Wednesday I had an interesting cycling experience. I was riding down Armour Road in North Kansas City. It was the time of morning before the sun had risen. The red flashing light on the back of my bicycle was strobing brightly. There were few cars sharing my lane; the couple that did passed on the left as I stayed to the right side of the lane.
Until I got to the block for turning left onto Swift. I moved into the center of the lane and put my arm out to signal my intent to move into the left turn lane — and thus make a left turn — when I reached the lane.
But when I got to the lane and started to move into it, I realized it was occupied. A white car that had been behind me was using the left turning lane to pass me on the left while I was attempting to use the same lane for my left turn.
After my first reaction, to move myself to safety, I had my second reaction. “EXCUSE ME” I found myself broadcasting in a loud, questioning tone.
The car cleared the intersection, moving back into the driving lane, and stopped just on the other side of the intersection. “Sorry about that,” I heard. (Apparently his window was down and he had heard me.)
By this point I was leaning left, making my turn through the intersection. I don’t remember exactly what I said. I think it was something like “thank you”, or some other saying to show I appreciated and accepted the apology, without approving the action, of course.
But that is the first time I’ve ever heard an apology from someone to me on my bicycle.
(Update: This morning I had a similar experience. Along the same stretch a car tried to use the turning lane as the passing lane, but this time he saw me signalling before actually getting up alongside me and so swerved to the other side.
The turning late is in two pieces, used for a left-hand turn for traffic in both directions. These cars were sliding into the lane when it was against their direction of traffic.)