Long time bike commuter that has to vent about another commuter. I live in Austin, TX and commute 16 miles a day, and one of the roads I ride on is a 4 lane heavily trafficked road called Lamar. It has a bike lane for most of it, and there are a ton of alternate routes that parallel Lamar that can be used when the bike lanes are inconsistant. There is one spot, however, where there are no parallel routes and it is either ride on the sidewalk or ride on the street for about half a mile. I usually choose to ride the sidewalk because it is much safer and much less rude to cars to take up a lane during rush hour.
Yesterday, there was a guy on a recumbent bike in the right lane at rush hour going about 10 miles an hour causing a huge backup. It irritated the crap out of me and I come seeking advice and commuter bike etiquette.
The question: When commuting on a busy street and choosing between taking a lane or riding the sidewalk, what is the better thing to do and why?