Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Car Blocking

I have been experiencing a phenomena that is new to me, but perhaps a reader has had this experience and can add to my understanding of it.
Three times in the last five months or so (so not that frequently) I have been blocked out at stop signs and red lights by cars and I think it is intentional.
This is how it happens (with high quality photo explanations below):
A. A car passes me.

In all the images we are moving toward the intersection at twelve o'clock. The silver Nintendo DS is the car and the blue poker chips represent my bicycle.

B. The same car arrives at a stop sign or red light just ahead of me.
C. Before I get an opportunity to come in along their right side, between them and the curb, they pull in very, very tight to the curb.

D. There is certainly no room to squeeze through.
E. In every case, the car was neither turning right nor left, but instead carried on straight through the intersection when appropriate.
F. When they do carry on, the very obviously pull away from the curb, and take a much more natural position within their lane.

So what is happening here?
Is the intent here antagonistic or altruistic?
I can imagine that the driver is attempting to spite me, the cyclist, in effect saying "I'm going to mess up your advantage by taking away your lane." But I have also imagined that the driver is thinking "I want the guy on the bicycle where I can see him, for his own safety."  Most accidents between cars and bicycles happen at intersections and by blocking me and keeping me behind him, he certainly eliminates a lot of right hook, and other negative, potential for me.
So have you experienced this same thing, reader friend?  To me, this is clearly intentional, so why do you think?



  1. The cycling cynic in me assumes that they are trying to "get you back" for going more slowly than they want by stopping you completely. I once had a guy blow around me, as I rode through a parking lot, then immediatley jam his brakes on, so that I would have to stop. Then, he flipped me off and drove on.

    I will never understand that kind of uncivil behavior.

  2. I do not pass cars on the right unless I have a huge amount of room. I figure they missed me the first time, so why give them another opportunity.

  3. Take the lane as you approach the intersection. Better yet, if the road is somewhat narrow, take it the whole way.

    It won't eliminate this behavior, but it will cut down on it.