This morning, on my way into work, I watched three cars pull over to the curb and occupy what is a clearly marked bicycle lane. One was a cab picking up a fare while another was a vehicle waiting for someone to come out of an office building and the third went in to the cafe on the ground-floor to get a coffee. Now, I rode the subway today (and the past few days) because it's -32c and that is simply too cold for me, but I have observed far braver souls than I still cycling in spite of the bone-numbing cold and they need those lanes. This is downtown Toronto traffic after all. Neither of the three vehicles signalled their lane-change and, although I can't be certain, I doubt they checked their right-hand mirrors either
That wasn't what bothered me, however. What bothered me was the frivolous reasons for mindlessly putting cyclists at risk: laziness and coffee. It reminded me of last spring when a driver did that to me on my way to work. He was four car lengths in front of me, he even checked his rear-view mirror, saw me and signaled then proceeded to block my lane anyway. I decided (as I was early for work) to return the favour and dashed in to get my own coffee (considering I had to come to a complete stop anyway before attempting to maneuvre around his car), getting out of the Tim Horton's only a few seconds ahead of the motorist. I rode a short distance up the road and then, with a safe distance between him and I and the lane at his left completely clogged, I moved into his lane, stopped the bike, turned it sideways and proceeded to sit and innocently drink my coffee while he had come to an unexpected halt two feet away from me. He glared at me for awhile but I pretended not to notice. He honked. I pretended to be oblivious. He finally got out and yelled 'what the hell do you think you're doing?' I looked at him as if I just noticed him and replied 'you mean it's not okay to just sit and block a lane for coffee?' He gaped at me for another minute before saying it was illegal to block the lane and he would call the police. I offered him my cell phone and reminded him I would be requesting the same charge. After about a minute I put my coffee away, stretched and went on my way with this guy coming up beside me and giving me the finger to which I replied with a smile 'yes, their coffee is number one with me too! Have a nice day!"