Sometimes - maybe because I read too many comments on news articles - I make a mistake (miss the yellow light and wind up accidentally running the red; wind up in the wrong lane; go at the wrong time at a stop sign) and I imagine the drivers around me thinking the sorts of things I see in the comments: "cyclists are out of control," "they're a danger to themselves and others," "why are these crazy cyclists allowed on the roads when they just disregard the rules," etc., etc., etc.
It drives me nuts to think that, because most of the time I'm pretty obsessively conscious of sharing the road. And because I hate reinforcing anyone's misguided stereotypes.
So what happened was this: I was heading to a friend's. I was tired, and shaking off the last of a cold, and maybe a little less alert than I could have been. I wound up at an intersection where I needed to turn left. You might know the intersection - at Bank and Kitchener.
So I pulled up at the red light, facing Bank Street. Across from me was the entrance to the parking lots of the LCBO (right) and Home Depot (left). But it gets a traffic light because people can continue straight through from Kitchener into the parking lots. There's a left turn lane on Kitchener, which I was in. But when the light turned green there was a car facing me, with turning signal on indicating the driver was turning left. I was also turning left. But I guess I have been in too many situations where a car facing me, when we're both turning left, has been visibly freaked out by not knowing what I'm going to do, so I hesitated before heading into the left turn, not able to figure out why the other car wasn't moving. Then saw the driver was waiting for a pedestrian to cross the road.
Then a car behind me honked, and pulled out to pass me, on the right side, although he'd been behind me in the left turn lane. So I turned to try and figure out which way he was going to go - worried that he was going to try and make the left turn around me, and possibly into me - and he pulled out, turning right onto Bank across the through/right turn lane, while a delivery truck behind him took the opportunity to pull past me on the other side and turn left, pausing long enough to yell something out the door of his truck that sounded to me like "... mumble something going straight something something cut off..."
I shouted, "He's turning! I was waiting! I'm turning left!" but by then he had driven off, having illegally passed me and cut me off for the turn, and the other driver having illegally passed me and cut across a lane to turn right.
I realize that in fact, if the car facing me was turning left, then what I was supposed to do was just continue with my turn. But since I didn't know what he was going to think of a bike heading into the intersection toward him, and because I was a little fuzzy-headed with a cold, and I momentarily forgot what my right of way was, I hesitated. Then the drivers behind me honked, fumed, and each did their own version of 'the wrong thing' to get around me - which they would not have done had I been in a car, hesitating in the left turn lane.
And I'm now bothered by the fact that I may have been taken for a 'stupid cyclist who doesn't know the rules.' Yup, I had a momentary brain fart. Sure, we were all wrong. But the end result of the whole incident was that my moment of insecurity was made infinitely more dangerous by the reactions of the drivers around me.
It's things like this that make me hate left turns with a burning firey passion.