On the way home today, I stopped at a couple of stores to pick up groceries and dog food. After I was done, I pulled out onto Kelso Road to cross High Street and ride up to my home.
For those of you not familiar with the area, Kelso (going from West to East) across High Street is one of those streets that is about a lane and a half wide, making you wonder whether you're supposed to be lining up two abreast or one abreast. I've always assumed one - since there's no line to delineate separate lanes. Also, the light sensor is smack dab in the middle of the lane. So, I took my spot about 12" from the right side of the sensor, where city engineers have told me is the best place for a bike to try to trip the sensor and force a light change on High Street. It's also a good example of taking the lane - making sure that other cars can't try to pass you and turn right in front of you illegally. Here's a picture:
A car pulls up behind me (as per usual, not close enough that it might trip the sensor itself). After a few seconds, it honks at me. As is my habit, I ignored it. I wait for the light to change (and as usual, it takes a while). The car honks again, more insistently. I glance behind me, throw up my arms in a "What?" gesture. I don't take kindly to being honked at, as I'm sure most cyclists don't. I believe very strongly in following the rules of the road, and also my right to be there.
Finally, the guy pulls up next to me (on my left) and starts yelling at me. Now, I have the headphones for my cell phone on because my wife is 17-days-from-her-due-date pregnant and I want to be able to take the call immediately if she rings me up. I pull one of the ear buds out and say "excuse me?"
The guy yells "you jackass! I'm trying to take my baby to the doctor! Get the hell over!" And while I'm yelling "What do you want me to do about that?" and before I can get out "it can't be too important since you stopped to yell at me instead of just going around me!" he pulls in front of me and turns right on red (after threatening to kick my ass).
Obviously, this is not time to explain to him about how the Columbus infrastructure is inadequate, nor an explanation of the rights of cyclists. And I think I was right to hold my own - if I had been a car, he couldn't have yelled at me. And I daresay he probably wouldn't have thought about honking me because I couldn't have done anything different than I did on my bike.
But I'm curious - how would you have handled this situation? Comments?