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  1. #1
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    A Tale of Two Stop Signs

    So this is actually a sister thread to "What did I do wrong?" and it is a similar situation where I behaved in a manner that was the opposite tactic I took with an aggressive driver approaching from behind in almost identical circumstances and the result.

    It is 7:45 am, 8F and I am leaving my home to head for the MUP. To get there I take a series of small one lane back streets. The first street I am on is a one way, one lane road with a few parked cars. It is broken up by an occasional stop signed intersection. Most of the cross streets are of a similar category. I have gone through one interection with a stop sign and am heading for the next one, which is 250' ahead. This intersects with a slightly busier two way street that leads to a busy highway and artery interchange known as "Newton Corner". I am running a bit late so I push hard up the slight incline towards the intersection and as I do I hear the rev of a high powered engine slow down for the stop sign behind me and rev up again as it heads for the same intersection. I am, naturally, taking the full lane of the one way street and am riding predictably and "vehicularly". I am about 60' from the next intersection as I am hearing this car accelerate. Just as in the "What did I do wrong thread?" I can estimate that given my current speed and the speed of the approaching car we will approach the intersection at almost exactly the same time.

    The question then is to move right or not to move right. I will be going straight across and my guess is this car will want to go right since the driver is doing what many locals do, which is avoid doing the Newton Corner "loop" and cut quickly through the side streets to get to the Mass Pike entrance.

    I chose in this case to slow down and move right as he, like the driver of the pick up comes right up behind me and goes for the right. I have moved, however, well out of his way and sure enough we stop at the stop sign, even though I slowed down, at exactly the same time.

    I now wait for him to take his precious right turn so I can go straight across and he doesn't move. And so I wait... Finally, I look in the car and he is waving me forward and mouthing the words "Sorry". I give him a big mittened thumbs up and proceed and fix the memory of the incident in my mind so I could chronicle it here for your perusal and to contrast with my previous post.

    So, what did I do right? or What did I do wrong?

  2. #2
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    No slow signal again this time around?

  3. #3
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    No slow signal again this time around?

    I will try your suggestion at my next opportunity and report back to you. Thank you for your input.

  4. #4
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I've read this, and the "What did I do wrong?" thread, and I'm wondering: At what point is everyone going to realize that no matter where you place yourself in a lane, no matter what acronym you use to decribe your particular style of cycling, there are drivers out there that will do whatever they want? You can't predict how someone drives based on their vehicle, the time of day, the general location, etc. You can't change a driver's overall behaviour based on riding in the left/center/right/shoulder of the lane, or weaving, or even by following all the rules of the road and signalling your next move.

    I've been cut off by everyone from little old ladies in big sedans, to teenagers in tricked out rally cars and every possibility in between. I've been cut off in the middle of the lane, right hooked, cross hooked (I made a left with an arrow, got hit by a guy making a right on red,) and intentionally sideswiped. My personal favourite was the guy who was so impatient that he made a right on red from the left turn lane, in front of me and the car in the lane to my left.

    Face the facts and count on there being problematic drivers out there; the kind that like nothing better than giving cyclists (and people in smaller/slower/etc.) cars a hassle. Don't question what you did wrong... You didn't do anything wrong. Some people are just a-holes. Deal with it.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  5. #5
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
    I've read this, and the "What did I do wrong?" thread, and I'm wondering: At what point is everyone going to realize that no matter where you place yourself in a lane, no matter what acronym you use to decribe your particular style of cycling, there are drivers out there that will do whatever they want? You can't predict how someone drives based on their vehicle, the time of day, the general location, etc. You can't change a driver's overall behaviour based on riding in the left/center/right/shoulder of the lane, or weaving, or even by following all the rules of the road and signalling your next move.

    I've been cut off by everyone from little old ladies in big sedans, to teenagers in tricked out rally cars and every possibility in between. I've been cut off in the middle of the lane, right hooked, cross hooked (I made a left with an arrow, got hit by a guy making a right on red,) and intentionally sideswiped. My personal favourite was the guy who was so impatient that he made a right on red from the left turn lane, in front of me and the car in the lane to my left.

    Face the facts and count on there being problematic drivers out there; the kind that like nothing better than giving cyclists (and people in smaller/slower/etc.) cars a hassle. Don't question what you did wrong... You didn't do anything wrong. Some people are just a-holes. Deal with it.
    You've clearly articulated the point that I was hoping to make in posting these threads. My question "What did I do wrong?" in some ways was meant ironically and somewhat rhetorically not to preclude that there are things in any situation one could always do better. For one thing trusting my instincts and staying in the moment on the bike certainly trumps messing around with "lane positioning" or vehicular technique.

    Yes, some people are just a-holes and the best way to deal with it is constant awareness and an ability to respond to unexpected circumstances in what may be unexpected ways.

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
    I've read this, and the "What did I do wrong?" thread, and I'm wondering: At what point is everyone going to realize that no matter where you place yourself in a lane, no matter what acronym you use to decribe your particular style of cycling, there are drivers out there that will do whatever they want? You can't predict how someone drives based on their vehicle, the time of day, the general location, etc. You can't change a driver's overall behaviour based on riding in the left/center/right/shoulder of the lane, or weaving, or even by following all the rules of the road and signalling your next move.

    I've been cut off by everyone from little old ladies in big sedans, to teenagers in tricked out rally cars and every possibility in between. I've been cut off in the middle of the lane, right hooked, cross hooked (I made a left with an arrow, got hit by a guy making a right on red,) and intentionally sideswiped. My personal favourite was the guy who was so impatient that he made a right on red from the left turn lane, in front of me and the car in the lane to my left.

    Face the facts and count on there being problematic drivers out there; the kind that like nothing better than giving cyclists (and people in smaller/slower/etc.) cars a hassle. Don't question what you did wrong... You didn't do anything wrong. Some people are just a-holes. Deal with it.

    But but... according to some here, on BF, you can "control" even those motorists...

    Some here on BF insist they never have problems, and that they have "seen the light" by reading a book and riding in some special fashion. How can they be wrong?

  7. #7
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    You ask what you did wrong, but its not clear what went wrong. Seemed to wanted the vehicle to move to your left as you positioned yourself right appraching the intersection. Did that not happen?

    Al

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    What's conspicuously missing from both incidents is an effort to communicate effectively and cooperatively with the driver approaching from the rear. Using the slow/stop signal, as joejack has suggested, would be an example of doing that, but that's not all you can do. The point is to figure out what they're doing, and to let them know what you're doing, and make sure you have successfully communicated that.

    But no one denies that there are aholes out there about which nothing can be done. However, it is not clear that that's what happened here.

  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    What's conspicuously missing from both incidents is an effort to communicate effectively and cooperatively with the driver approaching from the rear.

    Oh you mean like I do when I am the driver of my motorized vehicle?

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    What's conspicuously missing from both incidents is an effort to communicate effectively and cooperatively with the driver approaching from the rear.
    Oh you mean like I do when I am the driver of my motorized vehicle?
    Usually not, because when you're driving a motorized vehicle you're typically not driving a slow moving vehicle.

    But, if it happens to be a motorized slow moving vehicle, then yes.

    It's always important to monitor to the rear when operating as a driver on roads, regardless of what you are operating, but it's especially important when you're moving relatively slowly, and then it's important to make sure your intent is effectively and coooperatively communicated to those behind who are likely to be considering passing you. This is why drivers of vehicles being passed are required to cooperate, forbidden from speeding up while being passed, etc.

    It's the same rules, it's just that the "slow moving" rules tend to apply to cyclists much more often than to drivers of motorized vehicles, especially considering how the narrow nature of bikes makes it much easier to allow faster traffic to pass us.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Usually not, because when you're driving a motorized vehicle you're typically not driving a slow moving vehicle.

    But, if it happens to be a motorized slow moving vehicle, then yes.
    I always drive at or below the speed limit... and around here that is taken as a slow moving vehicle.


    It's always important to monitor to the rear when operating as a driver on roads, regardless of what you are operating, but it's especially important when you're moving relatively slowly, and then it's important to make sure your intent is effectively and coooperatively communicated to those behind who are likely to be considering passing you. This is why drivers of vehicles being passed are required to cooperate, forbidden from speeding up while being passed, etc.
    It is equally important for drivers of any vehicle to understand their responsibilities when overtaking any other vehicle.


    It's the same rules, it's just that the "slow moving" rules tend to apply to cyclists much more often than to drivers of motorized vehicles, especially considering how the narrow nature of bikes makes it much easier to allow faster traffic to pass us.
    But passing on the left to make an immediate right turn makes no sense what so ever.

  12. #12
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    ...The point is to figure out what they're doing, and to let them know what you're doing, and make sure you have successfully communicated that.
    In a world where lane positioning and other such tactics actually accomplished something, there wouldn't be a necessity to figure out what an approaching driver was doing. Heck, in a world where drivers follow the laws of the road, and maybe showed some courtesy, figuring out their intentions wouldn't be necessary. You'd just automatically know.
    Having to figure out an approaching driver's next move automatically assumes that whatever you're doing is not working.
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  13. #13
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
    In a world where lane positioning and other such tactics actually accomplished something, there wouldn't be a necessity to figure out what an approaching driver was doing. Heck, in a world where drivers follow the laws of the road, and maybe showed some courtesy, figuring out their intentions wouldn't be necessary. You'd just automatically know.
    Having to figure out an approaching driver's next move automatically assumes that whatever you're doing is not working.
    There lies the inherent flaw in the rigid brand of VC some like to promote here - it assumes that drivers are all good, law-abiding citizens who can be depended upon to act in a predictable manner and influenced by your actions. The reality is that stupidity reigns and will continue to grow as the roads and people's time get more congested and the level of courtesy in our society as a whole continues to decrease.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    But passing on the left to make an immediate right turn makes no sense what so ever.
    If you're stopped at the right side at an intersection in a car for no apparent reason, you can expect to be passed on the left by drivers making an immediate right.

    Your expectations should be no different when you're on a bike.

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    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    If you're stopped at the right side at an intersection in a car for no apparent reason, you can expect to be passed on the left by drivers making an immediate right.

    Your expectations should be no different when you're on a bike.

    So you're trying to justify stupidity breeding further stupidity?
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
    In a world where lane positioning and other such tactics actually accomplished something, there wouldn't be a necessity to figure out what an approaching driver was doing.
    That's absurd. There is nothing anyone can do that works 100% of the time. Lane positioning is very effective for communicating intent, but it is not everything, and lane positioning alone is sometimes not enough. The slow/stop signal, adjusting speed, looking back, smiling, waving, turn signalling, pointing, head signalling, etc. are all part of it too.

    Heck, in a world where drivers follow the laws of the road, and maybe showed some courtesy, figuring out their intentions wouldn't be necessary. You'd just automatically know.
    Having to figure out an approaching driver's next move automatically assumes that whatever you're doing is not working.
    There are no hard and fast rules that work every time. But there are best practices that are very helpful.

  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    If you're stopped at the right side at an intersection in a car for no apparent reason, you can expect to be passed on the left by drivers making an immediate right.

    Your expectations should be no different when you're on a bike.
    Fine, I tend to agree.

    But if I am in the middle of the lane... actually left biased and moving toward a red light, should I also expect to be passed on the left by a vehicle that has to cross the double yellow into the opposing traffic lane before they move into a right turning position?

    My expectation, either in a car or on a bike, is that a right turning motorist will pass me on the right.

    EDIT: anyone doing otherwise is not acting in a safe and predictable manner.

  18. #18
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    But but... according to some here, on BF, you can "control" even those motorists...
    That is not quite the case. What is true is that if you communicate your intentions and act calmly, assertively, and considerately, most people will work with you.

    In the case at hand, the OP made a judgment call. He figured he was in for a hook and chose not to fight what he thought was inevitable, so he gets out of the way to make the process faster and safer. Meanwhile, it appears that the motorist figured out what was going to happen, probably appreciated the cyclist showing consideration, and decided to return the favor. No one gets mad, but both get delayed slightly.

    Nothing was really done wrong, and you always have to use common sense. I don't know everything that was going on in that situation, but normally if I'm coming up to a light or sign and think a driver might hook me, I go even further left to signal that I intend to continue onward unless I expect them go try to squeeze by anyway in which case I slow down and be ready.

  19. #19
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek
    That is not quite the case. What is true is that if you communicate your intentions and act calmly, assertively, and considerately, most people will work with you.

    In the case at hand, the OP made a judgment call. He figured he was in for a hook and chose not to fight what he thought was inevitable, so he gets out of the way to make the process faster and safer. Meanwhile, it appears that the motorist figured out what was going to happen, probably appreciated the cyclist showing consideration, and decided to return the favor. No one gets mad, but both get delayed slightly.

    Nothing was really done wrong, and you always have to use common sense. I don't know everything that was going on in that situation, but normally if I'm coming up to a light or sign and think a driver might hook me, I go even further left to signal that I intend to continue onward unless I expect them go try to squeeze by anyway in which case I slow down and be ready.

  20. #20
    ---- buzzman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek
    ... normally if I'm coming up to a light or sign and think a driver might hook me, I go even further left to signal that I intend to continue onward unless I expect them go try to squeeze by anyway in which case I slow down and be ready.
    ironically that's the maneuver I made with the pick up truck and the being ready is certainly a big part of the equation.

    It's wonderful to get so much feedback on these two simple incidents.

    As far as those that are suggesting a hand signal I think it's a valid suggestion and one that at times is certainly appropriate. Whether it is safe and necessary to do so when riding with two full bags of groceries on the back rack of your bike at night on a road that has some ice spots and as you are approaching an intersection I think it might be better to hold a straight line on the bike and keep your hands available for the brakes. And to be honest, the guys down da' lake in their pick ups might be inclined to be even more irritated by a cyclist who signals them to "slow down" or "back off" but there's no guarantee either way there so you could still be right.

    To those that are still insisting I have been "racing to the stop sign" I can only .

    As far as moving right. I think in the case of the pick up I should have slowed down and moved right but must admit in retrospect it would have been a bit crowded since there was a parked car just before the intersection so holding the lane and hoping to get to the stop sign well before the pick up may have been the best solution with the caveat of being ready to move.

    Regarding the incident that is the OP of this thread again a hand signal might have been appropriate but in this case it's a small one lane, one way street with a maximum speed limit of 20 mph. I'm 6'3' tall and wearing a bright orange reflectorized tee-shirt in the full daylight and am approaching an intersection with not one but two stop signs. I'm in the center of the lane fully visible and it's pretty obvious I'm going to stop. I'm going straight across at the intersection. I moved right in this case for exactly the reason banerjek surmises:

    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek
    In the case at hand, the OP made a judgment call. He figured he was in for a hook and chose not to fight what he thought was inevitable, so he gets out of the way to make the process faster and safer. Meanwhile, it appears that the motorist figured out what was going to happen, probably appreciated the cyclist showing consideration, and decided to return the favor. No one gets mad, but both get delayed slightly.
    that is precisely how I, too, interpreted the incident.

    I probably responded the way I did because it was 7:45am on an 8 degree F day and I just rolled out of bed and was in no mood to "slow/stop signal, adjusting speed, looking back, smiling, waving, turn signalling, pointing, head signalling, etc...." I just moved out of his friggin' way and let him be a jerk. Oddly enough he came to his senses and apologized.

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