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Old 09-09-05, 04:32 AM   #1
bullethead
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Defensive tactic question

One trick Iíve noticed people doing when Iím on a bike is passing me on the left , then cutting me off to take a right turn, basically so they didnít have to wait behind me until I pass the turn (Iím going straight) If I hit them am I at fault? Is there any way to avoid this behavior? Iím thinking of making my way towards the middle of the road, but donít necessarily want to piss people off for no reason either. I really appreciate it when people have the patience to wait for me even if I have the right of way; I always wave and say ďThank YouĒ. Any advice appreciatedÖ Scott
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Old 09-09-05, 04:55 AM   #2
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Classic right hook. Happens all the time and there's not a lot you can do besides being away that if someone comes up behind you quick then swoops around, they might very well come up in front to turn right. They don't perceive us as going fast enough for them to not have time to do this. One possible way to avoid it some of the time might be to ride lower gears and keep the cadence up more. I can't give any scientific proof or anything, but since I have been working on increasing my cadence, I've noticed that I have fewer people right hook me and have noticed some waiting behind me when I thought they were going to hook me.
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Old 09-09-05, 05:56 AM   #3
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In areas where this is more prone to happen to me (I pass an interstate on-ramp on my commute) I tend to take a bit of extra room in the lane. It generally keeps people from hooking me, but it does tend to piss them off. However, I'd much rather someone cuss at me than hit me!
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Old 09-09-05, 06:13 AM   #4
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A good defensive riding tactic I use when cycling in San Francisco is to always assume that the guy behind you, in front of you, to the side of you is an absilute moron and will do something stupid like right-hook you or lane-change into you at any moment. After having been in 3 crashes in the city because of careless motorists, I never assume that anyone I share the road with is looking out for me. Instead, I assume the opposite, and constantly scan the road in all directions for a.) current threats b.) potential threats and c.) an alternate path to escape. You remember how your driving instructor taught you to scan all of your mirrors at 3 second intervals (or close to that)? Well it's the same for biking: watch the traffic in front of you, watch the road below you (for debris, potholes, etc.), look behind you (especially) when changing lanes, and to the sides when approaching an intersection. Another thing I learned from riding a motorcyle is to watch the rear brake light of the car ahead of you, and the front wheels of the car to the side of you. If you practice, you can watch a car "telegraph" his move and be ready to take appropriate action. When at an inersection, downshift early and pick up your cadence a bit so you can rocket away from a threat, or even stand so you can sprint away when needed. Keep your hands close to your brakes when entering an intersection (I actually "feather" both brakes). Learn to "flick" your bike, instead of "steer" your bike: press down hard on the end of the handlebar that corresponds with the direction you want to go. This is helpful when riding alongside a car that suddenly drifts into you (idiots on cell phones do this all the time), provided you have enough space to your right, which is why you always want to give yourself a few feet distance between you and the curb. Flick your bike to avoid potholes, debris, roadkill (the worst) and those notorious sewer grills. When riding alongside parked cars, try to look ahead into the driver-side windows and side mirrors to see if anyone is in them, and expect the cars that do to pull into you. And lastly, use your ears. I know, I'm guilty of using my mp3 player while I ride, but not at levels where I can't hear traffic, specifically, the sound of a car's engine as he speeds up to pass and right-hook me.

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Old 09-09-05, 06:40 AM   #5
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http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter3a.htm

Look for the going straight through section. Basically, what you want to do is move to the left side of the lane to simultaneously: a) communicate your intention to go straight, b) prevent drivers from swinging wide around you. Some may still do this, but they at least have to go into the next lane and make a turn from there and we all know that's wrong, and c) allow right turners to pass you on the right for their turn.
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Old 09-09-05, 06:43 AM   #6
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Thanks folks for all the suggestions bullet
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Old 09-09-05, 06:46 AM   #7
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Watch intersections carefully. Current issue of bicycling says 80% of accidents are in intersections. Drivers are used to kids on toy bikes and don't expect fast cyclocommuters. Prepare for the idiots, bell them and if they look a friendly wave will usually embass them so next time they will give you more time.
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Old 09-09-05, 06:49 AM   #8
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Thanks for the link... very informative. Scott
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Old 09-09-05, 12:08 PM   #9
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I have found that gesturing towards a driver coming from behind helps with situations where the driver may not know when it is safe to pass or not. In sections of road where right hooks are prevailant, or when there is a sharp bend in the road, I will gesture to cars to not pass (with palm turned toward them and waving them to slow down). Once the danger has passed, I wave them past me.

I also keep a close eye and ear to cars as I pass an intersection. It is possible to hear the signature of a car slowing to turn. If I hear this signature and see the car slowing and drawing level with me as I approach the intersection, I will accelerate and move my bike more toward the left to encourage the driver to slip in behind me and not cut me off.

I also ride toward the left side of the bike lane (if there is one) or toward the right tire track of the road if there is not (I encounter no WOL's in the area I ride). In a bike lane, I will position my wheels either on the white line, or only an inch or two to the right or left of it (I can ride a pretty straight line). This keeps me in the sight line of a driver passing me, but does not impede the driver's progress. I believe that most right hooks are due misjudgment of the cyclist's speed by the driver. Hanging all or part of the your bike and body into the driver's line of sight requires the driver to react, even if it is only to move six inches to the left to pass, and requires the driver to track your position closely and not misjudge your speed.
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Old 09-09-05, 12:33 PM   #10
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Yesterday I encountered the annoying scenario where a car passed me, then immediately slowed to make a right- while waiting for me to pass on her right. I had that hesitation, since I've been hooked before- and expected her to go for it. Since I slowed, she would have saved more time by not passing me in the first place. I was riding the speed of traffic...
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Old 09-09-05, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtersweep
Yesterday I encountered the annoying scenario where a car passed me, then immediately slowed to make a right- while waiting for me to pass on her right. I had that hesitation, since I've been hooked before- and expected her to go for it. Since I slowed, she would have saved more time by not passing me in the first place. I was riding the speed of traffic...
Cars do this a lot around me. I almost never pass them on the right because, just like you said, I don't know why they stopped - it may not have been to let me pass! I head over to the center of the lane behind the stopped car and wait until they make their turn before proceeding.
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Old 09-09-05, 12:59 PM   #12
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Old 09-09-05, 03:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter3a.htm

...... and c) allow right turners to pass you on the right for their turn.

I dissagree with that bit. I don't want anyone trying to squeeze me on the right side either. I take the full lane when approaching an intersection, or a right turn. I move back to the right-side of the lane when it's safe to do so.
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