Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bike Flopping

I thought I'd seen it all in the world of bike commuting, until yesterday I saw my first bike flop
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flop_(basketball)). Headed Eastbound on Pike St. approaching Broadway, I was biking 20 feet or so behind a guy in the margin between parked cars and a long line of cars in a traffic jam. A car ahead of him, without signaling, made a right turn to nose into an empty parking space. So the car cut off the cyclist, but the cyclist wasn't moving that fast and he seemed to have plenty of time to avoid being hit. But the cyclist ended up hitting the car's right rear door, and he exchanged  heated words with the driver of the car. I slowed up and watched things play out. The cyclist eventually proceeded ahead to the light, and the woman parking seemed angry/flabbergasted. I don't really know if she did or didn't see the cyclist before turning her car. When I caught the cyclist at the the light I asked him if he was ok, and he said he was fine.  He had seen the whole thing coming. He essentially wanted to teach the driver a dramatic lesson in bike awareness, and had done this same act before. I was kind of mystified by the whole thing, but glad that he wasn't really hurt. Others may see this differently, but my gut reaction was that "flopping" for the sake of teaching better driving habits does little to help cyclist safety. That said, I recall an incident about 15 years ago when I was attempting to make a right hand turn at a red light in my car, and was essentially blocking a crosswalk and not looking for pedestrians crossing from my right. A pedestrian came behind my car and pounded his fist loudly onto the trunk. He made his point. I was wrong. I have never ever blocked a crosswalk with my car since.


Andrew said...

Ugh. Can't we all just get along?

Kevin Connors said...

So many thoughts... The danger factor jumps to the fore. Just think if you got your launch wrong. You'd end up under someone's tire. No thanks.

OK, so I'm a small town guy now, so this probably doesn't make sense... Maybe just smiling and asking politely if she realized what she just did...