I am ashamed.
Just now as I was driving home, I almost hit a cyclist. I thought it would be good to talk about it and put my thoughts down, even though Iím pretty sure I am going to be criticized. These were the circumstances.
I was driving down a street in my car. This street us very straight although consists of an entire dip. So, itís about 100m going down and then 100m going up towards an intersection on a bit of a crest. It was in the afternoon just as the sun is setting and everyone has their sunshields down.
Now, coming towards the crest and I was turning left at the intersection (in Australia, so driving on the left side of the road) on the crest. Here there is a dedicated left hand turning lane, which I was going to use. Now, because of the nature of the hill, intersection and time of day, the sun suddenly came into my eyes just as I was changing lanes and just as I spied a cyclist, who was also in the turning lane. I did a little bit of a swerve to make sure I didnít hit him. Although, chances are, I admit, if I was fully in the lane, I may have hit him. After that I made the left turn and kept an eye out in my rear vision to see if he came around the corner. I didnít see him so he may have stopped, or not turned, or I was just going to fast to see him before I lost sight of the intersection. I also admit now that it would have been good if I had stopped, just to make sure he was ok and not too shocked.
But, because of the nature of the road, for the full straight length of it you get very good visibility for at least 200m before you reach the crest and the intersection, I would debate that I definitely would have seen him if he was already on the road and didnít enter the road from somewhere else. Then again, I admit, that I could have been paying more attention,.
But it also lead me on to think that driving and cycling at this time of day, where motorists are blinded and things are so bright so that reflectors, lights and bright clothing donít do anything, is there anything you can do to make things safer? (Insert comment about not cycling around me when I am driving). I have now changed my mind so that driving and cycling at this time of day is more dangerous than driving at night.
At least you were paying attention and [I]didn't[I] hit him, or worse yet, hit him and drive off!
On my way to work last week (10:30pm), I stopped at a stop sign, looked both ways, saw nobody comming and just as I took my foot off the brake to go, a girl (14ish) on a bike came from the right - no lights, no reflectors, and dressed all in black ! She just crossed in front of me like it was noon.
1973 Raleigh Superbe, 2006 Trek 4300 with no original parts, 1984 Ciocc, Custom Keith Anderson
the sun makes things dangerous. Coming into work, the sun shines right on your windshield turning every speck of dust opaque. I seriously slowed down and nearly stuck my head out the window to see. Needless to say, I'm giving my windshield a good cleaning today. I'll also be riding in the rest of the week.
Originally Posted by TechKnowGN
San Jose has to be the most boring place I've ever been. And I live in Ohio.
A very bright daytime visible tailight on a bike can punch through the dark spot created by the sun in your eyes most of the time. Ever notice that when that happens all you can see sometimes are brake lights but, not the whole car? Nothing is 100% effective, but every little bit helps.
...is there anything you can do to make things safer?
Yes. When driving don't drive any faster than conditions allow! If you can't stop or maneuver within the short area that you can effectively see, then how can that be safe? It amazes me everyday when I see people over driving their sight lines. This not only includes sun glare but also dark roads, blind corners, hill tops, heavy rain/snow, fog etc. The good news is that you know you could have done better, and probably will in the future. Many drivers would just put all the blame on the cyclist (who probably could have done better himself) and leave it at that.
A bright light on a silhouetted object is an effective camouflage. You have to pay very close attention as to what is coming up behind you when you are riding directly into the sun. There have been several threads on this subject recently - must be a seasonal problem.