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Gear Prudence: There’s something about bike lanes in D.C. and the suburbs that’s driving me crazy—the “bike person” that’s painted in the lane is never facing the same way! Sometimes he’s facing right, other times he’s looking left. Is there a reason for this? —Observing Conflicting Directionality
Dear OCD: You’ve unwittingly stumbled into the plot of the new Dan Brown tome. As part of the massive UN conspiracy, bike-lane installers have embedded a code into the streets which when unlocked will lead to, among other things, the Holy Grail, Freemasons, and a treasure vault full of Nic Cage films.
Or maybe the bike lane installers are trying to send a message about the Janus-faced nature of urban cyclists: benign eco-friendly slowpokes one second, aggressive self-righteous road warriors the next.
Or, according to Darren Buck, a bicycle planner at DDOT, there’s just no guidance on which way the “Helmeted Bicycle Figure” should face in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices that dictates how road symbols should be installed, hence the lack of uniformity. (But don’t tell me the Illuminati didn’t write that manual.) —GP
Gear Prudence: The other day around the corner from my office, an asshole in a black BMW honked at me when I was taking the lane. Reflexively, I turned around, cursed, and flipped him off. To my horror, I saw that it was the CEO of my company. I don’t know if he recognized me, but our team has a big presentation for him next week. Should I seek him out to apologize ahead of time? Have I just killed my career? —Fretful Involving Recent Enraged Decision
Dear FIRED: The obvious first step is to update your LinkedIn to remove all references to your being a “hotheaded avid cyclist.” And while you’re in there, update your résumé, just in case. Sometimes anger gets the best of us, and our immediate reactions are regrettable, even if understandable. You don’t need to seek out your CEO to apologize. If he brings it up, grovel and cry a little, but calling it to his attention a week later is simpering and unnecessary. You’re probably one of dozens of cyclists he’s honked at, so don’t make it a big deal.
In the mean time, hang up an identifying bike attire on the cubicle next door to pin your misdeed on a hapless co-worker. If not that, consider selling your bike on Craigslist and using the cash to bribe a bus driver to provide you an alibi. Ideally, of course, you should just learn to control your temper, especially as you get closer to the office. Treat this is a lesson learned. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who blogs at talesfromthesharrows.blogspot.com and tweets at @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.