Get in the bike lane!

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Marko82
Participant
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I thought I’d start a separate thread that we could use to discuss any incidents of “bikelash” that we run up against.

With the protected bike lanes recently installed on Penn etc. we are bound to get instances of driver negative reaction, and maybe by sharing those stories here we can address some of them in more constructive ways. There are threads here already for dangerous drivers and letters to the editor, so feel free to continue posting there. But we don’t have a thread to discuss instances of driver anger that we are using the bike lanes inappropriately (or not at all). So feel free to discuss pro/con reasons and interactions here.


Marko82
Participant
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I was in Mckeesport Sunday afternoon riding the GAP trail with a friend. On our return trip we decided to take River road that goes past ELG Metals on the West bank of the Yough. and then stay on Liberty Way down to the little neighborhood where the rivers meet. http://goo.gl/maps/RuZTw

Since our intention was to travel straight onto Liberty we stayed in the roadway and did not get on the separated bike path. The bike path is great, but it leads you up to the 15th street bridge and we were not going that way. As we were nearing the stop sign a car pulled along side of us with the driver frantically pointing over to the trail. The car had given us plenty of space and was not aggressive at all, so safety wasn’t a concern. But the driver was so worked up and animated that it looked as though she was going to blow a gasket. Since there were literally no other cars within sight, I turned around and went behind the car to get over to the driver’s window in order to calmly (honest!) speak to the driver. It was a white woman in her 60’s and her face was bright red and she could hardly breath she was yelling so much. She kept repeating that we needed to be in the bike lane and shouldn’t be in the road. When I told her we were going straight she didn’t care. I mentioned that there is no law requiring us to use the path and she said “the law of common sense” says we should not be in the road. This went on for about a minute, when a cop car pulled up behind her (just a coincidence). I motioned for the cop that his assistance would be appreciated, at which point the woman decided she didn’t want to stick around and discuss this anymore.

When I told the cop what had happened he told me he would not have been so generous and would have used a more colorful response toward the woman than I, and he agreed that our being in the roadway was ok.

So the good news is that at least this one cop gets it. But I’m sure that woman is still fuming about the interaction and I honestly don’t think anything will ever change her mind.


edmonds59
Participant
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Cool! Good cop.
Interesting that a perfectly law abiding citizen took off when a cop showed up. I suspect she already knew she was wrong and didn’t want to have it confirmed. Her perceived advantage of bullying from her metal box evaporated into air.


rsprake
Participant
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Awesome response from the cop.


andyc
Member
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Strange – I was out the other day on River Rd going the same way and doing the same.

The motorist behind me patiently drove behind me without passing, honking or anything. I was on the far right so that he could pass (plenty of room for everyone there really [low traffic, slow, good visibility]) but he just waited until the T and then we went our separate ways.


andyc
Member
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Also, the google maps images are out of date – the road is indeed open now and can be a pleasant alternative way back to Mckeesport.


Marko82
Participant
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Yeah, this whole interaction was strange. We were not “taking the lane” either. This road is wide & we were riding to the right. The driver complained about having to cross the double yellow -which she didn’t – but that was ok because there was plenty of room for both of us to operate our vehicles safely & there was no other traffic.

Our discussion riding along after the interaction was that this woman just doesn’t think it is safe for cars and bikes to mix. It might be that she is honestly afraid of hitting a cyclist, and this might be because she has less than full confidence in HER abilities to judge distances, etc. I’m not sure if this is true, but the lady did seem to have some limitations in coherent response to a benign situation.


edmonds59
Participant
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Sadly, a common thread among many drivers seems to be that their lives will be negatively impacted if they hit a bicyclist. The old “Keep your face away from my fist” syndrome.


Pierce
Participant
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If there’s been any negative impact to all the people that have hit me, I sure haven’t seen it


jonawebb
Participant
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“Sadly, a common thread among many drivers seems to be that their lives will be negatively impacted if they hit a bicyclist.”
Whereas, we all know that they will at worst get a traffic ticket. Stop worrying, motorists!
I learned at my mother’s knee how to deal with this sort of behavior: passive aggression. Pretend not to hear, or misunderstand them: “You’re saying I’m doing a great job biking? Thanks!” Drives ’em crazy. I got a lady to drive all the way from Beechwood and Forbes, through Douglas Street and Shady, to yell at me at the top of Beacon Street — twice, she made an illegal U-turn so she could do it some more — once. Pure joy on my part. I imagine her frothing, in a corner somewhere, afterwards.


Drewbacca
Participant
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You never know what happens after the interaction is over… the other week at a campfire someone let known their opinions of cyclist behavior and I had the opportunity to politely and calmly steer the person in a more positive direction/understanding. Even got a bit of peer-pressure going when two other people spoke up in defense of cyclists immediately.


rsprake
Participant
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I was taking the lane on Forbes through Frick Park one evening with no traffic what so ever and doing close to 30 mph. A few cars pass me in the other lane with no problem. Then one asshat gets behind me and lays on the horn. I look over my shoulder, point to the other lane and continue. She lays on the horn some more. She finally passes me with no problem and we end up next to each other, her in back of another car at the Braddock intersection. I look at her, and ask what her problem was. She stares straight ahead. I ask her again, and she rolls down her window and says “you have your own lane.”

That was her logic. I have my own lane. She had her own too. People are dumb.


Pierce
Participant
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Some asswipe threw change at me while I was IN that fucking bike lane a month or so ago. I was trying to figure out whether Braddock Ave or East End Ave was better for cycling. Now I’ve been assaulted in both.


toastyoats
Participant
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Got bikelash today from one of Pittsburgh’s finest….

Waiting at the corner of Negley Run and East Liberty Blvd I saw a car parked in the newish bike lane along Collins Ave. A cop happened to be going by so I flagged her down and kindly asked her to ask him to move forward a 1/2 block to the legal street parking. She did it, but they both gave me a hard time about it (I was very kind and thankful through the whole exchange and do not think it was an unreasonable request).

Then another cop comes up on the other side of the road – she leans out the window and yells something along the lines of “You are just like all those other bicycle people running red lights breaking the law yada yada”. Really pissed me off because I absolutely DO NOT EVER ride like that. Also it seems really unprofessional for a police officer to talk to someone like that with no provocation.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get car numbers, names, etc before they both drove off, so not sure if anything would come out of this if I tried lodging a complaint?


Drewbacca
Participant
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I always complain… even if it is ignored, if the complaints pile up against the same officer then that gives those in power the tools they need to deal with said person.


neilmd
Member
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it would be interesting to get on the new chief’s radar. I’m not sure the FOP like him.


Mick
Participant
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@ drewbacca if the complaints pile up against the same officer then that gives those in power the tools they need to deal with said person.

I don’t believe this is true.

I saw Sgt Eugene Hlavak recently at an Eat and Park. He had his uniform and name tag on.

He was flirting with one of my favorite waitresses. My next visit, I suggested that she google his name.

It would be nice if we had a Civilian Review Board with some teeth to it. It would be nice not to spend good tax money paying guys like Hlavak and his (all too common) ilk.

I bet we could could get a nice bike lane with the money Hlavak’s been paid by the city.


jonawebb
Participant
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@mick, agree. But if folks don’t complain, they’re not even taking this minimal step to try to make things better. They’re just giving up. We don’t want to give up, do we?


polecatspeaks
Member
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I had this happen to me just this weekend. Coming back from the Pumphouse to Sandcastle, we decided to take the road instead of the trail/sidewalk. We were moving along at a good clip and normally there doesn’t seem to be a problem with us using the road, as the lanes (both of them) are wide enough for cars and busses to pass comfortably.

Coming out of Costco, a car turns going the opposite direction and the driver leans out the window, looking at us (not the road) and screams:

“Get on the sidewalk, ASSHOLES!!”

Yup, a bit of back lash there…


mjacobPGH
Member
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If that police officer hates that cyclists run lights, why doesn’t she take it upon herself to use her authority to write tickets for them? I have a guess but I won’t say.

Speaking of enforcement, if people don’t want cyclists using the vehicle lanes in the Waterfront(which are gigantic and mostly not heavily used), then get rid of those stupid tiny stop signs just for bikers at every single entrance to a business along that stretch. The road is perfectly legal, the alternative is begging for cyclists to break the law and perhaps get cited as we saw before in this location.


Ahlir
Participant
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At the Waterfront, use the back alley behind the stores: hardly any cars and no stop signs (well, maybe one).

From the east, go up the street next to Lowe’s. From the west, go through the cinema parking lot, past Macy’s, cross at the light and bear right through the parking lot. A couple of stops signs.

Yes, car people should learn some manners. In the meanwhile…


edmonds59
Participant
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“it would be interesting to get on the new chief’s radar. I’m not sure the FOP like him.”
I haven’t heard anything regarding the opinion of the rank and file of the new chief, but if I see any evidence that the FOP doesn’t like him, I’m starting a fan club for him.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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FWIW, WESA is hosting a forum with Mayor Peduto and (Acting) Chief McLay tonight: http://wesa.fm/post/join-us-community-forum-mayor-peduto-acting-police-chief-mclay


RustyRed
Member
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This evening, a guy yelled “You’re gonna get hit by a car!” from across the street at me along the Blvd of the Allies.


jonawebb
Participant
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I was riding into Akron Friday on a four lane road, taking the right lane, and a guy at the bus stop yelled at me, “You are a grade-A douchebag.” Ahem. Grade-A.


urbanrider
Participant
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Not sure if this is what you had in mind…

I was riding inbound on Penn Ave just past the 16th St bridge and the cop at the Wholey’s cold storage intersection in the morning stopped traffic and shouted at me to “get in the bike lane”, which I’m pretty sure isn’t a requirement just because there’s a dedicated bike lane. I wasn’t about to argue, but someone needs to give this guy a refresher on rules of the road.


mjacobPGH
Member
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Maybe I’ll get my own form of “bikelash” for saying this, but why not use the dedicated lane on Penn? I can understand in other places like Schenley where it may not be convenient in certain cases, but I see no reason not to be in the lane on Penn as I use it every single day to commute. I’d say that a pretty large majority of cyclists, including those on this board, want more bike infrastructure. However, we run the risk of not getting more infrastructure if we don’t use the existing infrastructure that we have especially when it’s designed in such a way that there’s no good reason not to use it(in my opinion though I will certainly consider any reason posed).


Mikhail
Member
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but why not use the dedicated lane on Penn?

I use it but if I need to need a left turn (incoming direction) then I am out it long before intersection.


mjacobPGH
Member
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I’ve never been tempted to get out of the bike lane prior to my left turn at Penn and 10th inbound. That sounds like you are then in the traffic lane, cross two lanes of bike traffic, and an intersection with pedestrians. I do kind of get out of the lane(into the space with bollards if necessary) outbound and turn left to go to Smallman at Penn and 15th. However, in the scenario described, I see no reason not to use the bike lane other than because you don’t “have to.” I understand that we don’t have to use bike lanes just like we don’t have to bike as far as physically possible to the right of the roadway. However, I’m not sure it’s doing cyclists any favors by biking in the road when ample infrastructure is available apparently to prove a point.


Mikhail
Member
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I see no reason not to use the bike lane other than because you don’t “have to.”

Speed is another reason. If I am going 20-23 then I don’t want to interfere with other bicyclists (if there are many). I consider those bike lanes exactly like trails with 15 mph speed limit when they are crowded.

I understand that we don’t have to use bike lanes just like we don’t have to bike as far as physically possible to the right of the roadway.

I think there is no requirement for “physically” It’s up to bicyclist to define what is as far right as possible and it depends on bicycle, skill. road conditions, and weather conditions. Just an example — if it’s raining up to the level that some paddle are on shoulder, shoulder has some gravel (or just not clean) then there is no way I am going to use on my road bike. I would stay in place where right tires of cars go. If it’s wet I would stay away from any metal covers — they are just too slippery for 23 mm tires.


mjacobPGH
Member
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To be honest, the most bikers I’ve seen at once in the Penn bike lane during my commutes has probably been 6 pretty decently spread out. Today, two guys in front of me were probably going in the 20-25 mph range as I was trailing going 18. I’ve never had an issue passing slower bikers nor do I mind slowing down some if necessary since it won’t make much of a difference in how quickly I get to work. Sometimes I feel as cyclists were constantly on a PR campaign to combat the negative stereotype we receive. However, I think biking in the middle of the road when there is a very good bike lane right next to you is validating some of those stereotypes. I think having this discussion is good because it does demonstrate that, just because we all share the love for biking, we aren’t some monolithic group that agrees on everything. My comment on the “as physically far right as possible” had nothing to do with the wording of the law but more the perception of what drivers think we should do much like bike lanes.


Mikhail
Member
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or do I mind slowing down some if necessary since it won’t make much of a difference in how quickly I get to work

Somehow you consider only one type of bicycling. Commuting is just one of them. :) Group ride of roadies going through downtown is pretty usual event. And it look interesting when 15-20 people are trying to pass on slow rider in a cycle track. :) So we (as club) plan our rides in some different ways:
1. Use cyclo tracks to show our support and we ride it slowly and carefully. And this is usually happens (during beginning of a ride during warm up if ride is fast).
2. If ride is fast and warm up has been finished then we stay on a road.
3. If ride is with novice riders or pure recreational then we use cyclo tracks.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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congrats on the “grade A douchebag” title, Jon!


Marko82
Participant
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There is way too much to hate about this video from Louisville TV news -bad drivers, bad cyclists, bad policing, and bad reporting. But please take the time to view it because I think it is worth discussing what they (all of them) are doing wrong.

http://www.wave3.com/story/27405753/drivers-bicyclists-ignoring-the-law-along-new-bike-lanes


Vannevar
Participant
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Boy, that article is a near- case study example of pot stirring.
Find one jerk cyclist willing to be quoted
Attribute negative emotions to unspecified, unquoted drivers
Ridicule the mayor for a sense of perspective
Ask the bike club pres, Who’s job is it to educate people?

Claim evidence (camera footage) without any actual numbers
(which would look like: we filmed 300 cars and 30 bikes. 7 cars drove in the bike-only lane. X cars and Y cyclists rolled through the stop sign. 1 cyclist rode the wrong-way. 1 UPS truck parked in the bike lane)

Use mush-words to bring the narrative arc back to the agenda:

“Most of it is not at all complicated,” Adams said.

Still, there are at least three different kinds of bike lanes — separate, shared and buffered — spread out on dozens of different streets around the city.

Image a similar biased grasp for negative grounding on traffic signals:
Still, there are red, yellow, and green lights – some circles, some arrows; most steady, but some blinking — spread out on literally hundreds of streets around the city. The current administration has chosen to replace some traditional lights with LED units, adding to the complexity drivers must face on a daily basis.

This is, of course, in the state where Cherokee Schill got arrested for taking the lane. (sidebar: I understand she’s making a political announcement today)


Vannevar
Participant
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I so completely missed the chance to include this in the parallel-universe description of traffic signal complexity: Several color-blind drivers say they feel ungruntled by color-coded traffic signals. The mayor had no response.

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