By the time I left just after 9 AM, I had witnessed 25 U-turns from this block. About 80% were executed by taxis. I also was harassed by one person, a passenger in one of the U-turning vehicles, and further harassed by a security guard from the passenger's office over the legality of the pictures I was taking. Those pictures, and a bit more commentary, after the jump...
So, in the 40 minutes I stood on the street, I observed for about 30 minutes and spent about 10 minutes in various conversations. I saw two people I know, just riding their bikes down the bike lanes as they do many days I suppose. I saw people towing children in bike trailers and riding with them on extra seats, headed to somewhere very important to them. I saw people going to work, people out for exercise, people with yoga mats and fishing poles, people wearing lycra bike racing clothes and people wearing suits and ties, as young as 5 or 6 and as old as "enough to know better", and everything in between.
And I saw at least 25 drivers who one day may shatter all that, in most cases simply to save someone the trouble of walking across the street at the crosswalk when the light indicates. So far, we've been relatively lucky, with few crashes leading to injuries and nobody killed (that I know of), but we could be lucky like this for a hundred years and it wouldn't be worth what it gains us to look the other way and allow this conduct.The following pictures are in chronological order, with one exception. The first led the pack in crazy, so I wanted to lead off in showing it:
|FIRST UP, OUR GRAND PRIZE WINNER!!! This taxi drove IN the bike lanes between stanchions to prepare for this U-turn, then made it in the crosswalk - with pedestrians present, almost hitting the "No U-Turn" sign, all on a red light too!|
|I missed taking pictures of the first two U-turns I saw, so this was the first photo and the 3rd U-turn.|
|Not all U-turns were made by taxis.|
|This picture and the next are the same cab - here, finishing a U-turn...|
|...and here discharging a passenger in the middle of the intersection.|
|This taxi was immediately followed by the next - same pedestrians.|
|The khaki jacket on the right was on the left of the last photo.|
|Sorry for bad focus - this is not a taxi.|
|Not only illegal because of the bike lanes, illegal for crossing other lanes too.|
|Small taxi companies do it...|
|...and big taxi companies too.|
|This one deserves a special mention...|
The passenger in the red SUV saw me take this picture. When she stepped out, she looked at me and talked with her driver for a bit, then approached me and took my picture and asked why I had taken hers. I explained that I was observing traffic, and she said there was nothing to observe. I explained that her SUV had just made an illegal U-turn across the bike lanes, and she replied that it isn't illegal. I told her what I've learned, that any U-turn that crosses another lane like a bike lane is illegal. She went on to tell me that everyone does it, that there's no other way for cars to drop people off or park there, and that finally I should be observing illegal cyclists - such as the one that rode by in the motor vehicle lane, who should be in the bike lanes. I responded that if she wants to tell cyclists what to do she really ought to learn what the law expects them to do in the first place. She shouted back something mostly garbled but clearly impolite, and I pointed out that reactions like that show why pictures like this are necessary.
I thought I was done with this, and I was about to pack up and go to work, but few minutes later a security guard came out of the building and asked if I was taking pictures. I said yes, with no further explanation. He went on to say he'd had complaints that I was taking pictures of people and license plates, and I had to stop. I asked him why, and he replied that it's illegal without permission or authority. When I asked why he thought that and who had told him so, he told me that he was going to get a "rover" to explain it all to me. Maybe he meant from Mars, because I stayed there another 15 minutes and never saw him or his "rover" the whole time.So I went back to taking pictures...
|Like this one.|
|Even small, eco-friendly taxis do it.|
|By this time the parking restrictions expired and traffic had filled in, so this taxi made its U-turn and had to stop in the middle of traffic to discharge the passenger.|
|More eco-taxis, more bad focus, more U-turns.|
|I'm not great at reading expressions - do you suppose he'd like to thank me?|
|This taxi started the U-turn with no regard for traffic in his destination lanes, and had to stop across the bike lanes for 10-15 seconds before bullying his way through when the light turned red.|