Dear Mr. Bianchi,
Today I encountered you under, what was for myself, a very odd circumstance. I was in my car, driving to the tire shop. This in its self was odd as I rarely drive and take absolutely no responsibility for the maintenance of my car (I leave it to my husband who insists that I keep the silly thing despite the fact that the only thing I do with it is get parking tickets). You were on your terribly shiny and aggressively Celeste coloured road bike, which looked a lot like this-
You were so confident in your all navy blue wool, vintage inspired riding kit. Your helmet was so snug over you curly dark hair. Your IPod earbuds and wrap arounds fit so perfectly into the ensemble. The only thing amiss in your profile was the 15 pound bicycle chain you were carrying, although you do get points for wearing it stylishly around your terribly athletic waist.
I first saw you as you were approaching the red light that was shining for you. It was a very convenient red light for me, as it allowed my light to be green thus enabling my entrance into the intersection to make my left turn. Imagine my surprise when, after making sure that the oncoming car, who also had a green light, was far enough away to allow my turn there you were! You and your brifters and your Chris King bottom bracket* and your coordinated SPD's, right there where I was supposed to be turning. I stopped, I looked at you as you continued to drift in front of me, I put up my hands in the international sign for "Dude! What the f*ck? Really?" Your response? "You have your signal on, there is room for both of us!". As the reality of how much room I had to make my turn was certainly a point of debate (I hold that when someone on a bicycle is in a particular space that it is not wise to try to insert my car into said particular space), it was of equal interest that the, formerly, oncoming car was now waiting his turn to enter the intersection and had the same hands up communication that I had employed.
There is an argument that could be made that I could display "Righteous Indignation" at this point, but honestly, you Sir, were just to damn funny. Your bewilderment that I might find it unacceptable to run you over while you stormed my position was very amusing. While I may find the entrance into an utterly unoccupied intersection by a cyclist at a red light acceptable, it seems to me that doing so when the intersection is occupied by a moving car weighing 2701 pounds is a Darwinian Act.
And thus we come to the next odd part of this encounter. When I was finally able to clear the intersection, not because you had stopped but because you had drifted far enough along to allow me movement, I was pleasantly surprised to see you in my rear view mirror. You were standing in your saddle, pumping those legs for all it was worth to catch up to me. I lowered my window in heightened expectation of what you may have to say to me when you would inevitably catch me at the next intersection. You did not disappoint, not in the least. You removed your ear buds, which was a polite thing to do but would have held more power had you removed your mirrored sunglasses, too, and proceeded to tell me about all the room you had back there, enough room for us to share. Sure, you admit, you ran the light, but.... You assured me you were not trying to be confrontational, that you only wished to inform me. My response?
"You f*cked up, dude. Eat it and learn. Have a good ride!" It was hard to get the words out, as intelligent and considered as they were. I was just laughing too hard, and no, I was not laughing with you. My passenger, a fellow cyclist, sat in her seat saying "What the hell was that? Did he think he was right? Was he actually trying to explain that away?"
Mr. Bianchi, should you read this, please understand that I have no ill will toward you. You seemed a perfectly decent person and I am sure your mother raised you well. It is simply this, Sir- crap like that is what makes people in cars angry at people on bicycles. It is behavior that you have complete control of and is not caused by poor infrastructure or a lack of awareness by the driving public. Entering intersections with moving cars in them when it is not your turn is stupid, dangerous and just really bad manners.
If you do choose to take this action again, please don't try to explain it away. It makes us all look silly, selfish and self absorbed. Just apologize and keep moving keeping in mind that the pissed off driver you leave behind you will most likely take out their frustration on the next cyclist they see.
Have a great ride, Mr. Bianchi!
*OK, I have one of those, too so I will give you a slide on that one.