Yesterday I was biking, in the bike lane, southbound on Webster street. I approached a red light at an intersection where right turns are allowed (it might have been McAllister). I looked behind me to see if any cars were approaching. There was a taxi signaling a right turn. Being courteous, and following the fucking law, I moved into the lane to my left so that the taxi driver would be able to merge into the right-most lane (that’s what the dashes are for) and make his turn. Instead, he pulled up to my left, stopped, and shouted out of his window “I’m going to need to make a turn here”. I replied along the lines of “Yes, you’re supposed to use this lane” pointing to my right. Before I even finished he yelled aggressively “NO; YOU’RE THE BIKE LANE, YOU NEED TO BE THERE” though I didn’t catch that second sentence clearly because at that point he had made his right turn in front of me and was speeding away.

Just to be very clear: when cars want to make a right turn, they are not supposed to cut in front of cyclists. That’s how a lot of accidents happen. They are supposed to merge into the right-most lane first. Check out this page on the Bike Coalition’s website titled Bike Lanes & Right Turns, which quotes CA vehicle code 21717:

21717.  Whenever it is necessary for the driver of a motor vehicle to cross a bicycle lane that is adjacent to his lane of travel to make a turn, the driver shall drive the motor vehicle into the bicycle lane prior to making the turn and shall make the turn pursuant to Section 22100. 

Interestingly, the Bike Coalition page states that they teach new taxi drivers the rules of the road. I guess yesterday’s taxi driver was playing hooky that day so he could spend it yelling and throwing peanuts at people who biked by his porch. (Yes, I’m convinced that’s how he spends his days off)

It’s alarming that this guy, who drives a car for a living, does not follow the rules of the road. More alarming yet, he is ignorant of the rules of the road. To top it off, he is obnoxious, self-righteous and aggressive in his ignorance. Should this be called Taxiing à l’Americana?

In any case, the taxi company was DeSoto. If you’re one of the lone souls who has stumbled on this blog I encourage you to call them and tell them off.

Continuing on my road after this altercation, I reach Market and Octavia. At the intersection a cyclist had just been hit by a car and was receiving help from paramedics. No obvious injuries as far as I saw, but the guy was seated and looked very dazed.

Two days earlier, on Thursday night, I witnessed a woman on a motorcycle get hit by a car on Divisadero. There were no obvious injuries, but it took the woman a long time to be able to get up, she was very dazed, and will probably have some serious back issues. She told me and the other people gathered there to help that she was about to celebrate her 65th birthday in a few days.

So I have a humble plea to drivers: please don’t ruin old ladies’ birthday celebrations by hitting them with your cars. In fact, please just refrain from hitting people on bikes and motorcycles generally.

To close this Sunday edition I’ll leave you with a couple pictures of fine parking on Valencia yesterday.

valencia car in bike lane

valencia car in bike lane1