Okay, you can park in the bike lane
0 comment Saturday, July 19, 2014 |
I decide I need to go to the Kinko's on 17th and Sherman to fax something about noon today. All told, I have to ride about a mile and a half down 16th Avenue, which is safe because it has a bike lane the entire length of it from Columbine to Broadway, right?
On the north side of 16th, between Marion and Lafayette, there's a truck from a certain federal institution parked in the bike lane. I stop for a second and take a photo, wondering if I have time to get out a "I Parked In A Bike Lane" sticker and slap it on the windshield. Nah, I move on. I think about what I'm going to do with the photo -- can I e-mail the Denver Police parking enforcement division? Maybe just the federal institution that owns the truck?

I dodge no less than three joggers in the bike lane the rest of the way to Sherman, and a car that has tried to make a left turn out of an alley onto 16th, but couldn't quite make the turn, so its bumper is hanging 2/3 of the way over the bike lane.
I make it to Kinko's with no incident, and on my way back, I see a FedEx truck parked in the bike lane on the north side of 16th between Park and Humboldt. Oh, and another delivery truck in the bike lane between Marion and Lafayette, I think. Big day for blocking the "bike lane," I say to myself.
And there's the truck from before, from the certain federal institution, now blocking the bike lane on the north side of 16th between Humboldt and Franklin. I stop and take another photo.
Well, the driver of this truck comes walking down the sidewalk, and he says, "You all right?"
And I say, "Actually, no. What's the deal here?" Gesturing to the truck.
Immediately this man becomes very defensive, and starts to rip me a new one about how he has to do his job, and there's nowhere else to park. I don't get much of a chance to speak, and I just sit there and nod, and I mention that he's blocking the bike lane.
He blows up about "you bikers" etc. etc. etc. "think you have all these rights" etc. etc. etc. and I stand there straddling my bike and nodding. He says "You can take a picture. Hell, I'll give you my name. My name's [FIRST NAME]."
Then he gets in his truck, slams or punches the door, and over the engine, I can hear him yell something really loudly about bikes.
So I ride after him, because he stops on the next block, parking in the bike lane again. He gets out, and I say, "Actually, can I get your name?"
He tells me his first name again, and I say, "What's your last name?" And he says he's not giving me his last name. I say okay, calmly, but I'm still not getting much of a chance to speak as he details all the stuff he has to put up with, and how he really has no choice but to park in the bike lane. He is fixing to retire this year, he says. Just the other day he just about ran over a girl on a bike because she just popped out of nowhere next to him as he was trying to turn. And she flipped him off. I just keep nodding and shrugging, like man, I hear you, but.
Then I calmly explain that I work for a NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT FIGHTS FOR CYCLISTS' RIGHTS, and I'm just trying to make it a little easier for people to bike in this city, instead of feeling like they have to take their life in their hands every time they get on a bicycle. I say we get shit from all sides, you know? That's all.
We are now simpatico, me and [FIRST NAME]. He says he's only on this route for three more weeks, and that it'll be a new guy after that. He smiles and shakes his head and we both let it slide.
I say, "All right man. [FIRST NAME], I'm Brendan," and I stick out my hand. We shake hands and I say have a good one. I ride off, wondering if anybody changed anybody's mind there or not.
I think maybe that truck won't be in the bike lane for the next three weeks, maybe. Maybe.

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