Honk Report: Two Firsts!

Today’s honk was doubly disturbing.

First, it came shortly after the last one. Usually honks are spaced many weeks apart making them very rare occurrences. Second, this honk was my first one downtown.

I was riding on Walnut headed east toward campus. I had just crossed Jefferson. A short way ahead a truck was parallel parking, so I slowed a bit to be sure he was secure before passing him. Oh, and I was positioned was dead center in the late because Walnut downtown is narrow with a 20 mph speed limit.

After passing the truck, a woman in a small red car passes me with more than 100 yards to go to the light at Kimbrough. No on-coming traffic. And she honks.

I smiled at her as she passed, and she flipped me off! Wow. And she had a small child in the front seat, too.

Then came another first: The light caught her at Kimbrough, so I was able to speak to her. She was in the left-turn lane; I pulled along side. Her passenger window was slightly cracked. The conversation went roughly this way:

Me: Why did you honk at me?

Her: Why don’t you ride on the sidewalk?

Me: Because it’s illegal downtown and dangerous. Missouri law defines this [points to bicycle] as a legal vehicle. I belong in the road.

Her: Geez. [waves hand dismissively]

And then the light turns and she’s gone. Something learned? Hmmmmm…

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Comments 3

  1. Jason C wrote:

    Congratulations on getting the chance to have such a discussion. I’ve have similar exchanges with drivers who have harassed me both downtown and on Holland next to the MSU campus. I was “informed” in each instance that bikes do not belong in the road but rather on the sidewalk. I objected and stated that I have a right to ride on the road and that sidewalks are for pedestrians, and you know what? These two were just as dismissive of what I had to say as this woman was with you today. Some people seem completely unwilling to entertain the notion of bikes on the roads. As to the question you pose at the end of your post, no, I do not believe your driver today learned a thing. Except, perhaps, that one who honks faces the risk of rebuttal from time to time when caught by a stop light, backed-up traffic, etc.

    Posted 17 Jun 2011 at 11:57 am
  2. robert wrote:

    I think that she learned something. Good job, Andy!

    Posted 17 Jun 2011 at 1:05 pm
  3. danc wrote:

    Did she learn something? Meh, doubtful.

    I wouldn’t mess talking with anyone, get the license number.

    Posted 17 Jun 2011 at 4:05 pm