"To initiate a left turn you first have to push the handlebars to the right"
I've done a *vast* amount of cycling and believe me you don't need to move the bars to the right in order to lean the bike left - you can just push the bike left (when out of the saddle). It's also possible to come to a complete halt, turn the bars in one direction, then set up (without putting a foot down).Too lean the bike to the left, you turn the bars to the right to move the bike out from underneath you. Once you are leaning (toppling) to the left you then turn the bars to the left to keep the bike underneath you so you don't fall over.
This is something we all do naturally without even realising. Try it, ride in a straight line and very gently turn the bars and see which way you end up going.
Sterling Stuff 21CP. Just one query. Did you set this up to see what it looked like, or did you happen across the scene as found? My reason for asking is that it looked to me a bit more like the bike came in from the right and went off towards the left of the image. Clearly, if you set it up you would know, and I absolutely accept that you saw it 'in the flesh' as it were.
Even so, the overall pattern together with the fact that we are habituated to get on and off our bikes on the left side rather than whilst standing in the road, tends to suggest a right to left dynamic. Also, rather than leaning the saddle against the tree, would the distance between the tyre track and the tree be similar to half a handlebar? Then when the rider returned, they could just have lifted the front of the bike to set the direction of intended travel, and the rrar tyre followed across the image in the foreground. Have I got this wrong, please? Are you just testing?