Scoot Commute

A painted left arrow, a stoplight that’s a left arrow and a sign that says ‘Left Turn Only’, oh and a C70 with a Lifan 110

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2010/07/16

You’ve been missing the whinging about commuting, eh? Well, it’s baaaaaaack! I should have brought my camera this week; I’ll try to get a pic next week of what I’m about to go off on.

Eagle Square

Eagle Square 5-points

There’s a five-points on my commute, which is a traditional intersection with traffic forming a cross PLUS another street coming in at an angle. The intersection is quite busy as it leads toward an entrance ramp for one of the highways to get out of Providence and into the ‘burbs.

It seems like Probbydense must have gotten some money because there’s been major roadworks at the intersection, including new tarmac, new street lights, new crosswalks, new curbing, and, drumroll please, a new traffic pattern.

This work has been ongoing for several months and very visible. How can you miss the retro-looking traffic signals they’ve been installing, including guys in hi-viz t-shirts hanging in cherry pickers?

I was away on my holidays for a couple of weeks and when I got back and did the first day of the commute, what to my law-abiding heart did I see but actual “left turn only” lanes. Why is this a big deal? Because on a Friday afternoon commute coming home, I could go through three or four cycles of lights (remember, this is a five-points so the wait is longer than a traditional intersection) until I could finally make my left. And this intersection has been the cause of angst in the past.

Three of the five days on my morning commute, a car pulled into the left-turn-only lane. Two of the three days it was the same white Lexus V8 with the same blonde woman driver. Today, Friday, it was a guy in a large Range Rover-y type SUV (maybe a Toyota Highlander?) who was in the left lane. There was a police car behind me and one in the left-turn lane opposite front.

I knew, in all three instances, that the person on the left-turn-only lane was not going to turn left and instead, plow through the intersection and go straight. How did I know this? Well, besides the typical idiot in an SUV experience I’ve had from years of commuting, when the left turn signal went green (and the straight signal remained red) none of the cars turned.

I was willing to the give the Lexus SUV the benefit of the doubt when this first occurred on Tuesday. But when I saw her again on Thursday, I knew she was a regular commuter. She drives through this intersection on a regular basis and just doesn’t care. Both times I let her know that she was impinging on my right-of-way and both times, she slowed to get behind me. Gotta love the Stebel horn on the Buddy.

This morning I was in a dilemma. I had a cop behind me and didn’t want to appear overly aggressive. But damn, I’m not gonna take a frigging jerk in a big ol’ SUV taking my lane because he was either too stupid, not alert enough or just too obnoxious to try to get to the front.

Green left arrow turns red. SUV guy still sitting there. Straight ahead light turns green. Pick-up truck in front of me proceeds into the intersection. SUV guy next to me begins to move forward. I open the throttle and with a sweet “toot-toot” on the Stebel (it can be done and helps when the perpetrator is wearing a dress), take my lane. The guy stays waaaaaaaaay behind me. Yet another idiot who doesn’t know the rules of the road. It’s not rocket science. And I would think most rocket scientists don’t drive because they know they’re too distracted. At least the ones I’ve known.

Oh and another brilliant move at the same intersection earlier in the week by a cab. Left arrow turns green. Cab goes straight. Almost hit a car making a left from the other side. Geniuses.

Riding home today I saw what looked like a yellow Honda Passport signal to make a right onto River from Pleasant Valley. This would put him behind me. And as luck would have it, I got the light at River and Chalkstone. He pulled up next to me and I could clearly see it was a Honda Passport, aka Honda C70 sans fairing. I yelled over how I had a CT90. He didn’t know what that was so I said it was sorta the dirt bike version of his bike. And then I looked down. He had swapped the engine for a Lifan 110. Schweeeeeeet. I looked over and yelled, “Man, that thing must be fast” and nodded approvingly. He laughed and said he had an unmolested C70, too. He asked about the Buddy (it’s so lame to say, “Oh, it’s a Buddy” but what can I do?). At this point the light had turned green and an belligerent driver behind us had the gall to honk. Can’t you see we’re eyeing up each others’ rides here? Would you do that to a cruiser?

We took our separate paths. On my cut-through street off of Broadway (the one with the Guatemalan restaurant on the corner with the new name), I look ahead and see a car coming toward me. It’s a one-way and I’m riding the posted direction. Swerve around, no problem. This is at 2:30 in the afternoon. I can only imagine that driver at night after a couple of cocktails!

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