Honk Report! Charles Street

So I was splitting the lanes, big deal. I occasionally bike from my office to Providence Bicycle, and the quickest route is up Charles Street, past the big post office, then down past the Home Depot. This involves a bit of traffic negotiation during rush hour when people are eager to get on the highway.  As is always the case at this time of day (5PM) traffic was completely stopped, and I was rolling along between the cars at about 5 MPH. The only problem with splitting lanes is what to do when the cars start rolling again. Well, you’ve got to pull back into a lane and block somebody, so it might as well have been this particular guy. No time to signal, can’t risk taking a hand off the handle bars with all the potholes.  I roll past the guy, then in front of him and he honks. I think nothing of it until he passes me and pull as close as possible to me. It was obviously an aggressive move.  Anyhow, 20 feet later – he’s stopped in traffic again, imagine that. So I pass him, and pause to remind him that he’s stopped at a red light. He gives me the finger (with his other hand holding his cell phone). I’m resolved not to go full road rage on people anymore, so I ride on past all the cars stuck in traffic. Oh I forgot, it was raining a little bit – and that just makes people drive more stupidly.
So, should I have split the lanes in this case? Passed everyone on the right between the cars and the gutter (this is less room than splitting lanes, and it’s the part of the road that is most likely to have broken glass). Maybe I should have sat in traffic for 10 minutes like a motorist? Or *shudder* ride on the sidewalk (which is intermittent and interrupted by parking lots and various streets).

The honking occured right around W. River Street. I’ve considered taking N. Main to Branch Ave, but that presents it’s own set of problems. N. Main is usually not backed up, and people go up to 35 mph there (despite the 25 mph limit). Because traffic is not totally backed up, drivers expect to be able to move and not have to pass a slower vehicle (me).  On Charles, because there is so much traffic, everything is completely slow and I just cruise on through there. (I’ll have to admit, I love passing cars that are stuck in traffic.) What else could make this route safer. Bike Lanes? Hah! That’s just crazy talk.

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2 responses to “Honk Report! Charles Street

  1. I haven’t worked up the nerve to call 911 to report the cell phone driving here (against the law), but eventually I intend to. I usually smile when I cut someone off. And wave. Usually it works well for me.

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