If Cyclists Think They’ve Got it Bad in NYC, Check Out L.A.
If you’re a New York City bike commuter and you’re feeling down about all of the pot holes, rude, dangerous drivers, and cops clipping locked bikes off of street furniture, two recent stories in LAist, the Los Angeles version of New York City’s Gothamist, might make you feel better:
The motorist with the heavy horn hand turns out to be Metro Bus Driver #XXXXX and she passes the cyclist so closely that his left hand touches the side of the bus as it speeds past him. The number #1 lane is empty and nothing serves to prevent the bus driver from changing lanes to pass the cyclist except for a failure on her part to acknowledge the cyclist’s right to ride the streets of Los Angeles without having his life threatened.
The bus proceeds down Hollywood Boulevard to a bus stop at Wilton and stops. The cyclist pulls up on the driver’s side of the bus and addresses the bus driver informing her that honking at a cyclist with no room to spare will only serve to startle the cyclist and cause a dangerous situation and that as a professional driver she should know that if the lane is too narrow to share, she should change lanes in order to pass without endangering the safety of the cyclist.
The driver screams "You were in my way. You need to get off the road!" She slams the window shut.
I was riding to work as a graduate research assistant for my PhD studies at UCLA at around 10:40am Tuesday morning (August 21, 2007). I was westbound on Wilshire preparing to make a left turn onto Spalding from the left turn lane when a black Ford Explorer swerved into my right of way, nearly knocking me over into oncoming traffic. I was just able to maneuver out of the way to avoid a collision.
As soon as I made the left onto Spalding the black Explorer quickly accelerated and drove right up to my rear wheel and began to honk at me. I slowed down to pull over and then stopped. She stopped behind me and then I asked, "Why are you honking at me? You nearly killed me back there."
A police officer arrived a few minutes later and immediately yelled at me to go sit down on the curb with my bike without asking either of us what had happened. I started walking to the curb and told him that this woman had nearly killed me when she swerved into my lane. He then angrily yelled, "How stupid are you? What are you doing riding in the middle of the street with your bike blocking the road?"