the street. The education is going to happen as part of the process of all cyclists taking the lane and asserting their right to the road and never submitting to driver bullying. Cyclists, do what you need to do to keep yourself alive, and educate yourself on the best practices to accomplish that.
I am currently in a situation where I have no choice but to drive to work, and I hate drivers more than I ever did when I was biking to work. Drivers suck, and it’s not just toward cyclists, so don’t get a persecution complex. I am no longer sad when I see on the evening news that some shitty driver has chosen to remove themselves from this planet. Assuming they don’t take any innocent bystanders with them, I raise a glass.
I have also been honked at on Butler while taking the lane, going OVER 25MPH, and I was only a few feet from the car in front of me so really where am I supposed to go and what inconvenience am I causing? I have been passed when I am in the lane and there is no space in between me and the car in front of me causing a great deal of confusion and danger. There is no space on the majority of Butler for “sharing” the lane. I guarantee if that driver in this video saw a giant pothole in the middle of the street, they would swerve to avoid it, but a human? However, generalizing all drivers based on our biases is the exact same thing we ask people not do to with cyclists(with perhaps limited success) and I would say most drivers are fine. It’s certainly a bit extreme to say you raise a glass when someone dies in a car accident and that’s certainly not an opinion I share nor one that I want attributed to cyclists. I’m not sure how many people who don’t bike would go on this PUBLIC forum, but, if they did, they would not have a good impression and that is counter-productive to better treatment for us on the roads.
I agree. I do get enraged at drivers sometimes and I can yell at them, but in the end
1. In a road rage contest with a 2-ton 200 HP object, we are going to lose.
2. We do want *them* to get along with *us*
3. There is some vague idea that a world filled with bicycles is somehow less tense… (except at the front of the peloton).
A little schadenfreude sprinkled on thoroughly steamed or whipped up couch potatoes can help make light of an uninspiring presentation and make it quite delicious. But you have to be careful to keep it light or overpowers with heat and bitterness.
Butler St sucks. I was rammed from behind by an SUV on that street a few years ago. (We were at a red light behind a tractor trailer.)
It’s becoming slightly better due to a few factors. One is bikers are very common and should be expected on Butler. Two is that with traffic so bad on Butler from people avoiding 28, you are almost always going the speed of traffic(at least during frequent commute times). However, I do see a lot of bikers cut down to Smallman to avoid these trouble spots altogether which basically makes the dedicated track pointless to them. I hope there is a continuous river trail one day and one day soon.
Irony: I was using Butler so I could more easily get to the Penn bike lane.
On all these altercations, whether videoed or just recorded on Twitter, I record the plate number. Please do the same. I especially want to call the repeaters on the carpet.
I think a lot of people avoid that drag of Penn that is one way because drivers often speed and, even though there are TWO lanes, you often get passed very closely. I’ve been passed closely enough times on this stretch to also consider alternate routes as well as a camera(need pay day to come first).
I do a typical route around Butler by going Stanton making a left onto Butler. It is a pain around 46th-48th with an uphill slope, but from 46th I am in the middle to the left of the lane. I typically am always following traffic at the same speed. I yet see so many cyclists who always hug the damn door zone riding timidly allowing for close passes. Get over to the middle making it un-passable (not saying this would be veterans of this board). With sharrows, a low speed limit, and most likely heavy traffic there is no reason to be hugging door zones.
I never had issues on Butler though. The major two major issues I have had similar or worse to yours Stu were both on Forbes in Squirrel hill. One was approaching downhill the same speed of traffic after the bike lane ends going to the Wightman. This was not in the section that is uphill right after the lane ends coming from Oakland, but past Murdoch when it is downhill. Forbes was sharrowed then (don’t know why they never repainted Forbes there), but an old man was so anxious when he saw a damn whippersnapper in the lane on a bike he had to get around regardless I was in line doing the same velocity of traffic. I was following a car at the same speed and when a car was coming the opposite direction he cuts right back into my lane almost hitting me. Not only that he flips me off and yells at me for taking a sharrow lane the same speed. I explained the laws and told the old man in a heated exchange to take his damn license back to Penn dot and he did not deserve it. He just kept insulting me for riding the same speed of rush hour traffic on a 25 MPH street.
I had another very harassing one in the same place.
The same thing, following a car at the same speed. I had a very angry fat 50 some year old hairy Neanderthal man screaming honking and going completely crazy. I was pissed. He followed me down the main street of Forbes through S. Hill’s downtown. I was not riding a door zone so I just followed the car ahead at the same speed. There was nowhere for him to go. At the intersection of Forbes/Shady he literally deliberately tried to hit me and came within inches and squealed around like a big tough man. It was the closest I had to an assault. This guy wasn’t just in a impatient ass, he was on a vengeance. Both accounts I ranted about in the dangerous drivers thread.
But I am with Stu in some regard with the annoyance with driver education, taking a lane in obvious slow zones where it is appropriate, and “certain bike organizations” that even contribute to this mindset with building nanny lanes in the most simple streets where they enforce the “bikes don’t belong on the street” mentality. I may look militaristic to other cyclist but ever since I started to ride city every single day I ran into far less instances just taking the middle of the middle of the lane. I do this on all two lane streets such as Forbes through Uptown to Oakland, up and down Fifth, Penn, etc leaving no room to pass. Either switch to the left lane, or traffic is so backed up I am not impeding traffic as is. When I am going up hill or doing a speed where door zones are not an issue then I will ride a door zone or hug a curb. Don’t get me started with local media doing a negative effect with their drumming up of the ignorance.
They really need to prosecute some drivers for assault with a deadly weapon.
One well-publicized case in the county could make a difference.
People driving cars have aggression towards the following:
– animals in the road
– other cars
– “Slow” signs
– “Curve Ahead” signs
– “Yield” signs
– “Stop” signs
As such, they will act-out against these items which present an inconvenience to them. Some are easier to act towards than others. Signs are easy to ignore. Most animals will scamper away. Pedestrians and joggers are easily “motivated” out of the vehicle’s way with a well-timed horn blast.
Bicyclists, because they are narrower, are much easier to pass than cars, busses and trucks. Plus, there is the added bonus of being able to directly address the cyclist, whereas the automobile operator, bus and truck driver are well-insulated within their vehicles.
In short, drivers hate everybody. It’s nothing personal. Cyclists are just low fruit. (Insert boilerplate language acknowledging the physics involved when a several-thousand pound vehicle acts upon a cyclist here.)
^ very good point. Occasionally I have to take my son to the doctors in East Liberty/Shadyside area. I get the whole family in the giant cage. It is a MAJOR pain in the ass driving that thing around the inner city and even I get frustrated and pissy doing so. I only like driving highways anymore where I set the cruise and listen to NPR.
What gets me the most is; it isn’t cyclist, joggers, walkers, kids, dogs, squirrels, etc that slow down traffic in the city. It is…………………………other cars. Cars impede traffic the most. If cars were not on the road traffic wouldn’t be so frustrating for drivers.
Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh City Police are abso-fucking-lutely useless in this regard. I’ve called 9-1-1 three times in the city, and waited on average 25 minutes for a disinterested officer to show up. In two cases, I received lectures on how the officer would never even think about riding on West Liberty Ave. In all cases, they did nothing, despite knowing that I had high-resolution video of the incident in question. They simply do not care, and do not know the law. In the one case where I actually got a response, and an e-mail address to send a video link to, I had to send a copy of HB 170 to the officer so he could understand why the driver’s actions were illegal. Still, he did nothing.
I spoke to Scott Schubert and Stephen Patchan in June 2013 about trying to find a better way to report these incidents. Both promised action and follow up, and neither did. Even Scott Bricker said, at that time, that he was working with Schubert on “a cool initiative that we’ll be announcing soon.” Still waiting for anything on that one…an announcement, a “we changed our minds”, or even a “fuck off, go away, you bother me.” None of the above. I know Schubert and Patchan have moved on, and apparently so has the idea of trying to enforce the law.
I’ve given up. The only use my videos have will be a record for my family of what happened on the day that I don’t make it home…
We have a new bike/ped coordinator. The change really needs to come on the police/judicial side of things, but I do hope we can keep trying here. Not sure if our friend mayor Peduto has had any success trying to get these clowns into line since the blame the mayor blame ticketing fiasco, but in any case, I’m fairly sure I know where his sympathies lie.
Doesn’t address where the change really needs to come from, but a pet program idea I had was a bike cam loaner program. Ideally the city, probably more realistically bike-pgh buys these things.
Any cyclist facing repeat intimidation on certain routes at certain times can borrow for up to say, two months at a time with an appropriate deposit they get back when they return the cam (or get hit damaging the cam, but hopefully not that).
If we could convince city council to pass a civil-liability law like this (http://la.streetsblog.org/2011/09/27/first-of-its-kind-cyclist-anti-harassment-becomes-law-in-los-angeles/) it’d be awesome.
E-mail your Council person: I have e-mailed mine about that potential law. However, considering how the 4 Ft law is seemingly never enforced, I don’t know how much effect this will have but doesn’t mean that it’s not worth trying. I also believe the new Police Chief, Chief McClay is aware of new laws focusing on bike/ped protection such as undercover bike cops. While I don’t know of anything in the works, it’s good to hear that it’s on his radar.
^ See my recent post on the “Dangerous Drivers” thread. The BIKE COPS don’t even know the bike laws, or seem to care.
The advantage of enacting the above law as a civil liability is that it is up to the biker to pursue damages/enforcement. This way it takes the burden off of police wrt enforcement while also giving the biker some take-home cash.
Stu, that was pretty close. Not sure why someone would do something like that, but we live in a pretty selfish society. The more selfish people are, the worse it is for cyclists. We aren’t the lowest on the pecking order, but pretty close. Pedestrians are a little lower, but not much.
Yes, with LA’s law, if you can prove harassment from the driver, you and your attorney can sue the driver directly, and collect your attorney fees and court costs plus a minimum of $1000 if you win. The police aren’t involved.
Of course, a civil action like that won’t result in jail time or points or any other criminal penalty for the driver; all he’ll lose is money. But perhaps enough of it to make him a more careful driver next time.
If PA passed a law like this, then maybe Edgar Snyder could get money for you!
Hey that’s better than nothing. In my letter, I mentioned that a lot more bikers are using cameras. If the law was in place in the manner described, it’s inevitable that someone would get penalized under it without police needed for enforcement. If that was publicized, it could change behavior in some way.
edmonds59, I read the comment about bike police and bike laws before posting that, but I have heard that the new Chief is more knowledgeable on the subject so we might see some improvement in that area.
Reviving this old thread for some new facts:
Better Signs Could Help Reduce Friction Between Motorists, Bicyclists https://news.ncsu.edu/2015/08/betterbikesigns/
Academic paper of above article
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