|The bike lane seems wide until one pickup parks in it with an open door, illustrating the ZONE OF DENIAL|
I didn't put this photo of the pickup in the bike lane up to complain about him specifically, but rather because he will help me to illustrate, in case someone is interested, why I rode past him out in the spot marked "Here" in the photo.
When no cars are on it, this street plus bike lanes seem wide, but that perception alters significantly with traffic and a pickup parked, OK illegally, I'll say it, right in front of the NO PARKING sign, but there were dozens more vehicles doing the same right behind me so I can't single him out, and he was only stopping for a minute anyway.
Prior to coming upon him, I was riding out in the 'Here' zone, around where Steve A calls "The Line of Sweetness", which is perhaps most precisely illustrated in this timeless graphic by Rantwick: The Line of Sweetness. I was avoiding at all costs the ZONE OF DENIAL which was full of parked cars, door zone risk and driver walk zone uncertainty, consciously choosing to ride in the position, and feeling like, "Man, I am way the heck out in the street, and I wonder what a driver coming up behind me would think about that," when I heard one driver come up behind me. No honking though, nor tailgating, so they seemed OK with it. "Hey," I can only dream they were reflecting in their air conditioned comfort, "With all those cars parked illegally in the bike lane, it's only fair for him to ride there, straight down The Line of Sweetness, and besides, where else is he going to ride?"
But I was also thinking, in the event a driver asked me why I was riding way the heck out there in the Line of Sweetness, outside of the ZONE OF DENIAL, how would I explain it, when Mr. Friendly Bike Lane Parking Pickup Drivin Man (Mr. FBLPPDM) showed up to illustrate the point! Thanks, Mr. FBLPPDM! It's also interesting to me, looking at my illustration that this is a situation where it is SAFE for a cyclist to pass at this moment, and probably UNSAFE for another Pickup Drivin Man to try to squeeze by. Being in a big hurry, typically, he would probably try anyway, but I doubt his far-stickin-out side mirrors would clear both sides by three feet.
You know those security personnel patrolling the drop-off zones at the airport, making sure that drivers obey the rules and move along smartly? I anticipate that very soon those zones will be patrolled by angry-sounding, authoritative-looking robots that zip back and forth making nasty barking, buzzing, and beeping sounds at violators, ultimately clamping on wheel clamps for egregious violations. Once they have all the bugs worked out, I for one will welcome the CLAMPBOTS to patrol the bike lanes of our cities, too, enforcing the traffic laws and clamping down on violators. Not just for us bicycle commuters, but to keep Mr. FBLPPDM and his pickup drivin cohort safe out there, too.
Until that glorious day, however, I say, hello sweetness. Ride sweet.
On an unrelated side note, I would like to wish a happy birthday to Pierre de Fermat, born August 17, 1601, and send this song out to his wandering, marvelous soul.