|Should the Cyclist Following the Blue Arrows "Hold His Line"or Instead Occupy the Middle Lane Until the Impatient Pickup Driver Passes on the Right?|
OR - Hold His Line? Photo from Google Maps
Since we're now in the "George W Bush ridiculously early Daylight let's pretend we're savings time," I was riding in to work in the predawn darkness. I had my usual lighting and reflector, and the "flame thrower"headlight all lit as I waited in the "left turn only" lane on Bellaire at the red light. My intention was to turn left on to E Hurst Blvd and then to upset Rantwick's mom by taking a shortcut into the parking lot where I work. Simply put, I was planning to take the line of the blue arrows.
While I waited, up behind me came a pickup truck, whose driver stopped behind me in the left turn lane. This is a situation that happens pretty much every day, except when I take Arwine (the street of the dangerous grate) instead. I'm not really sure which route is quicker, so I more or less alternate.
The usual scenario is when motorists stop behind me, they may be irritated by a cyclist in front of them, but aren't really too perturbed since it isn't a cyclist they've already passed who sneaks in front of them. The more thoughtful might be amazed that the cyclist is actually WAITING for the light to change. Either way, they see where I'm going and then they pick a different lane. Since I'm going right, they adjust course a quarter inch turn of their steering wheel and probably don't even realize it.
This morning, however, it was different. For reasons completely unknown, the driver of the pickup, decided to take the course of the red arrows and pass the cyclist ON THE RIGHT. Well, while it was a little peculiar to know a motorist was going to attempt an "on the right" pass IN A TURN, in a situation where I was almost certainly going to go into the right lane, it mainly presented me with a momentary dilemma. Namely, do I simply hold my line and see what the guy does or do I adjust my line slightly to ride into the middle lane until the pickup driver passes on the right? As I turned, the truck got closer, bit by bit, off to my right. Unlike you might imagine, I really had a fair amount of time to contemplate the courses of action I had. The pickup really couldn't turn much sharper at the speed the driver was attempting to develop and I am old and feeble enough that accelerating ahead of him wasn't really an option even IF I'd been so inclined.
My choice: I held my line. The motorist, realizing he'd done a boo boo, slowed, and then moved to pass me via the middle lane. He felt it necessary to hit the accelerator and burn an extra gallon or so of gas, but otherwise didn't honk or do anything else inappropriate.
What would YOU have done?
Now, supposing I'd been dumb and we'd collided, would this have been a "left cross" or a "hit from behind?" And would the British government have blamed me for wearing "dark clothes" even though my bike was well lit and the motorist clearly had no reason to not see me, having previously stopped behind me? And, finally, does the chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight? Problems such as this are MUCH nicer than the motorist in the teal Escort.
Cycling MAY be fun and safe, but sometimes it is "interesting" as well...