Wednesday, November 17, 2010

North End Etiquette And Bicycles

I guess I made a mistake today.
I had an errand to run, and on the way home I thought I would drive down a few different streets in the St Johns area of the North End. I do this quite regularly now, choosing different streets and back lanes in the area to drive down. Since joining the St Johns Residents Association, I have taken an interest in more streets than just my one block.
Today I chose to drive down a few of the front streets in the area, looking for boarded houses. I was taking my time driving down the streets. I was driving fairly slowly as I looked at the houses on each of the streets I drove on. I was just about home, one street over from my residence. There were two bicycles in front of me on the street. One of them was pulling a small trailer. I was not interested in passing the bicycles as I was not travelling that fast. I held back and continued watching the houses. The street was lined with parked cars and the bicycles moved over to the side, close to the parked cars. The one cyclist who was pulling the trailer seemed to be getting annoyed that I was not passing, so I finally decided I would pick up my pace and pass the bikes. I was going fairly slowly still, as I did not want to get too close to the trailer behind the bicycle. As I was just about to pass the bike, it sped up a bit, swerved in front of me and spun around.
The cyclist threw the bike down and came at my car. He was mad. He came right up to my window and started to yell in a very angry voice. I don't know what he was saying. But he was very angry. He continued to yell as I threw the car in reverse and sped backward down the block.
I thought he was going to smash my window. He definitely scared me.
So what did I do wrong?
I didn't pass the bicycle, and I didn't pass him soon enough or fast enough.
In the future, I guess I either will not go down a street where there is a bicycle, or I will pass the bike as fast as I can, and get out of their way.
I guess I will not make that mistake again.


  1. I would suggest if you are driving around looking at yards/houses you put on your 4-ways to indicate to all traffic, cyclists/other cars that you are moving slow and don't intend to pass.
    As a cyclist when you are traveling down a road filled with parked cars you always have to be aware of getting 'doored' and take the proper amount of space away from the parked vehicles, but as he saw you coming he assumed you would be passing (at 50kms/the cars always make it to the end of the block first), moved aside to allow you. You appeared to not be passing and then sped up as he pulled out to the proper riding lane.
    Although I absolutely do not agree with they way he handled it, that type of behavior is unacceptable for any motorist or cyclist.
    As a cyclist myself, it is always helpful to know what cars are up to.....I see this type of miscommunication all the time!!!

  2. I know I made a mistake. But these cyclists were half way up the block before I entered it. I was slow at catching up to them. When I did catch up I saw that the man with the trailer was mad that I took my time in catching up. I began to pass, but was cautious not to get too close to him. As I was passing him, he sped up, and raced in front of me, throwing his bike to the ground in front of me so I would have to stop. Then he came at me.
    As much as I was wrong, I was also terrified of the man coming at me.
    The bicyclist pulling a trailer was not an average narrow bike, he had a larger vehicle that was difficult to pass with a row of parked cars.
    I sped back down the full length of a street to get away from this angry individual blocking my way on a side street in the North End.

  3. Scary moment Rae. I think putting the clickers on would signal that you wished to drive slowly. His behaviour was bizarre and in most places would be inappropriate.
    There are fair number of people around here with emotional issues and also some substance abuse that cranks up their reactions.
    Sel and I drive down streets and back lanes in Point Douglas slowly while I record all the old mattresses couches etc, that need picking up, so far no touchy bicylists.

  4. Cyclists are often their own worst enemies. In the UK, they often ride on pavements, go the wrong way down one-way streets and ignore traffic signals. The upshot is that cyclists are poorly regarded by the rest of the population, which annoys the hell out of me as a cyclist who does none of the above.

    Cycling in Hong Kong (where I live) can be even worse, despite miles and miles of dedicated cycle tracks.