Using the right, er, left lane in the first place
Early this month I was in Orlando for training to become a Cycling Savvy instructor. Then I came home and promptly got sick with the weirdest illness, diagnosed as benign positional vertigo. For weeks I was incapable of extracurricular activity (including writing for this blog). I’m so grateful to feel better. Before the month is gone, I wanted to post about a road revelation that I started working on before I got sidetracked by illness.
I’m still learning how to use Google Maps, but if you scroll a bit on the map above, it will show the route of a trip that I make several times a week. This trip starts from the 4100 block of Lindell Boulevard in the Central West End. I go this way because this block has my favorite mailbox, with a dependable late pickup. After dropping off the day’s mail I typically head to any number of points west. I don’t mind riding on Lindell, but I much prefer the quieter streets to its north or south. So after I leave the mailbox if I want to ride on West Pine Blvd., I used to get into the right lane on Lindell, and signal and merge over the course of the next two blocks with much faster-moving traffic to move into the left through lane, and then into the left turn lane for a left turn onto Boyle Avenue.
During my last trip to Orlando it finally sunk in that it’s a lot easier, and more courteous of fellow drivers, to simply use the proper lane to my destination in the first place. If I were driving my car and wanted to go left just up ahead, I wouldn’t start in the far right line. Why did I do this on my bike?
We need to bust, smash, and kill the myth that cyclists need to stay right.” Keri Caffrey, one of the founders of Cycling Savvy, said this on April 1 in Orlando to her group of fledgling instructors. She pounded her hand with her fist for emphasis on the words “bust,” “smash” and “kill.”
When we got back to St. Louis on Monday, April 4, I rode my “mailbox route” several times that afternoon using proper lane positioning in the first place for my intended destination. No trouble at all. No incivility. Photos and video below.
No trouble and no incivility…
…but always serendipity when I’m on my bike. How lovely to find a huge and heavy orange lying on the side of the road on the day that I returned from the Land of Oranges!