Nonsensical Haligonian Road Rage

I’m about to drop a dirty word; I am an avid cyclist. I bike to work every day, and I have had the same commute every day for more than three years. I love my commute, as it enables me to have time to clear my head on my way to work. But this week, my rides have been anything but meditative. And I think the word “cyclist” has become a dirty word because that’s the only way I can explain the road rage I have encountered when following all the rules of the road as required of me.

Haligonian drivers, take note; it is 100% in a cyclist’s rights—in fact, it’s the law—to get in line behind other cars and occupy the full lane when making a left turn. And to get into a left-turning lane, a cyclist must do a shoulder check, wait for a chance to go, signal, and merge in order to get into that left-turning lane. It’s common sense; that’s what a car has to do as well. So why are grown men giving me the finger, screaming at me, and even verbally assaulting me in front of their children, all because I have delayed their commute by ten seconds because I accelerate a bit more slowly than a car? To the two men who cut me off by passing me on the right on Robie, one in the middle of an intersection: you have not only put me in danger, but you also put your passengers and the people in the other cars in danger, too. And then you feel the need to give me the finger or put your window down and accuse me of impeding the flow of traffic? Seriously, learn the rules of the road. (I am sorry, however, that I told you to “Just fucking go” in front of your kid(s). I was just too frustrated to care.)

Also, I want to note that the light was green, and cars were coming in the other direction. Of course, I couldn't turn left at that point. Seriously, I feel bad for your kids for having a father who bullies girls on bikes who are following Nova Scotian laws. And your retort of, "How am I supposed to know what your hand signals mean?" was equally ridiculous. How did you pass a driver's test?

I am genuinely afraid that so many drivers and cyclists don’t know the rules of the road. Cyclists have every right to occupy a lane for a short time if turning left or avoiding obstacles such as parked cars or opening car doors, as long as they signal and wait for an opening. I follow the rules of the road—I signal, stop at red lights and stop signs, wait in line behind other cars when turning left or at four-way stops, and get off my bike to use crosswalks, and I still get abused by drivers. I’m so sick of this.

Drivers AND cyclists alike, do yourselves, your passengers, and cyclists (and pedestrians, too) a favour and read this pamphlet. It puts everything into really simple terms.

—The Ginger Cyclist

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