Before you yell, you better be right!

Over the past four days, we’ve had a few run-ins with cars where they were totally in the wrong, and yet, proceeded to blame us, citing what we should have done. In SF, I’ve never had this much blame for when a simple “my bad” or “sorry” would have done; but to turn it around and blame us? Sorry but YOU ARE WRONG.

Instance #1

Location: SE Stark and 29th.
Time: Saturday night.
Bikes: Cruising with the flow of traffic west down SE Stark Street coming up to 29th Ave on the right.
Car: backing up INTO traffic on Stark from 29th Ave. He does this rapidly so me and my girlfriend have to slam on our squeaky wet brakes (which probably saved our lives, note to self: get bell or horn).

He yells from his car: “You should put lights on the front of your bikes!” FACT: we had lights on our bikes, one of them was brand new and super bright. Regardless of our bike status, he was back up his car INTO the intersection of a crowded street on a busy night. He was being unsafe and we had the right of way.

Verdict: Car = WRONG.

Instance #2

Location: NE Tillamook Ave. and 17th Ave.
Time: Sunday afternoon, overcast.
Bikes: We were riding our bikes east along Tillamook (a known bike route) when we come up to a STOP sign.
Car: Cross Tillamook at the intersection but didn’t have a stop sign and therefore the right of way.

We stop and he stops and waves us through, giving up his right of way. We have a special pet-peeve about this because it distrupts the flow of traffic and generates a feeling that cyclists need to get special care like an old lady crossing the road or something. So we reject the wave through, calling attention to the fact that they do not, in fact, have to stop. He continues to wave us through and points to the mobile phone he is currently using as if to say, it’s cool, I’m on the phone anyway. Phone use while driving (even sitting at a stop) has been illegal in Oregon for over a year. We yell for him to hang up his phone and continue down the street.

Verdict: Car = DUMB. Also, WRONG.

Instance #3

Location: N Williams and N Thompson Ave.
Time: Just now! (Tuesday, 3:30pm, drizzly).
Bikes: I am riding north on N Williams in the bike lane.
Car: turning right onto N Williams from N Thompson.

He juts out into the bike lane right in front of me and I brake and they squeak so he stops and I just go around. At this point, this happens all the time so I don’t even really care. But he makes his right after I pass and rolls his window down and shouts out: “I had the right of way!” I yell back that actually no he did not and that he was wrong. He yelled some more and rolled his window and drove away. Sorry, but again, turning right onto a cross street never has the right of way over the cross street’s traffic.

Verdict: Car = SO WRONG.

Sheesh!

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