Riding a bike in the city you run into this kind of thing constantly. Every pedestrian and driver thinks they are an expert about bicycle traffic laws and they are eager to inform you with their incorrect and dickish "knowledge". It's a very Seattle/Scandinavian way of being an ignorant dick - to cloak your sour misanthropy in condescension and enforcement of rules. (I'd much rather be yelled at by a New York stereotype who says "hey! wassa matta you, I'm walkin' here!" or whatever)
About a week ago we were riding along. We stopped at a stop sign and waited for the cars to pass. On the other side of the road I noticed a woman standing at the corner talking on her cell phone, just sort of ambling, certainly not making a move to cross. So we take off and ride through the intersection. As we're passing, the woman says "you know pedestrians still have the right of way".
Eh... as usual it took me a minute to register; I thought she was just talking on her cell phone call, but about half way down the block I realized it was directed at us. It's such badly placed hate; if you want to yell out hate at cyclists you should at least pick a time when the cyclists are doing something remotely wrong, there are plenty of dick cyclists out there, I'm sure you won't have to wait long to take out your sour vile rotten soul on them. And, you know, learn to fucking be a pedestrian, and get off your damn cell phone too.
There are frequent difficulties riding down the road. Many cars seem to think that cyclists are legally obligated to make way, or to ride as far to the right as possible. This is not correct. Cyclists are legally required to ride as far to the right as is *safe* for them to do so, except when turning. Generally to be safe, you should ride about three feet to the left of a parked car. People in parked cars do not watch out as they should, and as a cyclist you need to pre-reserve your swerve space, since you can not know when you will need it.
A large amount of the problem with this is that drivers are just so fucking stupid about what rules are important to follow exactly and which are okay to be flexible on. Often I will be riding along and some car will come up behind me and just stay behind me - even though the other side of the road is completely empty and all he has to do is pull out a little bit and go around. People in most of the world have no problem with this and do it constantly, but here in the US there is this bizarre unwillingness to cross the yellow line; oh god forbid I pull out across the yellow line a little bit, it is holy and inviolable. Hell, a lot of the times it's actually a road with two or more lanes going the same direction, and the driver won't even change into the left lane. Nah, I want to be in the right lane, fuck this fucking cyclist cock blocking me, I couldn't possibly be bothered to just move to the left lane. Often roads have a wide turn lane down the middle that noone is using ; hello, the fucking turn lane is an ideal way to pass safely around cyclists, you only need to go about halfway out into it, people going the other direction can also come out halfway into it, everyone is happy, fucking don't be a retard.
The other day N and I were riding along on a narrow busy multi-lane street which is nevertheless a "bike corridor" here in hated bad-street Seattle. This street has parked cars, narrow lanes, and basically no space for bikes, so the only safe way to ride is to take a lane, which is not a big deal for sane people because cars have another lane going the same direction to just go around you. So since we're taking the lane we ride side by side, which makes it clearer that we are just taking the lane. (one of the most important aspects of riding safely as a cyclist is to make it very clear to cars what you are doing - you should not make timid or sudden moves, when you are taking a lane or turning left, it's good to clearly telegraph your intentions, then take the whole lane, or pull out all the way to the left; if someone is opening their door and you have to swerve around, swerve way around so you're more visible, etc.). Anyway, some self-righteous ignorant cock of a driver chose this moment to pull over and roll down his window and yell at us about how it was illegal to ride two abreast. Umm, first of all, no it's not, it's illegal to ride *more* than two abreast. Second of all, your situational awareness and ideas about what rules are important and when is completely fucked; even *if* that was the law, it would be a retarded time to yell at us, since we couldn't really get out of the way anyway even if we rode single file (and if you tried to get in a tight lane with us riding single file you would be a dangerous cock).
Anyway this all happened a while ago and I wasn't going to even write about it because it just makes me sad how fucking stupid and mean people are. It's not just that they're stupid, it's that they are almost intentionally stupid in a self-righteous selfish way; like they choose willfully to not actually know the law, or to not think about the other person's risks and rewards in a certain situation, they only want to follow some dumb rule without thinking situationally, and they want to be fucking right and lord their rightness over others. But I was researching again (in vain) to find a lawyer that can handle Oregon speeding tickets, and I stumbled across so many of this type of comment in web forums and blogs :
"You will lose your license for a while. Hopefully" "You could lose your license for that and I hope you do." "HOw do you figure going 102-106 mph isn�t reckless? Are you trying to kill somebody or are you just too immature to deserve a license?"etc. you see this kind of thing posted all over the internet - people being holier than thou rule-touting fuckers. Do you all have no concept of what is actually dangerous? Going 100 on a freeway is really not dangerous at all (assuming low traffic, and assuming your car is in good kip - you check your tires often, have good brakes, and you have a car that is stable and maneuverable at speed). I dunno what freeways these people are driving on, but the freeways I drive on don't have any pedestrians, or hard turns, or oncoming traffic or parked cars. Going just the speed limit is way more dangerous if you are talking on your cell phone and drinking your big gulp. Going at the speed limit in a busy cyclist/pedestrian area is way more dangerous.
In related news, the Washington State House failed to pass a proper tough cell phone law. Talking on a cell phone is currently a secondary offense which basically means there is no law at all. Earlier the Senate passed a better version that at least makes it a primary offense, but IMO is actually still not tough enough as it allows hands-free talking and it still allows dialing by hand. (for those that don't know, driving while talking on a hands-free is roughly equivalent to driving while exhausted or driving drunk in terms of the affect on reaction time, braking and obstacle avoidance).
While I'm on the subject of car safety, I'll repeat my call for all interactive car computers to be banned, as well as Xenon headlights (damn blinding shit), also window tint (dumb fuckers can't see at night). It should also be illegal for children to bother their mother while she's driving; people need to pay damn attention to the road. I also had an idea on cell phones the other day after yet another incident where some dumb cell-phone talking pedestrian tried to walk in front my car : cell phones are just dangerous in any kind of use with movement, not just driving. Maybe they should just put speed sensors inside all cell-phones and put them on a hard switch to turn off when they are in motion, so you have to stop and stand still (or pull over your car) to talk. Oh, and headlights and bumpers should be mandated to all be at the same height. Like fine if you want to drive a retarded SUV, go for it, but your headlights and bumpers are still going to be one foot above the pavement, not aimed directly at my brain.
I also randomly stumbled across this Bizarre WA Supreme Court Moving Violation Ruling in which they seem to basically rule that because the trooper did not see the defendant commit the crime, he couldn't issue a moving violation. What !? So if someone runs their car into a lamp post and tests positive for alcohol, you can't give them a DUI because you didn't actually see them driving? This seems to set a completely retarded precedent. Says the Supreme Court :
"Negligent driving in the second degree is a moving violation. For the infraction to be valid, the movement must have been made in the officer's presence."more story here or WA supreme court blog