Monday, May 3

Daily Mistakes

Anita, Ready to Turn Left on FM1709
Both Photos from Google Streetview
In my post, here, I mentioned that I make mistakes every day on my commute. Recently, I was northbound on Anita in Keller, waiting in the left turn lane for the light to change at the intersection of Anita and FM1709. While waiting, I didn’t hang my left arm out to dispel possible confusion amongst the southbound left turning motorists across the intersection about my intent. When the light changed, the lead motorist hung back a bit, knowing that cyclists will often behave unpredictably. Making the best of my failure to confirm my intentions ahead of time, I made my left as obviously and quickly as possible.

The same day, as it turned out, I had to come home early. On the way home, I encountered a lot of “pick the kids up from school in the car” parents that I rarely encounter. Adjacent to one elementary school, I had to make a left turn. I had my left arm out (not wanting to repeat the morning mistake). It took me several extra minutes to make my left due to the repeated “nice” people that wanted me to turn left in front of them, and who were reluctant to exercise their right of way. Perhaps it was the elementary school context, though I am pretty clearly not an elementary school student. Eventually, there was enough of a break in the traffic for me to turn without giving in to the “cyclists never follow the rules” stereotype, and before those behind me decided to try passing on the right out of frustration. The next morning caused me to reflect on that decision, and its relationship with “the Land Rover Rule.”

That morning, it was wet and misting. I elected to drive the Land Rover to work, and stopped by an outlet of a major coffee chain. Leaving the parking lot, I waited to make a left, and was waved on by someone in a Toyota Land Cruiser. I gracefully went, mentally noting the comparison to me NOT going yesterday afternoon on the bike. Had I been riding my bike, I’d have waited, waving the lady on, and maybe even have put my foot down if necessary.

The point is, it is sometimes difficult to know what is the right/best thing to do and what is overreaction. It can be a fine line between being a road user that is clueless and one with a chip on one’s shoulder.

Woodland Springs Elementary School Intersection
Lots of Parents Oncoming when School Lets Out!

4 comments:

Oldfool said...

My rule is never ever trust any car drivers judgment including mine when I am driving. They can wave all they want but until I see for myself I will not go. I do, however, acknowledge their courtesy.
I like your land rover rule.

Steve A said...

I think Oldfool and I got our "chips" from the same bin...

Rantwick said...

Yeah, I like your land rover rule too. If I would do it in the car... thankfully you're relatively high on a bike so you sight lines are good.

Anonymous said...

Your position in the left-turn lane was a pretty effective signal in and of itself. Extending your left arm for the entire 8 seconds is not necessary (though it is a good idea to make that signal a couple of times.)

If someone waves me on, AND IT IS CLEARLY OTHERWISE SAFE, I graciously accept their courtesy. Rejecting courtesy for the sake of a stand on principle is also discourteous. The other guy doesn't understand my principle, all he knows is that he was trying to be nice and here this jerk is throwing it back in his face. So... I'm careful about that.

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