That was how an over-sized motorist ended our conversation. There was some truth to his statement, but there was also a morbid warning from a motorist who thinks they own the street to a cyclist who thought he had a teachable moment.
Let me set the stage. (It’s not all pretty. I’ll admit in advance I could have handled myself better.)
My daughter had a gymnastics class on the other side of King Street a short jaunt down the Iron Horse trail. So I asked her if she wanted to ride her bicycle or take the trailer. She choose her bicycle. This was her first big ride, probably her longest ride if only a few kilometers.
The incident happened on our return trip. I was biking east up Union between Park and King, my daugher on the sidewalk, I on a moutain bike riding on the road. It seemed odd that I too didn’t ride on the sidewalk, but today I wanted to honour the by-law.
Where the road narrows due to a pedestrian island across from Sun Life and it’s parking lot a large pick up truck began to accelerate to a pass. There wasn’t enough room. At the time I was probably dangerously close to the curb as I focused on my daughter biking. I realized that this guy didn’t have enough room so I took the lane. He was furious, honking his horn and faked accelerating towards me a few times. I turned and gave him the one fingered salute as I dismounted my bike and got off the side of the road. He slowed down, I knocked on the his door, he rolled down his window and told me that I had to get out of his way. I told him the lane was mine and that he better read his drivers manual ( a few times). Then asked me:
“Would you rather be Right and Dead?”
I rolled my eyes and suddenly remembered my daughter was just crossing the parking lot driveway. Our conversation ended, my adrenaline pumping, I then had to explain my actions to my 5 year old who had wisely stopped before the driveway crossing.
What would I do next time? Hop the curb ride on the grass boulevard. Allow the vehicle to pass closely. Take the lane then pull into the driveway of the parking lot and ignore the honking horns. All of those would have been better than blowing a gasket in front of my daughter who I was trying to give confidence to riding her bicycle.
I guess we’re all human and there’s always next time.
So how would you answer the question, ‘would you rather be right and dead’?
A fellow cyclist in London, Rantwick recently posted a couple of great video clips on taking the lane.
First not taking the lane (whew, that cube van comes close!):
Secondly taking the lane: