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Old 07-08-05, 06:06 PM   #1
my58vw
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What would you have done? Wrong way rider!

Alright here is what happened. On my way home from a hard hammer ride (about 20 miles total), I was making the final push home. The main route is along Van Buren Avenue, a "divided highway, 60 MPH speedlimit" in reality people drive 40 - 80+ MPH on the road. It has a fairly wide shoulder, but there are a few places it can be hairy, like on the bridge over Santa Ana River which has no shoulder. On that peice I sprint up to about 26 - 28 MPH and hold it over the bridge, taking the lane.

Well today after the bridge I was within 2 miles from home and really pushing hard against the headwind, maybe 25 MPH or so. All the sudden I look up and this guy on a 2 wheeled trike is coming the wrong way. Here is the kicker, their is only enough room for one of us, on one side is 60+ MPH traffic, on the other side some small trees and a fence. I ended up holding my line and the guy wound up in the grass against the fence. We barily missed colliding, maybe by 10 feet or so.

What do you do when you are in a situation like this? I yelled wrong side as I passed but it really scared me...
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Old 07-08-05, 06:23 PM   #2
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Just curious, were you able to slow down? Other than maybe that, I don't know what else you could have done. He was in the wrong. Maybe next time he'll ride on the right side of the road.
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Old 07-08-05, 06:33 PM   #3
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After the bridge the road has a slight curve followed by trees. By the time my attention changed from the bridge I was already about maybe 50 feet from the rider or so. In the drops at the speed I was not really expecting someone to be right there. I maybe slowed down to about 20 MPH before I came right up to the guy, not enough time to go from 25 - 26 to 0 by far... (unless I wanted to end up over the bars).
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Old 07-08-05, 06:44 PM   #4
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He shouldn't have been there but...

On a trike he could have been cruising at 5 mph. If he was headed the other direction, the right way, or stopped, your speed differential still could have been a big problem for you. If you regularly ride at speeds beyond what you can see and avoid it's only a matter of time.
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Old 07-08-05, 07:06 PM   #5
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In this particular situation you are approached by two different situations, the need to ride fast of the bridge and the need to be safe around the small bend. If you ride slow over the bridge I have found that drivers do not give you room. I had a friend who was clipped by a car's front bumper on this bridge because someone was in a hurry. Overall it is a dangerous situation if you do not watch what you are doing, I personally am more worried about the bridge vs the small bend.

What I end up doing is sprinting over the bridge at 26 - 30 MPH and the trying to slow down right after. We are not talking a little tiny road here, it is a BIG 4 lane divided road that is basically a straight shot for 6 - 7 miles or so. The best analogy I can give is the wide mountain road.

Driving along you approach a small bend where visability is limited. You slow down and round the corner and find that 30 - 40 feet in front of you a car is stalled out, blocking the road. You slam on the brakes and skid into the car. This is the same type of situation, the accident can almost not be avoided.

I think the point here is we are not talking a MUP, this is the open road, and I like a car should not expect to have someone coming up the wrong side of the road right around the corner...
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Old 07-08-05, 07:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by my58vw
and I like a car should not expect to have someone coming up the wrong side of the road right around the corner...
I'd disagree and say that "just like in a car, you should expect someone coming up the wrong side of the road especially around a blind corner". Really, you should never go faster into a limited sight distance than you can safely stop. This approach to driving/riding has saved my butt and the butts of the ones I would have hit several times over the years.

As far as having to sprint over the bridge. If the cars are doing 80 they're not going to care whether you're doing 20 or 30. Either way you're a slow moving vehicle. Maybe get one of those flags that sticks out on the left.
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Old 07-08-05, 07:28 PM   #7
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What do you do when you are in a situation like this? I yelled wrong side as I passed but it really scared me...
It's totally his fault. I don't think you were doing anything wrong in going fast there. If you see the guy again, stop and give him a polite earful about why it's dangerous both for you and for him. And if that doesn't work, I'd ask the police to be on the lookout for wrong way riders in that area, pointing out the fact that it creates a very dangerous situation for everyone on the road...
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Old 07-08-05, 07:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by phinney
I'd disagree and say that "just like in a car, you should expect someone coming up the wrong side of the road especially around a blind corner". Really, you should never go faster into a limited sight distance than you can safely stop. This approach to driving/riding has saved my butt and the butts of the ones I would have hit several times over the years.

As far as having to sprint over the bridge. If the cars are doing 80 they're not going to care whether you're doing 20 or 30. Either way you're a slow moving vehicle. Maybe get one of those flags that sticks out on the left.
It all depends on the situation, the range of speeds are large, and it seems that if you are going fasters drivers around here give you more respect than if you are going 5 - 10 MPH. You are right, 80 to 30 MPH is not going to make much of a difference, but at 30 MPH you are going to cross the bridge much faster than if you are going 15 MPH, and usually when you are going that fast drivers will just wait or go around... you are (dare I say) a bicycle...

Most drivers are just stunned that you are going 30 + MPH anyway!
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Old 07-08-05, 08:09 PM   #9
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You weren't doing anything wrong. What were you supposed to do? He's a moron.

I encountered a wrong way cyclist the other day, but it was on a very lightly-trafficked road of about 20MPH speed limit. I saw him (young college age guy) from a way away and I had plenty of room. As he approached me I said 'You're on the wrong side.' He said 'What??' I said, 'You should be riding on the other side of the road.' He proclaimed in an officious manner - 'I'M riding AGAINST traffic!' I told him he was traffic, and he was going to get himself killed. Maybe someone he knows will clue him in later - I'm sure I was just the crazy, dangerous woman who takes her life in her hands, to him.

It was an almost surreal experience!
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Old 07-09-05, 05:26 PM   #10
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You weren't doing anything wrong. What were you supposed to do? He's a moron.

I encountered a wrong way cyclist the other day, but it was on a very lightly-trafficked road of about 20MPH speed limit. I saw him (young college age guy) from a way away and I had plenty of room. As he approached me I said 'You're on the wrong side.' He said 'What??' I said, 'You should be riding on the other side of the road.' He proclaimed in an officious manner - 'I'M riding AGAINST traffic!' I told him he was traffic, and he was going to get himself killed. Maybe someone he knows will clue him in later - I'm sure I was just the crazy, dangerous woman who takes her life in her hands, to him.

It was an almost surreal experience!
Every once in a while I end up finding a "wrong way cyclist" I end up telling them but they just continue to do it. They think I am the "crazy" one. I wish there was a public ad campaign or something each state's Dept. of Transit can promote. But it will probably take a few more run-ins or someone to hit them to finally make a "dent" in their already thick head! Maybe the serious cyclists will help to show people who are stuck in cars the right way... and then once they decided to ride a bike they will know... we shall see.

Keep Cycling the righ way! With Traffic!
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Old 07-09-05, 06:05 PM   #11
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The obvious reason for riding fast there is to get off the bridge as fast as possible (don't know the area -- going by your desc.). I think you're doing the right thing.
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Old 07-10-05, 09:43 AM   #12
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I am on vacation with my wife's cousin in N.C. We were heading up a hill in a friend's vehicle when all of a sudden a cyclist was heading "wrong way" down the hill and of course they had no lights. Forunately the driver saw him and swerved to miss him. I just shook my head that the crazy cyclist. They make good cyclists like me look bad. I heard that the vehicle we were in (lexus) has Xenon lights... they are so bright that the driver said that one time another car actually got off the road. Pretty bright lights! I believe that if there was an accident the cyclist would have been at fault and technically the driver wouldn't have to pay his bills. That is one of the reason's I have told others to not ride "against traffic"...I don't know if it is true but since the only "legal" way to drive is with traffic it makes sense to me. Of course most people that do the "wrong way" cycling without lights at night are generally poor people on *mart bikes. Perhaps giving out cycling information at thrift stores, homeless shelters.. could be a possibility...

Keep Cycling,
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Old 07-10-05, 01:11 PM   #13
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In the Bicycle safety brochures that can be downloaded from the Florida DOT site, it says that the shoulder of the roadway is NOT a lane of traffic however they go further to say you SHOULD travel with the adjacent roadway traffic. The problem with "shoulder rules" is that they are vague. If you are on a bike and in a lane of traffic (not on the shoulder) you are a vehicle. If you are on a bike and are on a MUP/sidewalk, you are a pedestrian. If you are on your bike and are on a shoulder, you are on your own.

The "2 wheel trike" (BTW, what's a 2 wheeled trike?) operator was not going WITH the adjacent traffic so therefore was in the wrong. Unfortunately, when people transition from walking on the side of the road (pedestrian rules) to cycling on the side of the road (cycling), due to not knowing any better, they usually continue to follow the pedestrian rules.

The trike was in the wrong however you have to accept the fact the "shoulder zone" is a place that has elevated safety issues and should be used with this in mind. I try to anticipate people doing the wrong thing on the roadway. I really watch out on the shoulder.

Just be careful on the shoulder. It's not as safe as you think it is.

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Old 07-10-05, 04:54 PM   #14
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Any vehicle (car or bike) is required to be able to stop "within the assured clear distance." That means you should not ride so fast that you cannot stop before hitting something in your lane. If there had been a tree branch, truck tire skin, or any other stationary object in your lane, would you have been able to stop before hitting it? If not, you were moving too fast for the situation. Of course, the other cyclist also made a mistake by riding the wrong way. I am not a traffic court judge, so I don't know who would have gotten the ticket here if there had been a collision. But is that really the point? You ride there every day. You will live longer if you figure out a safer way to handle the road, and you always need to expect the unexpected.
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Old 07-10-05, 05:22 PM   #15
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Any vehicle (car or bike) is required to be able to stop "within the assured clear distance." That means you should not ride so fast that you cannot stop before hitting something in your lane.
I just can't believe that rule applies to things moving in the wrong direction!!!

If you're going 30 mph, you can reasonably expect that your relative velocity relative to any obstacle will be 30 mph or less; the worst case you expect is a stationary tree, for example.

Having someone going the wrong way throws such judgments out of whack. For example, let's say you are only going 5 mph, that should be "slow enough" to stop on practically any road. But if there's a wrong-way cyclist coming along at 20 mph in the other direction, is it your fault that your relative velocity is now 25 mph!!!?!?
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Old 07-10-05, 06:38 PM   #16
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Like I said, I don't know about that. I have heard of people hitting kids who ran in front of their cars, then not getting a ticket because they could not have avoided the accident. I'm just saying, if you ride this route frequently, and you know your attention is diverted by the bridge, followed by a slight curve you can't see clearly around, maybe you should not be in the drops. Maybe you should slow down a tad and have your hands close or on the brake, especially if you do not know for sure that you can swerve in the lane.
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Old 07-10-05, 07:13 PM   #17
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I encountered two wrong-way cyclists a few weeks ago. They were both young 20-something females, nice-looking. The first had moved over to the sidewalk by the time I passed her, so I didn't say anything. About 100 feet later I encountered the second one; I'm thinking they were probably together. She stayed on the road, but fortunately there wasn't any car traffic next to us at the moment, so I could move into the car lane to avoid her. I did say, loudly but nicely, as we approached each other, "You're on the wrong side of the road." She just smiled at me. It was a nice smile. I thought as I rode away, "Yeah, you're cute, but you're still on the wrong side of the road." Hope she thought about it later.
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Old 07-11-05, 09:21 AM   #18
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what the heck is a two wheeled trike?
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Old 07-11-05, 11:02 AM   #19
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Of course most people that do the "wrong way" cycling without lights at night are generally poor people on *mart bikes.
Really?
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Old 07-11-05, 11:13 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by my58vw
Alright here is what happened. On my way home from a hard hammer ride (about 20 miles total), I was making the final push home. The main route is along Van Buren Avenue, a "divided highway, 60 MPH speedlimit" in reality people drive 40 - 80+ MPH on the road. It has a fairly wide shoulder, but there are a few places it can be hairy, like on the bridge over Santa Ana River which has no shoulder. On that peice I sprint up to about 26 - 28 MPH and hold it over the bridge, taking the lane.

Well today after the bridge I was within 2 miles from home and really pushing hard against the headwind, maybe 25 MPH or so. All the sudden I look up and this guy on a 2 wheeled trike is coming the wrong way. Here is the kicker, their is only enough room for one of us, on one side is 60+ MPH traffic, on the other side some small trees and a fence. I ended up holding my line and the guy wound up in the grass against the fence. We barily missed colliding, maybe by 10 feet or so.

What do you do when you are in a situation like this? I yelled wrong side as I passed but it really scared me...
I would have done the same as you. I hate wrong way bikers.
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