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Old 09-18-06, 04:16 PM   #1
Blue Order
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My mother almost hit a cyclist

I was talking on the phone with her today, and somehow the subject of bicycles came up-- -- and she mentioned that she almost hit a bicyclist. She went to get some take-out at a restaurant. It was near dusk, with low light conditions, and she was in the driveway, watching approaching traffic, waiting for traffic to pass so she could pull out into the street. After traffic had passed, she looked both ways, then took her foot off the brake, but hadn't yet applied gas, when a wrong-way cyclist riding on the sidewalk crossed in front of her. She didn't see him until he was directly in front of her.

I asked if he had lights on his bike; she wasn't sure. I asked if he was wearing a helmet; she said yes. The main problem here was that he was riding wrong way-- she was watching oncoming traffic, although she did briefly look the other way before proceeding. He compounded that error by riding on the sidewalk. She said "If he had been in the street, I would have seen him, even if he was riding the wrong way."
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Old 09-18-06, 04:21 PM   #2
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The side walk in front of your moms house is one way? Never heard of that. I thought sidewalks were able to be travelled on in both directions.
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Old 09-18-06, 04:25 PM   #3
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The side walk in front of your moms house is one way? Never heard of that. I thought sidewalks were able to be travelled on in both directions.

N_C got jokes.

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Old 09-18-06, 04:29 PM   #4
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The side walk in front of your moms house is one way? Never heard of that. I thought sidewalks were able to be travelled on in both directions.
It was in front of a restaurant. But no, sidewalks aren't one-way. The problem is this cyclist was riding against traffic, and on the sidewalk. That may not be illegal, but it's the kind of behavior that will clean out his end of the gene pool if he keeps it up. She said that if he had been in the street, but riding the wrong way, she would have seen him. She didn't see him riding on the sidewalk. Remember, low light conditions, riding in an unexpected place, against traffic. If he had been a pedestrian, she would have seen him because pedestrians move slower. But a cyclist is moving at a faster rate, and when compounded with riding against traffic and on the sidewalk, at dusk, he wasn't seen until he passed in front of her car.
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Old 09-18-06, 04:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
It was in front of a restaurant. But no, sidewalks aren't one-way. The problem is this cyclist was riding against traffic, and on the sidewalk. That may not be illegal, but it's the kind of behavior that will clean out his end of the gene pool if he keeps it up. She said that if he had been in the street, but riding the wrong way, she would have seen him. She didn't see him riding on the sidewalk. Remember, low light conditions, riding in an unexpected place, against traffic. If he had been a pedestrian, she would have seen him because pedestrians move slower. But a cyclist is moving at a faster rate, and when compounded with riding against traffic and on the sidewalk, at dusk, he wasn't seen until he passed in front of her car.
I do not think it is about the pedestrians being slower, rather that they don't step out in front of vehicles in the scenario you describe.
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Old 09-18-06, 06:56 PM   #6
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I wouldn't say your mother almost hit a cyclist, I'd say a dumbass on a bike nearly ran into your mother.

"Get off the damn sidewalk, and travel with traffic!"
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Old 09-18-06, 08:21 PM   #7
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The speed difference between a ped and cyclist does matter, because motorists only scan the sidewalk for a distance 6 ft away from the path of the car before they cross the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk also places cyclists closer to visual obstructions, which delays the point where they can be noticed.
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Old 09-18-06, 08:24 PM   #8
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This is precisely the reason I hate jogging or walking contraflow -- motorists simply do not look in that direction.
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Old 09-18-06, 08:32 PM   #9
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This is precisely the reason I hate jogging or walking contraflow -- motorists simply do not look in that direction.

Even if you're driving in a car, you need to be careful.
One of the three car accidents I've had in my life was when I was passing (in a legal passing lane) and a car from a sidestreet pulled out in the middle of my pass.

I control braked and moved to the right so as the incompetent only clipped my left side - the cops were called, and she was cited.
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Old 09-18-06, 08:48 PM   #10
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Blue Order, was she any place I might recognize in the area? Trying to visualize here.
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Old 09-18-06, 08:57 PM   #11
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Blue Order, was she any place I might recognize in the area? Trying to visualize here.
No, it's in California.
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Old 09-19-06, 07:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by AndrewP
The speed difference between a ped and cyclist does matter, because motorists only scan the sidewalk for a distance 6 ft away from the path of the car before they cross the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk also places cyclists closer to visual obstructions, which delays the point where they can be noticed.
While riding on a sidewalk is not the best idea... the idea that you can only see 6 feet is rather unusual. I find I can usually see to about 1/2 up a block when I am driving. Now perhaps I would not see a cyclists approaching at 20MPH... but rarely do cyclists on sidewalks do 20MPH. Most of the contra-flow sidewalk cyclists I see around here are kids moving at about 8-12MPH or less. The adult contra flow sidewalk cyclists are moving at about the same speeds and are larger, thus easier to see.

Perhaps motorists need to learn to look both ways at sidewalks. And look twice... instead of that blink-glance that usually passes for "Gee, I looked." (and is too often followed by "I just didn't see... " )
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Old 09-19-06, 09:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
...she was in the driveway, watching approaching traffic, waiting for traffic to pass so she could pull out into the street. After traffic had passed, she looked both ways, then took her foot off the brake, but hadn't yet applied gas, when a wrong-way cyclist riding on the sidewalk crossed in front of her. She didn't see him until he was directly in front of her.
This has happened to me a number of times as a pedestrian. I learned a long time ago not to cross in front of a motorist who is looking the other way (I've often clapped my hands loudly to get their attention first, or waited, or even crossed behind their vehicle.)
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Old 09-19-06, 11:45 AM   #14
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This has happened to me a number of times as a pedestrian. I learned a long time ago not to cross in front of a motorist who is looking the other way (I've often clapped my hands loudly to get their attention first, or waited, or even crossed behind their vehicle.)
Yeah, motorists develop bad habits and then don't understand why "I just didn't see them... "
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Old 09-19-06, 11:52 AM   #15
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Yeah, motorists develop bad habits and then don't understand why "I just didn't see them... "
Aparantly cyclsts also develop bad habits and then wonder why motorist with bad habits didnt see them.
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