Monday, December 23, 2013

honk! honk! (Year End Blog Clearance Sale #1)

It's that time of year again - time to reduce the inventory backlog of old, unfinished posts. These are all New Old Stock, maybe they have slight blemishes or missing parts but otherwise they are brand new!

Here's the first one, I think it was left unfinished due to a lack of interest and a good ending.  One of the work related personality tests I took once said, (besides confirming I was a space cadet), that my personality type (there were maybe 24 types comprised of 4 letters like JSNF) likes to leave things unfinished.  We don't like the finality of it, I guess, or it's just a good excuse to procrastinate.  Of course, maybe most tests of that sort you should take with a grain of salt.

If you would like, you could add an ending yourself.

Honk Honk!

I haven't been honked at yet this year.  Just writing that is probably a guarantee someone will honk at me tomorrow. (Edit: just a few more days to go!)

I was honked at probably 4 or 5 times last year.  I'm not riding any differently than I was last year, so I don't know what's up.  Maybe drivers are too distracted to honk.

Last year's honks I think were all for no reason at all, or so it seemed so to me.  The first time was kinda funny.  I was stopped at a red light on Broadway, heading west, at the intersection with Monroe.  I was over to the left a bit in case a vehicle came up behind me wanting to turn right.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they wait behind me.  There was a guy walking across the crosswalk in front of me carrying an old stereo component (I see this surprisingly often in town, they're usually heading to the pawn shop). There was a truck behind me. When the guy was about 3 feet from the curb, he turned around and said to me "the truck behind you wants to turn right".  In the 1/2 second it took me to process what he said and automatically half turn my head to look behind me, the light turned green.  The truck's horn honked.  Seriously, there's a guy still in the crosswalk, the light barely turned green, and you're honking?

I often ride home on Broadway in front of the Courthouse.  I try to ride to the left of the parked cars to stay out of the door zone.  I can keep up with the speed of traffic if I want, since everybody isn't going too fast here, and really shouldn't be.  There are a lot of pedestrians-soon-to-be-drivers-or-bus-riders crossing the street in the area.  If cars want to pass bikes here, they just move to the left into the center turn lane a little bit.  Oh but not one guy - he couldn't quite grasp the concept and laid on the horn.

Then there are times when I'm just biking along and a honk comes out of nowhere.  I rode from Aubrey White Pkwy to Gun Club Road to hook up with 7mile Rd and ride back to the Veterans hospital /old River Ridge shopping center area. 7-mile is a 4-lane road, and I'm in the right lane going east, sparse traffic.  A car in the left lane, one full lane over, honks. I thought maybe they knew me or were giving an encouraging honk - otherwise I don't know why they honked. It's not like I was in the way of anybody as traffic volume was low.  Heck, I'm not sure why it's a 4 lane road anyway, it seems to have the traffic volume of a two lane.


  1. Don't feel smug about getting honked at. I am in SouthCoast Massachusetts and there are two road rules everyone agrees upon. Fist: The first vehicle facing you and wanting to turn left has the right of way. Everyone knows this and abides by this rule, which also says that the second vehicle has to be prevented by any means of jumping into the turn ahead of you.

    Second rule is that when the light turns green, the second car in line must lay on his horn immediately. Obviously the truck behind you was being driven by someone from Southern Mass.

  2. Honking is our first rule here as we make the left turning vehicles wait. Usually the light turns green and you have to wait a couple seconds for the red light runners to clear the intersection, and then the car behind you honks cuz you aren't moving. We might have a few more drivers from Southern Mass here than I realized, but it seems to be a trait we're born with here in Spokane.

  3. I moved to Seattle from Spokane about a year and a half ago and after a while realized I wasn't getting honked at--at all. It took months for me to hear one honk that MIGHT have been directed at me. It was on a busy enough street that I honestly don't know if it was even meant for me (one-way with four lanes in downtown around Westlake Mall area--heavy pedestrian zone).
    I attribute this to the greater number of people on bicycles, which acclimates drivers more to their presence. That doesn't change human nature, but there's quite a bit of evidence that a greater number of people bicycling reduces the number of incidents and collisions (the "safety in numbers" principle).
    I picked up a graphic from somewhere that suggests how to respond to driver comments/gestures/etc.:

  4. I'm thinking/hoping maybe Spokane drivers are getting more used to bikes on the streets, and that's why I heard less honking in 2013. I like the part in the graphic about "which is the meanest and nicest and nicest thing you can do". I try not to be one of those indignant cyclists and get all huffy when a driver does something like pull out in front of me. I usually wave them the peace sign, and hope they don't mistake it for the 1-finger salute.