Treat us like vehicles, please

Commute this morning:

Stopped at a red light, waiting to turn left from Mossland onto Somerville Ave. Construction everywhere! Cones and men in neon vests galore. Two cyclists stopped at the light in front of me, in the teeny, single-bike-lane-space between the lane of traffic and holes in the ground. The second man is shaking his head impatiently at the back of the first cyclist’s head, waving to to make the point of “will you please move?” for the sake of everybody behind them. I said to the back of HIS head,

“He’s stopped at the red light. That is fine.”

…for the sake of education. Shortly after they both took off, running the red light. Fine, whatever, I thought, didn’t notice any rhyme or reason to this, and continued to wait.  I waited. I waited. I (this is a really long light) waited, until a (I think) Somerville police officer whistled (like you would at your dog, not like I’m a bombshell walking down the street with fancy high heels and tight-fitting dress) at me and said,

“HEY, cyclist, Go.”
“Uh. I have a red light.”
“I’m telling you to go. I can do that.”
“That’s confusing.”
“It shouldn’t be.”

No words to the driver next to me, who was also waiting for the red light.

Sorry, officer, I didn’t realize you get to decide which vehicles qualify as vehicles, and apply the law accordingly at your whim. (I think I said something along the lines of “You don’t know your laws, officer!” as I rode off.)

Later, on Broadway in front of Akamai, police officer on motorcycle pulled into the bike lane in front of me, turned on his spinny lights as warning to a shiny Lincoln town car in front of him, which was parked in the bicycle lane. Thanks officer, I know you meant well, but what you actually did was cut me off, too, so that I have to go around both of you.  Next time: maybe you could at least issue them a ticket for parking in the bike lane?

I have a < 5 mile ride into work. That’s two too many things to report.

Brighter notes! Commute home yesterday:

SUN! Oh my.

Lady cyclist was pulled over by two Cambridge bicycle police officers for running a red light in front of Lord Hobo. They were sneaky: I didn’t see them at all until one jumped out to stop the cyclist. She carried her bike onto the sidewalk rather dejectedly. No idea if they issued a ticket or warning. I don’t like that this is likely a bad cycling experience for her, but I did celebrate a little bit on the inside for justice. That Cambridge team of officers on bicycles are pretty right on  (don’t get me started on Boston bicycle police that hang out around Downtown Crossing).

Soon after, on Beacon, I passed by a lovely cyclist with twin kids seas attached to her bicycle just behind the main saddle. The seats were painted bright blue with yellow polka dots. She said a friend built it and she did the paint job. It’s awesome, I gushed. Bicycle also sported a license plate that read “One Less Mini Van.”

I’d like to be half as cool as her when I’m a mom.

Approaching mid-March. SCUL Season soon! The preparations have begun. More on this later.

7 Comments »

  1. yourstruly Said,

    March 12, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/89-9.htm was brought to my attention:
    “Except when directed to proceed by a police officer, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign or a flashing red signal indication shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways.”

    To clarify: The issue I take was not that he told me to go during a red. The confusing part was that I was part of the traffic turning left from Morrison, yet I was told to go while the cars continued to wait. It is important for commuting cyclist to be regarded as part of traffic, and not an under or elite class of traffic that receives special treatment from law enforcers. Until the laws say otherwise, any restrictions/guides that is applicable to a moving vehicle should be applied to cyclists, as well.

  2. Tea Said,

    August 19, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

    Just friggin go if the cop says go. Get the chip off your shoulder. I’ve cycled thousands of miles in 4 different continents and your localized ideals are pathetic. Grow up, please.

  3. yourstruly Said,

    August 20, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    Hi Tea. Constructive criticisms without personal attacks, please. Thanks.

  4. Eoin Said,

    August 20, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

    I make that turn from Mossland onto Somerville Ave. every day. That light takes forever, and I always feel like a complete schmuck waiting for it while other bikes blow right past me. But the law is the law.

  5. Tea Said,

    August 21, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

    I’m sorry if any offence occured. It just really annoys me that many cyclists actually obey ‘laws of the road’ which are designed for 1 ton plus, 65mph moving vehicles. Killing 30,000 thousand people a year. Do you think i’d put my neck on the line to trust this group with my safety on a bicycle?? Hell no. I’m watching everything. If the light is red. I check then go through. I will not obey laws that ain’t designed for my safety when the facts and stats prove it. I try to be a fair cyclist and not cause undue situations . Stop for pedestrians if it’s safe etc. But a fender bender in a car is magnified multipule times if it happen to a bicyclist. So untill the laws are matched up and created equal then i’m riding for myself on this one. Peace.

  6. yt Said,

    August 23, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

    Hey Tea,
    I hear you. I don’t have any gripes against cyclists who run red lights, actually. Only thing I hope for is that they do so safely for them and myself: be careful, don’t cut cars/other cyclists off, respect pedestrians. Sounds like you do and that is great.

    For myself: Until laws of the road are designed for cyclists, the only option I have of communicating my intentions to drivers is what laws are in place today. So I choose to do that, and I feel safer doing so. Plus, in event of an accident I can say: “Hey, I did everything by the current laws in place.” and at least be protected by those laws.

    To your point: I DO sometimes (rarely) run red lights for my safety when weather puts me in a dangerous situation (lightning, super strong wind, snowmageddon). Those extreme weather situations = stupid drivers, so my primary goal is to get out of traffic. So I understand.

    Eoin: I think I’ve followed you at least once!…because I can probably count the number of people who stop at that light (through the pedestrian green, too) on one hand. You’re not a schmuck.

  7. Tea Said,

    August 24, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

    I’m getting freaked here cause ‘over my mothers life’ my name is ‘Eoin’ too. And ‘Eoin’ ain’t a regular name in this country. It’s Gaelic (Irish) for Owen??? And i’ve seeen ‘Eoin said’ which freaks me out when I see it cause it’s abnoramal for me to see it!! 2 Eoins on same (bicyclist) site???? Word up to ‘yt’ you know what goes on out there ont he tarmac, of course the rules don’t apply to us bikers. Metal versus flesh. Metal wins. I try to do my part when I can. Rush hour? everyman/woman for themselves in this town.

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