Friday, May 2, 2014

Impatient maneuvers

It's been a bit chilly for the beginning of May (except this weekend). I had to wear gloves on my last morning commutes and on the top of that - it rained nearly daily. The kind of spring weather I would expect in the end of March.

So the weather has not been very motivating and I didn't really have time to go for any longer rides recently, other than my regular commute. And as I mentioned a while ago, my commute has changed mid March - I use the Minuteman Bikeway regularly now. This means that I regularly meet other cyclists on my way to/from work and their behavior often leaves me puzzled.

The first thing I immediately noticed was how many cyclists ride to work in lycra clothing. I guess that they don't want to spoil the looks of their brand new road bikes by wearing "inappropriate" clothing, but seriously - what's good on a recreational ride is not necessary good during your regular commute. It's unlikely that your commute is 100 miles long so you really don't need those diaper shorts and lycra jerseys.

But I can understand that everyone has different preferences when it comes to clothing choices. What I don't understand at all is those crazy, impatient maneuvers I witnessed multiple times during my commute.

The Minuteman Bikeway crosses multiple busy streets and there are button-activated crossing signals that help stopping rushing car traffic and crossing those streets safely. I request these signals routinely on my commute - it's obviously safer this way than trying to play the frog and hop across the street between speeding cars.
But it looks like some people just hate to wait, even about 15sec. - that's what it typically takes for lights to change once you push the button. So these impatient cyclists just ignore the crosswalk lights completely and instead turn right from the path onto the street, to merge with the car traffic. Next, they take the lane and slow down watching onto the opposite traffic. Once they spot a hole between cars, large enough to fit in, they take a sharp turn left, crossing the opposite traffic lane in front of approaching vehicle - essentially executing an u-turn in the middle of the road. Then they ride back to meet with the bike path on their right, which they immediately take, continuing their ride.

The complexity and danger of this maneuver leaves me puzzled, especially considering how little time one needs to wait to get a green light and cross the street safely without the risk of being hit by a car. I have seen this trick pulled by men and women, old and young. It just seems to me that most people are extremely impatient and they would rather put themselves in danger saving some illusionary seconds on their commute than taking it easy and enjoying the ride.
"I have no idea what I am doing" (Found somewhere on the internets!)

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