Everyday I have similar experiences, except mine aren’t 12″ of room between their sideview and my bars, mine are more like people pulling in front of me, getting out of the car, calling me “faggot” as they try to tackle me off my bike. People don’t like it when you pass them as they sit in gridlock and many take out their frustrations with congestion on cyclists.
Even in the bike lane, especially in South Williamsburg, along Hasid way, I’ve had mini vans come as close as a foot off my rear wheel going as fast as I can and then pull ahead only to slam on their brakes… I wasn’t alone one time. There were at least 5 other people who were with me.
What will it take to get drivers to respect our presence? Tickets? Probably not. Most tickets are thrown out of court. If we had curbed / barricaded bike lanes, we’d be safe(r). The only thing that will get drivers to respect us is when they are the ones on the bikes. Driving in the City isn’t a right, it’s a privilege and one that should be taxed. There’s no reason why subway riders should cope with higher fares when the drivers in this City get away without any tolls.
Bottom line is, keep your wits about you. It’s getting warmer out, which means more cyclists, which means more angry drivers. Take the lane if you have to. Wear a helmet, wear lights and be safe. If you’re in a compromising situation, get their plate number, take a picture and call the Police.