My commute to work is fairly short…about 5 miles round trip, and mostly through residential until a short section which I call the gauntlet, but that’s fodder for another post. Yesterday I had to head just South of town to Bush Park, and realized I would have to cross a section of Commercial street I hate, down at Mission Street. There are 3-4 lanes down there, leading to a blind spot hill with a stop light right over the hill. In addition to the blind spot hill just before the light, the road bends a bit, and then traffic can go straight, left, or right at that intersection. It’s nasty and if you ask other cyclists, has a reputation for being dangerous.
As I headed up Commercial I decided I would turn left one street earlier, on Leslie, so I checked traffic, which was clear and started crossing lanes. Before you get to Leslie, a left turn lane appears and 3 lanes become 4, and I was just about to move into that last lane from the 3 lane on the left hand side, when a car came along side me in the lane and went by at a slower speed and gave me some helpful advice.
The gentleman in the sedan slowed down so he could squeeze by me on the right (I had already started shifting left in my lane and was on the left edge, so I could get one more lane over) and as he went by, and a little close for comfort I might add, he shot his arm out and pointed over the roof of his car as if to say “get over on the right side of the road buddy.” I wanted to yell out something, even a sarcastic “thank you” or something, but then for a minute questioned my own understanding of bicycle rules of the road. So I got home and looked it up. Turns out, I was doing everything fine.
Take a look at the photo above…that’s me in the illustration above, well not really me, but that’s what I was doing. Now, it might have seemed, because I was moving over yet one more lane, that I was hanging to the left of the lane I was in, but I was actually headed toward the last lane in the road. At any rate, I’ll be sure to ‘take the lane’ more obviously next time, and yet, I’m sure I’ll still have plenty of folks trying to help me understand my place in the world as a bike commuter.
Need the skinny on the rules of the road? Download the Oregon DMV Bike manual from their site.