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Old 08-04-05, 03:00 PM   #1
trayer350
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Parked Cars: Bikers' New Threat

You are cycling down a road. You are approaching several parked cars. In one of the cars is a driver talking on a cell phone who is about to hang-up the phone and pull out quickly. The car's engine is running, but quietly, and the wind in your ears hides the sound of the quiet motor. The high-backed driver's seat hides the driver pretty well. One or more of the windows of the car with the driver on the cell phone is darkened because the driver thinks it looks cool or wants protection from the summer sun. Consequently, the cyclist can't see inside the car too well. The sun this day is bright and somewhat making it difficult for you, the cyclist, to see. How can you be certain of spotting the danger of the driver about to pull out rapidly as you approach on your bike?
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Old 08-04-05, 03:04 PM   #2
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Ride >6ft from parked cars and be prepared (constant awareness of what is to your left and behind) to swerve left as needed. Also ride at a speed appropriate situations like this so you can slow/stop/swerve as needed.

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Old 08-04-05, 04:04 PM   #3
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This isn't a new threat.

It's always a good idea to give parked cars a wide berth.
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Old 08-04-05, 05:21 PM   #4
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This is the bane of the urban/suburban cyclist. Riding in the "door zone" is particularly lethal.
Noisebeam's advice is spot on.

Look for subtle clues like smoke (or steam on cold mornings) from the car's exhaust and look closely at the front wheel of any car you're about to pass. Most drivers makes a slight steering movement away from the curb before moving. Noticing that has saved my tail more than once.
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Old 08-04-05, 05:35 PM   #5
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and watch closer where more cars congergate. i go by a couple schools and day care centers and am more aware when speeding by their front walks
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Old 08-04-05, 06:50 PM   #6
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They'll move their front wheels a bit, you'll see the tail/running lights on, etc.
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Old 08-04-05, 06:59 PM   #7
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The 2nd bullet in the list of defining behavior of a vehicular cyclist at Wikipedia is:
  • Riding outside of the door zone; no closer than five feet to parked cars.

Vehicular cyclists do this not only to avoid being hit by doors that are suddenly opened, but also to avoid the problem cited in the opening post of this thread, just like noisebeam described a few posts back.
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Old 08-04-05, 08:33 PM   #8
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Outside the door zone helps, but since they intend to pull out quickly into the street you still stand a strong chance of being creamed without having much time to react. You just have to be vigilant and ready for anything. Riding next to parked cars no matter how far away is pretty nerve-wracking in my opinion.
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Old 08-04-05, 08:53 PM   #9
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Also check to see if there backup lights come on and off real quick this also shows they are going to drive forward since they half to go pass R in a automatic...
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Old 08-04-05, 11:00 PM   #10
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RE, Parked. I stay out of the zone.
For occupied or unknown cars - I use a 10 watt led headlight and bright clothing, I slow down (6-8 mph and point the light in the drivers side mirror while checking my own mirror. If you need to escape tap on the car or use your right hand to push off. If the driver pulls out fast go hard left after checking the mirror again.
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Old 08-05-05, 04:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Primevci
Also check to see if there backup lights come on and off real quick this also shows they are going to drive forward since they half to go pass R in a automatic...
This is a good tip. Also, watch for the brake lights that will be on when the driver has his foot on the brake while shifting.
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Old 08-05-05, 05:24 AM   #12
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Ha! That's nothing. Try to deal with that plus double-parked cars and trucks.

Seriously... like everyone says, avoid riding too close to parked cars and watch for those subtle signs -- the front wheels are my "favorite" (if such a thing exists in these situations).
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