Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bike Lanes In the Denver Area

Greetings Readers

There are bikes lanes that are scattered throughout the streets of Denver and surrounding suburbs. These bike lanes vary from being located in major thoroughfares to isolated side streets.

Bikes lanes are identified pretty clearly by signage and markings on the street. Sometimes, there are bike lanes on either side of the street and sometimes there is only one bike lane on one side of the street.

What I think is that we can all agree that a designated bike lane is only for bikes. I believe in that. I believe that the bike lane should only be used for bikes (non-motorized of course). I also believe that I have the right of way when traveling in the right direction of the bike lane.

But. I also believe in taking responsibility. I know, I know readers – that is actually what I said. I do take responsibility to a certain extent.

There are days that I am pissed off when I see a runner, a walk, or a dog walker in the bike lane that I am riding in. Whether going in the same direction or coming from the opposite direction. If I am approaching him/her from the back I yell/shout coming “on your left” way in advanced.

Somehow walkers, runners and dog walkers have this uncanny need to keep walking in straight line and turn around with that attitude like Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver “Are you talking to me?”

Other times those runners and walker cannot hear me yelling because of earphones/headphones that they may be wearing. I am guilty of this infraction most of time myself. So there is less anger from me, but I am still angry that this runner/walker is in the bike lane as opposed to that nice 2 to 5 foot wide sidewalk that parallel to the bike lane.

Other days I simply could give a fuck. I simply make a slight adjustment in my direction and go by the runner, walker or dog walker. I do not say a word nor even give the dramatic head turn that says “who do the fuck do you think you are?” More often than not this is usually the option that I choose.

Should I be approaching the walker, runner or dog walker in the opposite direction I usually use hand signals to indicate to move. I also yell/shout at them to move to their left/right – whichever side the runner or walker is near to the curb.

As one blogger stated about legality I would be “entitled” to the designated bike lane. I do agree. Wholeheartedly. But I have a certain responsibility to myself.

I also have to use common sense. Do I make someone say “fuck you” to me since I told the runner/walker that this is a bike lane for bikes? Do I really want to talk? Should I just go around the runner/walker?

Now readers, this is where the line of what is right and not right on what I do in the bike lanes every now and then. On what I am about to tell you from this point on readers is that - I do not advocate that you should do/attempt this at all. Nor will I be responsible for any such acts that you may take upon yourself to imitate what I will describe.

Sometimes, I see a runner who is running in the same direction that I am biking in the bike lane. I get pissed off right at that moment, because I am in the bike lane and the runner is in the bike lane.

Now, in this particular scenario I have been seeing this runner every now and then on my biking route – so seeing this runner once more and I know this runner is going to ignore me. Period.

I only do one thing – I bike (ride) as close as I can to this runner when I bike right up next to him/her. I do not do this at an insane speed, but at an average pace. More often than not I startle them from out of their world. Sometimes I hear yelling from them, depending on how loud my music is playing. Cuss words are usually what is being yelled. More to the point - yelling at me. Other runners are just used to riders riding close to them and I am sure brush it off as a “pitfall” from running in the bike lane.

Yet, the runners/walkers that are yelling, cussing, or whatever - they are looking at my back as I ride off into distance and I do not turn around to acknowledge them at all. I know this gesture just infuriates them even more. Silence is a powerful tool as opposed to cussing back to whomever.

I do not ever touch/hit another runner/walker and most of the time I will not engage in conversation with them. Yes – I wrote “most of the time.” As I mentioned in a post a while back I am like Tony Soprano or he is like me. I am not happy until someone else is miserable on those certain days of mine I choose to feel that particular way. And on those days getting into a heated conversation with another person I get a certain pleasure of feeding off someone else’s anger. I tried to type (describe) this feeling, but I cannot seem to get that feeling into words.

Should I be riding in the bike lane and a runner/walker is approaching me from the opposite direction there is not one universal thing I can do about this encounter in the bike lane.

I do not know if the runner/walker will keep running straight at me and not move an inch. I do not know if the runner/walker will move at the last second. I do not know if the runner will throw an elbow into my side. There are many I don’t know.

Yet, there is one way that I deal with the oncoming runner/walker. Though this only applies when I am not in a hurry. If I have to be somewhere at a certain time I will simply just move and let the runner/walker have the right of way of the bike lane.

When I see the runner/walker approaching and no attempt by the runner/walker to move out of the way I already have a MO that I do every time in this sort of situation. When I feel I am at a certain distance from the runner/walker that works for me I will come to a complete stop in the bike lane and just stand there straddling my bike. I make no effort to move, to dismount or appear to look like I stop for a reason. I just stop and don’t move. Just like Rosa Parks – I’m not moving.

When I do stop in the bike lane this usually gets the runner/walker talking/gesturing at me. Oh the talk that comes out of some people’s mouth. Of course, I have a mouth that says some incredible shit from time to time too. I’m no saint. Sometimes I hear what is said by the runner/walker, but sometimes I don’t. Does not matter, what does matter is that the runner/walker had to alter his/her course and go around me. Oh the satisfaction I get from such a stop I made in the bike lane. Just for spite sometimes I will add by saying that this is a bike lane designated for bikes. From that you can guess the type of responses I get. Cuss words galore most of the time

You know readers I have rambled a bit on this subject and I really did not get to the point of this subject. With that I am going to continue later....

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

No comments: