Here is a photo from google street view:
This is the massachusetts ave bridge in Boston, MA, USA.
There is a bike path on this bridge as you can see. I think that picture makes the bikepath out to look wider than it is though. Cars frequently speed on this bridge, while the speedlimit is probably like 30-40 cars often drive really fast across the bridge because it is just a long straight shot. However at the end of the bridge is a series of stoplights which makes going fast rather pointless.
I was riding over the bridge today, monday around 2:30pm. The bike path is usually pretty clean but we had a storm recently and while the roads are perfectly clear, the bike path was filled with debris, gravel, salt, sand, who knows what. Their was nobody on the road in front of me, some cars were behind me but the traffic wasn't heavy. It was really windy.
My three options for crossing the bridge were:
1. ride to the far left of the bike lane and try to avoid crappy road conditions, and not get clipped by a speeding driver.
2. ride in the far right of the right lane and hope people don't try to squeeze by and hit me.
3. take the right lane.
I chose number 3. I took the whole lane. I probably was going at between 15-20mph. The wind made it hard to go faster. As I road across the bridge I felt as if I was in very little danger of being hit. Cars went to the left lane and passed me, nobody honked (I dont think), no traffic got backed up. At the end of the bridge I caught up with most of the cars that past me because they were stuck at traffic lights.
Anyways just after the bridge, I'm still taking the lane because at this part there is a good chance of being doored if you ride in the bike lane, and traffic can move no faster than I'm riding. This person rides up parallel to me, in the bike lane and says "Don't take up the whole lane like that, it pisses off the drivers." We talked for maybe 20 seconds where I tried to explain that I was taking the lane because the bikelane was filled with debris, I have the right too, and that it was for my safety. He said something like "you just have to ride more carefully then in the bikelane, taking up the lane pisses off the drivers more than they already are." Then he turned a corner and road away.
I'm pretty sure I made the right decision by taking the lane. I felt much safer and I didn't create a traffic problem at all as far as I'm aware.
What would you have done in my situation? Would you have taken the lane? What would you have told this person who tried to tell me the proper way to ride a bike to "avoid angering drivers" ?