I am writing this post as I never seem to have the right things to say to people when they have a go at me on the roads in a situation where I have not broken the law and because this incident really upset me - so I would like some advice for next time if I choose to engage with the person confronting me.
Today at lunch I was cycling back to the city from Glebe along Broadway in the bus lane until I passed UTS where I merged over to the middle lane so that at Central I would be in the correct lane to go straight in order to enter Pitt St. I did this because there were no other cars in the lane when I merged and because it is very hard to merge over in time further up as most cars don't want to let you across.
As I was waiting in my lane at the lights on the Broadway/Harris St I started getting beeped from behind and as we set off on the green towards the next red light the guy passed me waving his hands about. I waved back in a 'what?' manner and then regrettably as I was so annoyed waved my little finger (I try just to wave at people now and def do not give them worse but this time I was not so restrained).
At the lights he pulled over and wound his window down to invite me over to talk to him. I hesitated but drew up next to him and asked him why he was beeping at me telling him that the reason I was in the lane and not the far left lane was because I was going straight. He then started lecturing me that he wasn't asking me to be in the left lane but that I should be in the left of the lane I was in and that as a cyclist himself (3 times a week) I was giving cyclists a bad name. Though I was very tempted to enquire whether driving his bicycle to Centennial counted in this tally I held back. I told him that I was in the middle of the lane to protect myself from being swiped and that I was allowed by law to do so but he insisted that since I could stand next to him in the lane stationary we could also fit while moving. He did not seem to get my point that I had not held him up from one red light to another and that at this juncture I was taking the lane for safety before I would move more to the left once on Pitt St. He just kept on about me giving cyclists a bad name.
I am really upset and offended as I do everything possible to do the right thing by pedestrians, other cyclists and motorists. I only take the lane when it is the safest thing to do and not in a situation when I can stay left safely and let cars pass. In the CBD given the traffic and red lights taking the lane should not be an issue to motorists. I know he was an idiot but his very patronising and condescending lecture really upset me - would he have done this to a bloke? Usually when wearing my office clothes/skirt I get a remarkably low occurrence of road rage!
If you are reading this little bald man in your tiny silver 4wdrive thing - you stick to your riding style and I will stick to mine - as I said 'agree to disagree' but beeping and carrying on at cyclists just because you have ridden a bike too sends a worse message to other road users about cyclists legitimacy on the roads. I apologise for insinuating you had a small penis with my little finger - it was wrong to actually express my thoughts in this manner I agree, but your rudeness on the road and your condescending lecture only reaffirmed my initial thoughts.
So what should I have said?