What you said about what we said last week
Should you play chicken with a salmon? In the last week’s Gear Prudence, bicycling-etiquette columnist Brian McEntee suggested a very genteel approach for dealing with scofflaw riders traveling the wrong way down a bike lane: just exit the lane, and possibly give them a harsh look. Some readers, though, prefer more aggressive tactics: “I definitely hold my line with a determined (not angry) look,” wrote ultrarunnergirl. “The salmon can go into traffic or within inches of parked car doors. On the streets it usually happens, there are always cars driving alongside me.” IMGoph was even more draconian: “The salmoner should go into traffic. They can see if cars are coming toward them and better judge their safety level. If there *is* a car coming? Oh well. One less salmoner. ;)”
Bobby Booshay got more detailed: “Uh, if this is one of our one-road lanes, one bike-lane streets, like Q or R NW, this advice is ludicrous. So I’m going the correct way and you expect me to quickly turn my head—to make sure, you know, there’s no car speeding up to smush me—taking my eyes off the lazy yutz and then enter the roadway. Seems simple enough until when you are checking to see it’s safe, said yutz also veers into the road and you both collide or nearly so. No, no, no, no ,no. My approach is much more simpler and effective. Provided I have time, I slow my speed and yell loudly and clearly, ‘I AIN”T FUCKIN MOVING!’ The salmon’s look of horror at you assert your rights is one of life’s simple pleasures. Sure I usually get a ‘dick!’ or ‘fuck you!’ but I’m not risking injury because you’re too lazy to ride to the appropriate block. YOU veer into traffic; you’re the one creating the havoc; not to mention you can actually see the car traffic.”
LALA pushed back: “If you are going in the direction of traffic, you can proceed in the lane and the potential traffic behind you can slow down yet still continue in the same direction, just like if you were in a street with no bike lane. The salmon would force the oncoming traffic to stop. You can still call the salmon an asshole as you go by (this is very important) but it removes all confusion if you just take the first step and move in the street. This is just another reason why bike lanes shouldn’t exist in the first place and bikes should just occupy the whole lane.”
To reader scotterj2003, the column offered a solution in need of a problem: “I’ve personally never witnessed, or even heard of, a collision like the one described in the column. Even someone who is salmoning is going to take steps to minimize their risk of personal harm…they’re selfish, are they not? So they’ll move out of the way when the time comes.”
But is salmoning occasionally permissible? Reader Nathan identified 15th Street between W and Euclid streets NW as a possible exception: “I find the two bike lanes in the same direction completely unnecessary, so I just take the one on the west side as a south-bound lane.” It’s your life, Nathan!
One reader was appalled by last week’s Are You Gonna Eat That? column, for which Laura Hayes tasted the beef marrow with sea urchin, antler mustard, and ink toast at Gypsy Soul in Fairfax. “What is this garbage?” wrote Maru. “In Latin America we feed this crap to pigs.”