During a Dr. Gridlock chat last week a cyclist wrote in about an aggressive driver who honked at them and threatened to run them off the road on the K Street service lane. The cyclist asked why the driver would be in that lane among other questions. To which Dr. G responded that, basically, you can't understand crazy.
Well, Hugh O'Neill of DC wrote in with some serious windshield perspective based advice.
Surely the cyclist must share some of the blame for not yielding the right of way to the motorist who was legally using the service road. The cyclists actions were not only selfish, but even dangerous.
He or she could have taken the moral high ground and engaged in safer behavior by pulling aside, instead of being apparently annoyed and pigheaded by refusing to yield to the bigger and heavier automobile.
Jim Sebastian of DDOT and Glen Harrison of WABA both point out that the cyclist was legally using the service road. And I would argue that O'Neill was wrong about the driver. If you're honking at a cyclist (or anyone really) in front of you to get out of your way and driving in an aggressive and threatening manner, that probably is not "legally using the service road."
Both O'Neill and Harrison make the point that a cyclist should probably avoid a driver like this, and if that means pulling over where it is safe to do so, then maybe that is a good idea.
But O'Neill's point that the cyclist was at fault is really blaming the victim. Would you call a kid who refuses to give up his lunch money to the school bully "selfish and dangerous?" Perhaps Mr. O'Neill does not know that this is a joke.