Dude! Who do you think you’re honking at?
Photo by Mighk
Today was a stellar day! The weather was perfect and my work for today consisted of shooting on-bike video for the Law Enforcement Toolkit. The objective was to shoot the best practices of bicycle driving with a uniformed officer. My subject was Bill Edgar of OPD (with appearances by Mighk). Bill runs the bicycle training program and trains bike patrol officers all over North America.
One important segment of the program deals with a cyclist’s use of a “sub-standard width” lane. For the purpose of the statute, that’s a lane less than 14 feet wide. A cyclist is allowed the full use of a sub-standard* lane — meaning you can ride anywhere in it you choose and motorists must change lanes to pass. The lane in the photo above (Princeton St) has 13 feet of usable pavement (from the gutter seam to the lane line). It looks pretty wide with a small car in it, but it’s too tight to share with SUVs or large commercial vehicles. A cyclist’s best position in the lane is one that makes it clear to motorists that they have to change lanes.
Unfortunately, some motorists resent having to change lanes, and they make a big fuss about it.
So, as I was riding directly behind Bill on Princeton, one such motorist came upon us. Unable to see any details of the cyclist in front of me, he laid on the horn to try and intimidate us out of his way. That’s when Bill moved left into view… and the horn went silent.
It’s unbelievable that the guy went on sassing Bill after we stopped. I guess that’s the personality of someone who would honk like that (frequently wrong but never in doubt). The video doesn’t show it, but he was shaking like a schoolboy. I’m guessing his bravado was a cover for having peed in his pants.
We actually did demonstrate 2-abreast riding in a sub-standard lane (including Princeton St) with Mighk. Oddly enough, there was no honking.
Help us stop hostile behavior
The Law Enforcement Toolkit is a product of the Florida Bicycle Association. The first phase has been funded and is almost ready for beta testing, but we need more funding to complete the training program and implement it in Police Departments around the state. The purpose of the LE Toolkit is to educate traffic enforcement officers about the rights and responsibilities of bicycle drivers. Informed law enforcement is key to changing the culture and making the road system safer and more civil for everyone. Please help support this program with an individual, club or business membership, or a tax-deductible donation.
*Sub-standard is a misleading term, since >90% of the lanes in Central Florida are less than 14ft wide.