I was out running a quick errand the other night when I came to an intersection that frustrates me every time I drive this particular route. I was going straight and my side of the intersection has a left turn lane, straight lane and a bike lane. It just so happens that there is a constant flow of cars turning right from this direction – and they ALWAYS use the bike lane. I’ll grant that this side of the intersection certainly needs a right turn lane, but that doesn’t mean that in its absence the bike lane is an acceptable alternative.
I’ve always been annoyed by people who use the bike lane to make right turns, but my objection to this has increased about a zillion times since I drove by the scene near my house where 5 cyclists were hit – while cycling in the bike lane on a quiet Sunday morning last July. I actually forced myself to go out cycling through my area after that accident because it made me feel timid about cycling in traffic and I needed to get over that to enjoy cycling again.
I don't ever feel fully comfortable cycling in traffic because there are still too many drivers who don't pay attention to cyclists who are entitled to share the road.
I did a little research on whether it’s legal to use a certain portion of the bike lane this way, just to see if I have justifiable angst. I found an article about bike lanes on torontoist and they say “right-turning cars are also prohibited from entering the bike lane except in the final, short dashed section”. I have to say that I’m surprised that I can’t easily find anything addressing this in the Ontario Driver’s Handbook, but I’m going to make the assumption that torontoist did their research.
So, if you’re ever in an intersection that doesn’t have a right turn lane and there’s a “jerk” up ahead who’s hugging the bike lane so close that no one can turn around them, it might just be me. And if I find out I'm wrong, I'll move over so you can get through to turn right. Because that’s how I roll.
What are your driving pet peeves?