[M.M.X.I.V. 154] Don’t honk at me!

Last night, a car honked at me, which happens semi-frequently when I ride my bike on the road.  Here in the United States, I almost always interpret a honking car as an aggressive manoeuvre (yes, I realize that I am using the U.K. spelling of “maneuver” here :)).  So, I want to describe one of the stories that I had today involving a honking car, and would like some input.

I was stopped at a red light, near the stop line, about four feet from the curb.  A stationary car behind me honked, and when I looked back, the driver had an annoyed look on his face, and I saw that the turn signal was on, to try to turn right on a red light.

To the best of my knowledge, bicyclists have the same rights of the road as vehicles in most cases.  In this situation, the car attempting to turn right on red (at an intersection in which this was legal) was behind a “vehicle” that was going straight.  If that “vehicle” were a four-plus wheeler, the car behind would NEVER honk to try to get them to move over.  But, I (begrudgingly) pulled over to the sidewalk, as the car turned right before I returned to my previous spot.  (I was heading straight once the light turned green.)

So, this brings up a few questions:

  1. Was anyone in the wrong here?  Was I ceding my right to the road by pulling over?
  2. Was the honk an aggressive honk, or was I over-reacting in negativizing the horn?  (Obviously, I did not confront the driver, as road rage may spill over into violence, and I do not want to be attacked by an angry driver.)
  3. Was I disrespecting the law by being far into the lane when stopped?

I will probably have some other posts about cars and bikes later on.  This situation just annoyed me enough to write about it immediately.


Today is the one-hundred and fifty-fourth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes twenty-two weeks.

(!היום תשעה וארבעים יום, שהם שבעה שבועות לעומר. (אחרי השקיה, חג שבועות שמח


2 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 154] Don’t honk at me!

  1. I cannot claim to be 100% familiar with the rules of the road, but I think you are correct in that your “vehicle” was ahead of his, and he was obliged to wait to turn right, as he would if you were driving a car or truck.

    I think you did the generous thing, allowing him to turn. Especially given that he had a look of annoyance – which, if nothing else, displayed his lack of understanding of the rules of the road.

    Was the honk aggressive? It’s hard to interpret it as otherwise.


    • The honk was definitely aggressive, Maggie. I almost always interpret a honk as either “GET OUT OF MY WAY!” or “MAKE THE (EXPLETIVE) TURN!”

      However, in some other countries (e.g. St. Thomas), they actually use car horns in a social manner, from what I learnt.

      Unfortunately, I think that a lot of drivers (a) do not know the rules of the road and (b) do not understand “share the road.” Granted, that is painfully true of many cyclists too…


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