Gear Prudence: Is it ever OK for a bicyclist to wait in the crosswalk when stopped at a red light? What if it’s just for two seconds? Or if they’re going to make a right turn? Or if it’s the middle of the night and you know no pedestrians are anywhere nearby? —Can Rider Obey Simple Signs?
Dear CROSS: GP is better known for considering all sides than for definitive answers, but this one is quite clear: Almost no situations exist where a bicyclist should block a crosswalk. No, it’s not as bad as when a driver does it, but it’s still annoying for pedestrians to have to walk around you, even if you’re able to scoot up or back a few feet to make it marginally less irksome. Wait behind it (or in a bike box, if there is one). Starting a few feet farther back won’t make that much of a difference to you when the light changes. Even if you’re certain nobody is within 10 miles, the crosswalk is a pedestrian space and you should respect that. It’s pretty easy.
That said, ‘almost no situations’ isn’t the same as ‘absolutely no situations,’ and there might be scant circumstances in which blocking a crosswalk might be your only option. (Maybe there’s a bear chasing you that’s afraid of white stripes.) But refuge in the crosswalk is really a last resort, and not something you should ever try to rationalize. —GP
Gear Prudence: Last Saturday I was out for a ride, saw my buddy, took a pic, and tagged him on Instagram. His wife follows my Instagram and immediately commented ‘WTF? He’s supposed to be at work.’ Now my friend is pissed and says that I shouldn’t have tagged him without his permission. Sucks for him, but bike rides are fair game, right? —I’m Not Supposed To Agitate
Dear INSTA: GP concedes there was no way for you to know that your friend was lying to his wife about what he was doing (and GP suggests that concealing information from a spouse about your location is a suboptimal in all situations, other than planning a lavish surprise party for said spouse) and thinks the onus falls on your friend to proactively tell you not to put anything on social media. He was the one on the surreptitious galavant and opsec demands that he take steps to curtail your revealing it.
As to the larger question about whether you could/should be able to tag any and all people you see riding their bikes on the social media platform of your choice, let caution be your guide. If you hope to avoid creating marital tiffs in the future, the simple step of asking would help. Or if that’s too awkward, make it abundantly clear that you’re taking a picture in order to post it. That should prompt his objection. And if not, welp, that’s on him. —GP