Right of Way
Yesterday I rode the bike home on a cool, but clear, sunny day. Adding a front derailleur and smaller gears has taken a lot of stress off my knees as I ride the hills. I know this because I can now climb the stairs at work without grimacing. All props to Bernie at Pikesville Bikes for getting the Xootr kit to work properly.
Riding the long downhill through 25 mph residential streets on Cross-Country Boulevard towards Kelly (the intersection shown above) is exhilarating and usually uneventful. It isn’t obviously steep, but even with no pedaling gravity will pull you along faster and faster. The road is very wide with a concrete joint four to eight feet from the curb on each side. The concrete paving is smooth, then patched and bumpy, then scattered with gravel, so you don’t want to let yourself roll too fast. I ride about four feet off the curb and steer around the holes and cracks.
I passed a small car that looked ready to pull out from Sulgrave and expected it to overtake me, but I didn’t hear anything pulling up from behind. I was braking in anticipation of stopping at Kelly when I heard a car honking quite a way behind me. Turning to look when you’re braking hard is asking to vault over your handlebars, so I just ignored it, but whoever it was got right behind me and kept honking as if I was intruding on his stretch of road. Again, it is a very wide road and I was staying to the right.
I just stopped at the intersection, waited for another car to turn, ignored the honking and rode through. The honker turned right and I never bothered to look back. It was a minor irritation.
So I was amused to see the video on Gawker of a similar jerk in a big truck get his comeuppance after tailgating some woman in an SUV. SUV woman was doing fifty in the left lane of a small – and wet – two lane road, passing slower trucks in the right lane and looking to make a left turn. That didn’t suit Mr Truck Guy, who passed on the right, gave her the finger, skidded off the slick road into the median, and faces charges for leaving the scene.
Many Gawkommenters leapt to the tailgater’s defense. It seems that in the brave new libertarian America, you can’t deny anyone the freedom to go as fast as they want, whenever they want, but you can deny anyone the freedom to take their time, drive safely, be a little bit lost or maybe ride a bike to save gas and get some exercise.