Category Archives: Real Commuting

Winter Riding Tips / Video Round-Up

One of these days, I’ll get a helmet cam and create thrilling videos of my daily commute for all of you to enjoy. In the meantime, I’ll present you with three cycling-related videos that were recently posted on the internet.

The first is an earnest, but fun look at winter cycling tips in Chicago:

BikeSnobNYC did his usual job of mocking the video frame by frame, so I won’t attempt that here. I’ll just point out that the video was shot and edited by my former classmate, Elizabeth Press, seen here in the middle of putting on layer after layer of winter clothing.

This video does bring up the issue of cycling in the winter, something I have not yet addressed. It seems like many of the “other” bike blogs have already addressed this in earnest, prescribing all manner of wool (both technical and traditional), silk, gore-tex, gore-mex, splats, &c. My commute is very short, so I’m not sure that I have the best advice to give w/r/t winter cycling, however, I lived in the frozen wilds of Edmonton Alberta for two winters, where I did pick up a thing or two. Actually, I picked up four things during my Canadian exile that I consider essential to my winter commute.

Thing 1: Waterproof Pants.

These aren’t the exact ones I have, but they look pretty close. I prefer waterproof pants that go over whatever I’m wearing to the office that day. Then I just whip off my pants, and I’m ready to go. So to speak. These are useful in warmer seasons as well because I don’t really like getting my pants soaked by the rain.

Thing 2: Face Mask

I wear this when the temperature gets below 30 degrees or so. That’s not such a low temperature, but my ride includes speeds up to 25 miles an hour, so there is often more windchill than one would experience while walking.  Some riders might prefer a Balaclava.

Thing 3: Thin Balaclava, Headband or Skull Cap

I have a thin balaclava that I fold up over my head so that I get a thick layer around my ears, but a little bit of a stovepipe effect to release heat out the top of my head. Some people prefer to just have a headband to keep their ears warm, then have a full stovepipe out the top of their helmets. These people are crazy.

Thing 4: Lobster Gloves

These provide the warmth of mittens, and the dexterity of a lobster. Some people just use mittens, although it can be difficult to use some shifting systems without lobster-levels of dexterity. Either way, most cyclists will tell you that regular old gloves aren’t going to cut it when it gets really cold.

Keeping with the earnestness theme, what could be more earnest than social justice advocates’ concern with immigrant communities’ transportation needs?

There’s not much footage of people actually riding bikes, but what footage there is features people riding on the sidewalk.

This is certainly something I see around here: cycling on the sidewalk instead of in the street. I understand why people are tempted to do it, riding in traffic can seem more dangerous, but it is almost always safer. Cycling advocates like to spend a lot of time focusing making cycling safer for people just like them (mostly white, mostly middle class). I’m reminded of when I helped RIBike with the “light up the night” event. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it’s something that could use more attention. And since I’m not sure where I’m going, I’m going to shut up before I put my foot in my mouth.

I forgot to mention earlier, that I also wear a jacket in the winter. I think it would qualify as a “snowboarding” jacket. It’s mostly water repellent, but not 100%. It’s not particularly noteworthy except for the fact that it is not a very heavy coat.  Even with my short commute, I can generate quite a bit of body heat while cycling. A medium-weight jacket over my work clothes is plenty on most winter days. When it gets particularly cold, I add a hoodie for one more layer of warmth.

This jacket was one of those bargains you always remember. It was originally $90, then marked down to $50 because it was out of season, then marked down to $25 because it had been on the racks for a while. It’s served me well for about 10 years now, but I guess I could get rid of it in favor of a $400 cycling jacket from Mission Workshop:

We begin this film with our hero riding a ferry from one part of Amersterdam to another. I’d say that he is on his commute, but it doesn’t look like he actually does any work during the rest of the day.

it's cold out here, luckily I have a $400 outer jacket to wear over my $235 inner jacket. I'd better put the hood up.

After I get off the boat, I'll take a gratuitous shot of row after row of Amsterdam bikes

Could you do this with any normal jacket? I don't think so.

This video has more rack focus than a Scorsese film

I think my favorite thing about this video is the fact that he is modeling a cycling-specific jacket, one that is designed for use on a road bike – or some other bike where the cyclist leans forward. But he’s riding a completely upright Dutch city bike. There’s nothing wrong with a Dutch city bike, but if you are going to ride one, you can just wear regular clothes. That’s pretty much the whole point of a Dutch city bike! Okay, back to our story, where our hero has returned to his canal boat home.

Uh oh, what’s this?

This doesn’t look good. The jacket has cable routing for portable audio devices.

phew, it's cold again

I guess I should put up my hood in order to further insulate myself from hearing any noise from the outside world while I....

....haphazardly mount my city bike

Biking through the city while wearing headphones. Always a safe idea. Note the skinny jeans – the perfect complement to cycling-specific jackets. Of course, this is an Amsterdam cyclist, so he is coddled by:

Protected bike lanes! (Note that even the bike symbols in Amsterdam have chaincases.) Alright, now I’m just being a hater. Who wouldn’t want bike lanes like those?

Ahh, now he’s leaning forward about 2 degrees, which utilizes many of the features of the “slim-fit, seam-sealed, waterproof jacket cut for life on the bike.”

Soon he reaches his destination: Pristine – a “Lunchroom/Gallery”

…where the depth of field is so shallow, you need a rack focus to read from one side of the menu to the other.

There are a few other product demo videos on Mission Workshop’s Vimeo Page, all of which are equally entertaining. I’d go through them all, but I’m working at mocking Mission, not providing them tons of free exposure to my dozen of readers.

But I can’t resist one more, the video for the Shed Messenger Bag. This one was filmed in Paris, where our protagonist (let’s call him Claude) rides a fixed gear bike from the top of Montmartre. It even sports an aerospoke front wheel. Epic.

I’m going to skip the part where he packs his MacBook into the bag, but I have to mention that every Mission Workshop video shows and Apple product at some point.

After Claude orders his coffee, the barista rings him up in slo-mo.

maybe it's just that all French coffeeshop employees work very slowly

Almost everything is in slo-mo. I guess owning one of these bags turns every day into an epic urban journey of self-discovery. Just about the only time the video approaches regular speed is right after Claude runs across a fellow cyclist, this one on what appears to be a vintage track bike. They gaze at each other knowingly….

because it’s on!

The film is back up to full speed as we get to enjoy some serious Cat 6 racing action.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you the details. These guys even made a video about installing a product display in a store in Portland. Maybe I’m trying to compensate because I just bought a new jacket from a different hipster-clothing brand based in San Francisco. But I totally needed that. And it was on sale… and it will make me go faster, right? Product review to follow.

The Smugness Calculation

Whoa,

It’s been way too long since I last wrote in the ol’ blog. I’d make a Jim Anchower reference, but that’s the stunt I pulled last time I took too long to write. Nobody looks at a bike blog to read about the blogger’s experience with blogging right? The whole blogging thing is inherently navel-gazy, but I try to keep it at a minimum. Let’s just call it a little hiatus. I even stopped reading bike blogs for a week, just to sort of get it out of my system.

I’ll bore you with some navel gazing for just a moment. Check this out:

For a while now, my post, “Craigslist: Not Just for NSA Hookups Anymore” has received the most attention from search engine results. There always seems to be someone searching for something similar to “free nsa like craigslist.” Perhaps with the recent removal (or “censorship”) of “adult services” from craigslist, my search engine hits will go up even more! I think my new goal for this blog should be to make it the premiere cycling/car-free lifestyle blog for people searching for anonymous sex. If I learned anything from my MBA studies, it’s “find a niche” (I didn’t get an MBA, I got an MFA where I learned how to use “scare quotes”). Note that I didn’t say I will provide any sort of NSA hooking up service, I just want to have the bike blog that people end up at when they search for that sort of thing. I guess it’s safe to say that I have that bike blog. Yay for me.

Since I don’t have a regular “mail bag” feature here at CarFree in PVD (see – more scare quotes!), I’m going to start treating my search engine term results as if they were questions from an adoring public. In answer to your question “do you need a car to live in providence” the answer is “No” or… well, kind of maybe. It depends…By way of an answer to your non-question, let me tell you about the latest feature on CarFreePVD: SmugCalc!

To celebrate my 1 year “car-free-niversary” I started what I’m calling the “smugness calculator.” This is where I log all of the miles that I travel by various conveyances. Then I know exactly how smug I can be.

This is a screencap of version 1.0. I'm now on to smugness calculator 2.0 which is stored in "the cloud" so I can be smug no matter where I roam.

In addition to my utilization of “cloud computing storage” … “2.0” or “whatever” (ack help! too many scare quotes!), I’ve added a column for walking, and I eliminated the division between biking for transport and biking for fun. Instead, I have a column for each of my three bikes. It’s always fun to ride and I often work in some sort of errand during my weekend riding. Another feature of SmugCalc_2.0 is a running total of miles for the different categories and an overall total of miles on a bike vs. miles in a car.

As far as my current level of smugness goes, since August 21, when I started the project I’m at 493 miles cycling, and 530 miles in a car. However, there have also been 19 miles walked and 97 miles using public transit. Sure, 5 of those transit miles were when I got on the wrong bus, but still… By the way, I’m not including every yard that I walk as I pace around my kitchen trying to think of something to cook, I’m only calculating when I walk from one destination to another.

So, I’ve been in a car for more miles then I’ve been on a bike. How can I  call myself “car-free?” As mentioned before, I don’t hate cars, and I don’t think that driving a car is inherently evil.  I just don’t think that everyone needs to own a car (or two, or three). Just like not everyone needs to own a roto-tiller, or a beach-front condo, or a moving truck, or a banquet hall. These are things you rent when you need them. For me, a car is the same way. Zipcar is available in my neighborhood, and if I need a car for a multi-day trip, I can walk to a car rental location a few blocks from my office. Which reminds me: after using Zipcar, I really hate renting a car from a regular car rental company. I hate the insurance hustle. I hate the gas hustle. I hate the fact that they don’t have a car when I made a reservation and they then have to drive me to another town in order to get in a car. And I hate the fact that they think they can smooth over their incompetence by “upgrading” me to a larger vehicle. To me, that’s not an upgrade, it just means I have to pay more for gas. And I hate how big cars drive! Alright, enough with the rant. Moving on.

I’m glad I created the SmugCalc, it’s allowed me to see exactly how much I’m riding, and how much I’m driving. Although my car miles are currently above my bike miles, I was pleased to see that I logged 0 car miles in all of September vs. 358 bike miles! I’m practically glowing with smugness!

Okay, that’s enough with the navel gazing. This post is seriously deficient when it comes to pictures. I’ve been on the lookout for strange handlebars and cockpits in order to compete in BikeSnobNYC’s “cockie” photo contest, but alas, the cyclists of Providence are a fairly tame lot. However, I was very happy to find this particular ride on a recent visit to the Wickenden Street area:

I can’t remember if it was a Raleigh, Hercules, Columbia or something else – I’m sure someone else can recognize it from its headtube badge. What made me so happy was to see it rocking the EasySeat! It’s good to see that someone else cares about their taint as much as I care about mine.

 

I’m a Winner!

and by that, I mean whiner. Case in point:

One semi-regular feature of this blog is the “honk report” wherein I whine about the latest annoyance I endured when I motorist honked at me for no good reason. It had been happening at a rate of approximately one per week, but now I’ve gone over a month without anyone honking at me.  This lack of honking is making me progressively suspicious.  Am I riding in a different way? I keep thinking that a honk could happen at any moment and I want to be ready so I don’t freak out and go all nutty on the offending motorist. Screaming road rage from a driver inside of a more or less soundproof car is one thing, but screaming road rage from a cyclist tends to draw stares. So, I’ve been preparing myself with special zen exercises and yogic breathing in case anyone should honk at me. I’ll turn, glance and ride on. (turn, glance, ride on. turn, glance, ride on) The zen seems to be working because I was almost squeezed by a bus yesterday morning and it didn’t really bother me. Well, it bothered me, but I didn’t freak out. This happened on Canal Street, which is a three-lane wide one-way street (plenty of room for the bus to take another lane). In the grand scheme of the number of cars that pass me, it’s pretty rare that a car passes too close. When it does happen, I don’t really have much recourse. However, when a bus driver passes too close….

They have an easily identifiable number and a company I can call. After passing me, the bus also ran a red light. I loped along at my usual pace, knowing that the bus would end up at Kennedy Plaza (where I snapped these pictures.) For some reason, the driver seemed in less of a hurry once he’d arrived at the station.

Since I was in a fairly sanguine state, I considered engaging the driver in a discussion of the finer points of Rhode Island law. But I decided to keep my sanguinity to myself and enjoy a stress-free day at work. Instead of risking turning into a fuming jerk in Kennedy Plaza, I called Peter Pan Bus Lines and filed a complaint against the driver. That worked so well with RIPTA, right? (Update on my complaint with RIPTA: nothing).

My mood was lifted when I got to work to see that the bike rack was nearly full!

Six bikes in the rack (one is out of the picture frame, and I’m not counting the pennyfarthing at the far end – that one is merely decorative). How exciting to see! Then I realized that two of the bikes have been sitting there for months. Still, four bikes in the racks! Was there a meeting of the ex-Portlander’s club of Rhode Island? Maybe another Teach For America interview session? Nope, just a visit from the community blood bank. Nothing brings out the do-gooders like a blood drive. But what’s that peaking out between the Cannondale Cyclocross bike and the old Raleigh 10-speed (which has been sitting there for 5 months)?

It’s a floor pump! I know that cyclocross is a demanding sport, but does commuting on a cyclocross bike require constant monitoring of your tire pressure? Or perhaps this cyclocross commuter is a wandering good samaritan, pumping up under-inflated tires across the country, an anti-pinch-flat Johnny Appleseed.

Courtesies. Positivities. Mammaries.

My friend, Christina called me out in an FB post yesterday:

I get a lot of unsolicited remarks when I ride my bike. Like, a lot. They range from comments along the lines of “you appear to be a female mammal endowed with the apparatus to suckle an infant” to suggestions such as “that isn’t how one signals a left, you ignoramus.” I’ve been struggling for a while with how to respond to these, but today [carfreepvd] turned me on to a lovely blog with the wonderful recommendation that simply being polite and smiling is the way to roll. Thanks, [carfreepvd]! I’m a lot happier about this now. But if I develop a heart problem in twenty years because of unexpressed anger, it’s your fault, okay?

First off, I am not responsible for the possible ill health effects incurred as a direct or indirect result of reading this blog. Please consult your doctor before beginning any blog-reading regimen. Secondly, I can only attempt to relate to the leers and rude, unsolicited comments that are made to the ladies who bike. Most of the bike blogs I read are written by ladies, and it seems to be a topic that comes up every once in a while. Christina was referencing this post on Let’s Go Ride a Bike, and I think that Lovely Bicycle! covered the topic well. Lovely Bike has been biking in Vienna recently, where she feels that she is the recipient of less leering than when she bikes in Boston. My experiences with the European leer are a little different.

I often walk or bike in the company of an exceptionally hot lady and I have noticed that she gets a few stares while she’s on the bike. But nowhere did I see more men stare at Spouse than on the sidewalks of Paris. I attempted to block these Gallic leers using the star-spangled laser beams of my steely-eyed glare. It was futile. The Frenchman enjoys leering, and little can be done to stop him. I can only imagine what would have happened if we had been brave enough to ride the Velib.

I’m glad to hear that Christina is going to try the positivity route. But one does need a little rage relief every once in a while. I recommend yelling at parked cars when you are biking down a traffic-free street (I know those are rare in Christina’s part of the world.) Just yell all of the things you would yell at the Masshole who gave you the helpful tip on proper turn signal procedure. When thinking about the motorists who endanger my life, I prefer the power phrase “ah ya fuckin blind oar ah ya ritahdid!?” Be sure to affect a New England accent of some type – it neutralizes any political correctness issues. Don’t use the adverb “wickid.” It’s considered uncouth.

After experiencing the white-hot, all-purifying fury of righteousness that came from screaming my head off at a driver who honked, passed to close and gestured at me; I felt like an alcoholic who had hit bottom. I’ve admitted that I have a problem, and I’m working to have a more relaxed attitude when motorists are rude to me. Still, I have the occasional relapse.

Friday morning, I was on my regular route, when some dirty hippy on an old Motebecane “shoaled” at the stop light. I said, “Dude, that was totally unnecessary.” But I said it inside my head! Not bad, hey?

I'm the blue line, the hippy is the green line. The thinner, dotted green line represents the hippy's path as he approached the intersection and then executed the shoal manuevre.

We both started up when the light turned green, the hippy and I rolling along at a fairly leisurely pace. He was probably only going 2 MPH slower than I usually go on this stretch of Canal Street.  No big deal, I decided to stay at a respectful distance and occasionally roll my eyes in his general direction. There was no need to get in a commuter race. On this stretch of Canal Street, I often glance behind me to see what the cars are up to, but this time I was distracted by the hippy’s insistance on riding in the door zone. I was riding well outside of the door zone, about 1/3 of the way across the right-hand lane (note that there are 3 lanes on this stretch of Canal.

I wasn't following the hippy as close as this illustration would indicate. It would just take me too long to go back and re-edit the dang thing.

Then it happened. A minivan passed me way to close. I stuck out my hand to see exactly how close and I was easily able to touch the side of the car.

Oh snap, it was ON! I checked my six and put the hammer down, blasting the hippy’s dreadlocks with my pressure wave. After the minivan passed, I noticed that he had South Carolina license plates, but a Boston Celtics window decal. I saw the driver stick his left hand out the window, but he used all 5 fingers. Hmmm, that was a little confusing. I’m used to seeing just one finger extended from a vehicle with a Celtics decal. As I passed the speed limit, I resolved that I was not going to be confrontational, just educational. Perhaps as an out of stater, he’s not aware that he is required by Rhode Island law to pass me at a safe distance (hazily defined, as mentioned in a previous post).

The next light was red! “Ha-HA! I shall catch him and properly educate this scofflaw!” I thought to myself. But no, he blew through that light not noticing the “No turn on red” sign (or the traffic). Perhaps he was afraid of my wrath. His casual disregard for the law was no match for the traffic lights of downtown Providence – I caught up to him a couple blocks later. I practiced my speech in my head, steely eyes at the ready. As I approached, his window was rolled down and he hit me with a pre-emptive strike! A strike of contrition!

“I’m really sorry about that, I know I passed you too close, I realized I was doing it too late, are you okay?”

Whoa! What the -?

“I’m okay, you didn’t hit me or anything, you were just a little close.”

“I’m so sorry. I should know better.”

I broke out in a smile.

“No problem, I appreciate you apologizing. Have a good one.”

“All right, you too.”

The earlier hand gesture had apparently been an “apology wave.”

I turned left and headed to my office. He went on his way.

My faith in humanity, and even motorists, was renewed.

Later in the day, I desperately needed some iced coffee. I headed to the nearest coffee joint for some cool, caffeinated refreshment. Although I will take any excuse to go for a ride of any length, for this trip, I decided walk. This required crossing the street at a well-marked crosswalk.

There’s zebra stripes for the crosswalk, pedestrian crossing signs on both sides of the street, even a “Stop for pedestrians in crosswalk” sign! Still, in both directions I was nearly run down by cars who refused to stop for me while I was attempting to cross. I wasn’t standing timidly on the curb, I was in the middle of the road. Both of the offenders had Rhode Island tags. My faith in Rhode Island drivers was returned to its normal state.

Honk Report: Washington St. & North Main

A RIPTA Bus driver honked at me today as I was biking home at around 7PM. I’ll get to the play-by-play details in a moment. First, let’s all do a google image search for “RIPTA BUS.”  For me, the second result in the image search was this:

RIPTA Bus

The photo is from a post 2 years ago on the Providence Bicycle Coalition blog. (Their monthly meeting was this past Monday, and I missed it yet again – sorry guys.) Drawing conclusions from google search is an example of some grade-A lazy journalism. But I’m not a journalist, I’m a blogger, so… that’s kind of like being a lazy journalist. Anyhow, this image is kind of interesting, in light of today’s “event.”

I work downtown, very close to Kennedy Plaza which is the main bus hub for Rhode Island. I bike near buses every day, in fact, just throwing out a number here, I’d say I’m passed by (or pass) 2-5 buses every day that I’m on my bike. Including weekend rides and such, I must have close to a thousand encounters with buses in a year of cycling in Rhode Island. The vast majority of these encounters are without incident. However, not today.

When you bike the same route every day, you figure out how the lights are timed, and what lanes work the best. As I exit Kennedy Plaza and head east on Washington, I stay in the right hand lane of the two lanes. I ride in the right-hand wheel track of this lane. This way, when I’m stopped at the light, drivers wanting to turn right can pass me on the right and drivers wanting to go straight can pass me on my left. This is what I did on my way home from work tonight.

After crossing Memorial Blvd., Washington becomes 3 lanes wide. I continued straight in the middle lane, as illustrated below.

Like the little bike icon? I should probably make a better one.

I’m in the middle lane of a three lane street. That’s right I’m riding my bike in the middle of the street! Am I crazy? No. Do I have some sort of death wish? No. Am I a rude, arrogant cyclist bent on obstructing traffic by hogging the middle lane? No. (Do I have a persecution complex? Maybe). This is the safest way for me to ride on this block because I’m about to turn left at the next intersection, Washington & North Main. The light at Washington & Main is always red by the time I approach it, so I am not slowing anyone down by riding in the middle of the street. At Washington & N. Main, the left hand lane is left turn only, the middle lane is left or straight and the right lane is straight only. I ride in the middle lane of Washington because it allows me to turn left and then immediately be in the right hand lane in order to allow drivers to pass me again. As illustrated below.

Executing a left turn.

Hmm, what’s that looming behind me? It’s a RIPTA Bus. Today, I waited for the green light, signaled a left turn, and as I went into the intersection, the bus driver honked at me and I could hear him yell out his open window. He started to pass me on the right (um, illegal, right?) and I asked, “What did you say?” He responded, “Get out of the road!”

Ah, “get out of the road.” Few phrases uttered by a passing motorist inspire as much hatred as that one. You, dear reader, do not need to be reminded of the fact that I have the right to be in the road, so I’ll leave out the full list of justifications for it.

I’ve learned from my previous road rage incidents that it’s best to keep my cool. I responded, “I can be in the road.” The bus driver, “You were in the middle of the road!” Me: “I was turning left!” Bus Driver: “You were in my way.” He then continued on, passing me on the right.

Here’s a bad illustration of where the conversation took place (upper right):

Look how close that bus is to my bike!

If you regularly drive a car, it’s likely that you come close to a collision dozens of times a year. However, you are wrapped in a glass and steel cage the design of which has been refined over the years to provide you with a high degree of safety. If someone honks at you and yells, you are protected by soundproofing that diminishes the volume, and a radio that drowns out the noise. On a bike, you’re completely exposed. Let’s just say that getting honked at or almost getting hit while cycling feels a lot more personal.

Cyclists can go on and on about our close calls with stupid motorists who almost kill us. The thing is, we’re pretty much powerless to do anything about it. In an urban setting, we can usually catch up to an offender at the next light. But then what can we do? Ding their fenders with our U-lock? That may appeal to our inner Batman, but it’s just not a good idea. Yell and swear at them? That’s just more aggravation for the cyclist. Politely tell them the errors they made and how it almost cost us a head injury? Some motorists may respond to that, but we’re just as likely to get the finger as we are to get, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was that close.”

There’s one important difference between the car driver who yells at me and a bus driver who harasses me while I’m operating my vehicle in a safe and legal way: the bus driver has a an easily identifiable number printed above his head and several other places on the bus. He also has an employer I can call to complain. Will this get me anywhere? I don’t know. If the complaint actually makes its way to the driver, it will probably just make him hate cyclists more, but who cares, it needs to be done. I’ll give RIPTA a call tomorrow and we’ll see where this goes.

Postscript 1: I was able to catch up to the bus about 1/2 mile down the road (traveling by bus isn’t nearly as fast in an urban environment as traveling by bike). I gave him a happy wave. I used all five fingers.

Postscript 2 (warning, boring legal stuff): Rhode Island cycling law is kind of weird about left turns, check this out from Section 31-19-15: “A person riding a bicycle intending to turn left shall, unless he or she complies with the provisions of § 31-16-2, approach the turn in a position as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. The turn shall be made at a position as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway along which the bicyclist intends to proceed after turning.

(b) If the turn is made at a location where traffic movement is controlled by a police officer or by a traffic-control signal, the bicyclist may not proceed after crossing the intersecting roadway until a signal to proceed is given to traffic moving in the appropriate direction on the roadway along which the bicyclist intends to proceed. At all other locations, after turning and before crossing the roadway he or she is leaving, the bicyclist must yield the right-of-way to all traffic approaching on that roadway.”

I think they mean something like the box turn in this illustration:

From the commuteorlando blog (maybe)

I can see how a novice cyclist may want to do something like this at a big intersection as depicted, but this adds an additional traffic light cycle to you time, plus it just puts you right in front of a line of cars that didn’t expect a bike to roll over and into the front of “their” lane. But it’s the law right? Well, how about that part that says, “…unless he or she complies with the provisions of § 31-16-2…” What does that mean? Here’s what it says with regard to turning from a one-way to a one-way, “…the driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at an intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection, as nearly as practicable, in the left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction upon the roadway being entered.” Well, if I’d followed that, I would have been in the far left lane and then I would have needed to make my way back to the right after executing the turn. If everyone followed that part of the law at an intersection like this, then no one would be able to turn left from the middle lane which is marked “left turn or straight.” The law doesn’t even mention a three lane situation like the one in question.

When I get old, it’s pretty obvious that I’m going to be the guy who writes angry letters to the government. Oh well, I’ll need something to keep me busy.