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  1. #1
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Cyclist killed by PU driver leaving parking lot - discussion

    Her bicycle collided with a truck driven by a 46-year-old Kirkland man as he was leaving a store parking lot.
    Recently while both cycling and walking I have noticed a preponderance of motorists failing to even hesitate when entering from a side street, or a driveway... somewhere in their minds the idea of a quick glance seems quite sufficient and off they go. (this has happened to me now 5 times in the last week and a half-- I would call that a "preponderance." Once while walking my dog.) BTW I tend to ride these local streets very center biased.

    I had one gentleman (I use the word quite loosely) run a stop sign, at speed and then slam on his brakes... while I too came to a screeching halt and yelled "stop sign!" and pointed at the thing. His response included the F bomb and off he drove. There was a woman on foot approaching from the other direction... she too was quite taken aback. The other situations involved motorists exiting a side street or mall and then getting well out into the lane and slamming on the brakes and then invoking a sheepish "sorry."

    While I would like to think I could confirm that I have been seen in such situations, I have seen that the hurried motorist simply assumes the road is clear... perhaps because it is a less used road or exit (in the case of a shopping mall) and they just blast right through.

    The only solution seems to be to assume no one is going to stop and slow down and prepare to stop yourself... yet this seems to give motorists the impression that you are stopping for them.

    I believe this situation, of motorists not even hesitating, is perhaps what killed the young woman, mentioned earlier here on BF.

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    From the other thread about the death of Autumn in Seattle:

    the whole "don't depend on people seeing you without verifying they do so" is armchair riding to the extreme. it's as if the poster that wrote that doesn't ride much at all. A 'verify' requirement would lead to stimulus overload and stopping the bicycle, a lot, to attempt to achieve this 'verification' this other poster uses as a pet construct from the armchair.

    how a rider 'verifies' they see you is pure conjecture. As I approach cars at intersections, I find drivers make pointedly obtuse attempts to NOT make eye contact with bicyclists.


    There's a lot of blatant stop sign running, entering roads without looking, etc. Riding defensively is key, but 'verifying' every driver notices you is pure fallacy, straight from the armchair.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Recently while both cycling and walking I have noticed a preponderance of motorists failing to even hesitate when entering from a side street, or a driveway... somewhere in their minds the idea of a quick glance seems quite sufficient and off they go. (this has happened to me now 5 times in the last week and a half-- I would call that a "preponderance." Once while walking my dog.) BTW I tend to ride these local streets very center biased.

    I had one gentleman (I use the word quite loosely) run a stop sign, at speed and then slam on his brakes... while I too came to a screeching halt and yelled "stop sign!" and pointed at the thing. His response included the F bomb and off he drove. There was a woman on foot approaching from the other direction... she too was quite taken aback. The other situations involved motorists exiting a side street or mall and then getting well out into the lane and slamming on the brakes and then invoking a sheepish "sorry."

    While I would like to think I could confirm that I have been seen in such situations, I have seen that the hurried motorist simply assumes the road is clear... perhaps because it is a less used road or exit (in the case of a shopping mall) and they just blast right through.

    The only solution seems to be to assume no one is going to stop and slow down and prepare to stop yourself... yet this seems to give motorists the impression that you are stopping for them.

    I believe this situation, of motorists not even hesitating, is perhaps what killed the young woman, mentioned earlier here on BF.
    I think in the cases you cite, its negligence on the part of the drivers in not taking a good look as they pull into a street. If you asked them, I think most would truthfully answer they didn't see you. This is certainly a danger, but in the situation, you have the advantage because distracted drivers are usually pretty easy to avoid.

    What is really dangerous are the drivers who look right at you and pull out in front of you, because after all, they are inside 2 tons of steel and glass and nothing is going to happen to them in case of a collission. It is really amazing how many people cannot hesitate for a couple of seconds to let somebody by that has the right of way.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  4. #4
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    For a while I saw a lot of people running stop signs. I mean really running them. Not even slowing down. Seemed like something "cool" people were doing. And then suddenly it stopped. Maybe enough people complained about it.
    ~Diane
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  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Riding defensively is key, but 'verifying' every driver notices you is pure fallacy, straight from the armchair.
    I find "verifying" is especially difficult when darkly tinted windows are involved.

    Oddly enough (in spite of my thinking otherwise) none of the close calls I have experienced recently appeared to involve cell phones. (although the one "blackened" window situation would have been hard to tell, either way).

    The real issue is that motorists are treating these stop and check situations a lot like a right on red... without the stop.

    Every situation but one occured on quiet residential streets or side streets near industrial areas. These motorists appear to be assuming they are the only ones on these roads, and they are driving "fast" and are barely slowing, but not stopping.

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho
    I think in the cases you cite, its negligence on the part of the drivers in not taking a good look as they pull into a street. If you asked them, I think most would truthfully answer they didn't see you. This is certainly a danger, but in the situation, you have the advantage because distracted drivers are usually pretty easy to avoid.

    What is really dangerous are the drivers who look right at you and pull out in front of you, because after all, they are inside 2 tons of steel and glass and nothing is going to happen to them in case of a collission. It is really amazing how many people cannot hesitate for a couple of seconds to let somebody by that has the right of way.
    Yeah, this is where hesitation on the cyclists part seems to give some motorists permission to just blaze on.

  7. #7
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    ... A 'verify' requirement would lead to stimulus overload and stopping the bicycle, a lot, to attempt to achieve this 'verification' this other poster uses as a pet construct from the armchair. ... There's a lot of blatant stop sign running, entering roads without looking, etc. Riding defensively is key, but 'verifying' every driver notices you is pure fallacy, straight from the armchair.
    I didn't see the other post, but I do attempt to verify if I'm unsure I've been seen, and it does cause me to stop unnecessarily quite a bit. I guess I'm okay with that if it means I'm delayed 30 seconds but still alive. I don't mean to say that you don't ride safely if you don't ride the way I do, just that my personal threshold for risk is quite low.

  8. #8
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    The only solution seems to be to assume no one is going to stop and slow down and prepare to stop yourself... yet this seems to give motorists the impression that you are stopping for them.
    Planning for Murphy, expecting the other guy to do the stupidest thing possible, yep that about covers it. I really don't see being 'prepared' to stop or bail as giving a motorist the impression of anything - you can be prepared without having to take some overt action.

  9. #9
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    I do verify that people see me. I don't ride an armchair, I ride my bike. But, I do ride in a rural area, where seeing a car may happen five or six times on a one hour ride. If I pass through an intersection where I have the right of way and the cross traffic has a stop sign, I make sure they see me before I proceed.

    I find it ironic that the same cyclists complaining about drivers being too impatient to wait seconds are themselves too impatient to wait seconds to verify they have been seen. Whatever.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i'm confident this thread will spawn dozens of responses from one poster about the 'trust, but verify' armchair riding method.

    In crowded urban environments, 'verifying' the driver has seen you is impractical artifice. Stop, in a lane of traffic with cars behind moving at speed, waiting for a driver at an intersection pointedly ignoring you to make eye contact? NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Armchair riding.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    For a while I saw a lot of people running stop signs. I mean really running them. Not even slowing down. Seemed like something "cool" people were doing. And then suddenly it stopped. Maybe enough people complained about it.
    I will admit it has just suddenly started happening... just very coincidental. Hopefully it will stop as quick.

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Planning for Murphy, expecting the other guy to do the stupidest thing possible, yep that about covers it. I really don't see being 'prepared' to stop or bail as giving a motorist the impression of anything - you can be prepared without having to take some overt action.
    The overt action is slowing... which some motorists take as giving them ROW.

    When a motorist is rapidly approaching a stop sign, and doesn't appear to be slowing themselves, I take the initiative to slow down be ready to stop short of the intersection... the motorists appear to take that as permission to run the stop sign and take advantage of the situation.

    That was exactly what happened when the guy yelled the F bomb when I pointed out the stop sign.

    In another case, there was no way to verify anything... the motorist was rapidly moving into the street from a Walmart lot and had tinted windows... I couldn't verify anything... I slowed, they flew.

    In the other situations the motorists stopped well long, and into the street, but they did give the sheepish "sorry." I was walking in one case and stopped short. No problem... the other two involved me on bike and I slowed way down, then kept going while giving a glaring look.

    But in the two cases cited above, just slowing seemed to tell the motorists to go ahead... BTW I was only doing about 15MPH in most of these situations.

  13. #13
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    I see this all the time, and it's probably the biggest threat that I regularly encounter while riding. I also think that for the most part, it's avoidable. That comes of course from my own personal experience, since I see it so often I've become very aware of it and can pretty much predict when it's likely to happen. Often I'll give a warning to my riding buddies like "watch this one, she's not stopping" and they'll look at me like I'm clairvoyant when it happens.

    If you see it a lot at a particular place, go into the appropriate police station and talk to someone face to face, and get someone else you know that's seen it to do the same. They will often set up for a couple of days in problem areas and hand out a few tickets, which usually helps. They don't get everyone that does it of course, but they are seen giving tickets by a lot of people that didn't happen to get caught that day.

    I think there is something we can do to reduce how often it happens to us, besides the avoidance. I have noticed that when I'm wearing one of my brighter jerseys, they become more aware, and if I have on my vest, it never happens. They may start to pull on out in front of me but will stop. I really do think that it's a combo of self-indulgence and the natural instinct to be focused on things that are threats to you.

    And the problem isn't just with drivers, I see people on bikes do exactly the same thing all the time.
    Tom

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  14. #14
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    The overt action is slowing... which some motorists take as giving them ROW.
    You mean you don't shift down and peddle faster, even though you are actually slowing, to give the driver the perception that you are speeding up?

    Seriously, I think part of the problem is that drivers have a hard time judging our speed, so they really can't tell if we are slowing or accelerating - even if we give them some overt sign like ceasing to pedal or pedaling faster...they just don't pay that much attention to detail. Indeed, in the case where they aren't giving a good enough look to notice us at all, what actions we are taking are totally irrelevant to them because they don't see us in the first place.

    I think the point I am trying to make is that we need to notice them way before they ever notice us, and be prepared to deal with whatever stupid thing they might do...it's more mental - knowing what we will do based on their actions, than physical - actually taking some action. But don't get me wrong...slowing is good and I agree, sometimes it does confuse them when they see us...but at least that means they see us.
    (I'm sounding like Yogi Berra here, ain't I?)

  15. #15
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    HID headlight
    Prior attention to situation behind you
    Ride center biased.
    Prepare to stop hard, quick right turn into place motorist is exiting, or merge left into adjacent lane as they turn (this is why I keep aware of conditions behind me)

    I find that the slower I ride the more often drivers pull in front of me. Which leads me to think that those drivers who do stop and look can tell if I am riding 10 or 20mph.

    Al
    Last edited by noisebeam; 02-28-07 at 09:12 AM.

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    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    i'm confident this thread will spawn dozens of responses from one poster about the 'trust, but verify' armchair riding method.

    In crowded urban environments, 'verifying' the driver has seen you is impractical artifice. Stop, in a lane of traffic with cars behind moving at speed, waiting for a driver at an intersection pointedly ignoring you to make eye contact? NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Armchair riding.

    So don't do it all because 10% or even 50% of the drivers won't look at you. Sure it is impractical to stop at every intersection just because you can't verify. And frankly I don't ever stop unless I am about to be run over.

    But, don't be stupid this isn't an all or none proposition. It takes no more effort to at least try to get eye contact from even a small percentage of drivers.

    And to chipcom...I do speed up at intersections to signal to drivers that yes, I am going fast enough for them to wait for me.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    i'm confident this thread will spawn dozens of responses from one poster about the 'trust, but verify' armchair riding method.

    In crowded urban environments, 'verifying' the driver has seen you is impractical artifice. Stop, in a lane of traffic with cars behind moving at speed, waiting for a driver at an intersection pointedly ignoring you to make eye contact? NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Armchair riding.
    Eye contact means nothing anyway. If I'm approaching an intersection and a motorist is rolling towards where they should stop, I'm going to start to react until I'm sure they are stopped. I don't care if they appear to be looking right at me. Any cyclist with any mileage has had a driver appear to make eye contact and then pull out in front of them. Just last week a guy did this to me while riding at 35mph downhill, centered in my lane, running a bright LED flasher (nearing sunset). I saw him rolling towards the stop line and was already braking when he pulled out so it was a non-issue.

    With that said, there is not much you can do (other than creating as big a buffer as possible) to avoid drivers who show all signs of having noticed you (fully stopped and appearing to be waiting for traffic to clear) that still pull out. For this reason alone, not riding on the margins of the road when there is no other faster same direction traffic present is a prudent measure to take for your safety.

  18. #18
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    It's all about clearing an intersection, and you begin clearing an intersection many seconds before you get there, whether you are piloting a bicycle, car, truck, or whatever.

    You put yourself where others can see you, of course with lights and bright clothing, you vaguely pre-plan an escape route, and when you spot them coming out without stopping, you warn, and slow / stop / evade.

    If your attention is focused completely right in front of your front wheel, if you are not paying attention many seconds down the road, you will not be able to anticipate threats in this manner, and yes, people will think you are claivoyant.

    I am not making this up, either. I'm basically quoting directly from the world-class driver safety training that we are all required to take at work (Schlumberger... oilfield equipment up to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more per truck). So if this is "armchair cycling", so be it. I don't care what anyone calls it. It works whatever vehicle you're piloting.

    http://www.slb.com/content/services/...PaperId=86750&



    Quote Originally Posted by twahl
    I see this all the time, and it's probably the biggest threat that I regularly encounter while riding. I also think that for the most part, it's avoidable. That comes of course from my own personal experience, since I see it so often I've become very aware of it and can pretty much predict when it's likely to happen. Often I'll give a warning to my riding buddies like "watch this one, she's not stopping" and they'll look at me like I'm clairvoyant when it happens.
    Last edited by kf5nd; 02-28-07 at 09:48 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kf5nd
    I am not making this up, either. I'm basically quoting directly from the world-class driver safety training that we are all required to take at work (Schlumberger... oilfield equipment up to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more per truck). So if this is "armchair cycling", so be it. I don't care what anyone calls it. It works whatever vehicle you're piloting.
    Our resident "expert" at identifying armchair cyclists is the only one calling your techniques (and others' similar techniques) armchair cycling.

  20. #20
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    no, the 'trust, but verify' constructs is armchair riding. Its a make believe construct.

    Verify drivers how? using two way radio? a cell phone? semaphore? smoke signals?

    or how about trust, and plan for Murphy?
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  21. #21
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    In the area where I ride the car pulling in and out of the private drive is probably the greatest danger I face. It also constitutes about 90% of the car/bike accidents I have personally investigated. There is a state law that says people exiting a private drive must stop before proceeding, but it is rarely followed. I write that ticket quite frequently, and people get MAD! They just assume if it is open they can go ahead and cross the MUP at 35 mph.

    From the other perspective, Just the other day I was riding to work and the left lane was backed up from a light that had just turned green, and I was in the right lane which was open on a five lane 50 mph road (with center both direction turn lane). I slowed to about 30-35 mph due to passing stopped/slowly moving traffic, and I saw the dreaded opening in the left lane meaning someone in the left lane had stopped to allow a car in the center lane to turn left in front of them. I slammed on the brakes, and thank god the guy in the center lane didn't go or I would have smoked him. If I had been on a bike in the road or MUP and this scenario played out I probably would have been dead.

    (This perspective is from the MUP) The way I deal with this is when a car is pulling out of a drive I am about to cross I keep a close eye on them, but only reduce my speed enough to stop if I have to. As I approach I try to make eye contact, initiate some type of hand signal like waving and slow as needed until I get a cue from the driver that they see me like waving me through. 90% of the time the wave me through, but if I have to stop because I don't think they see me so be it. I would rather lose some time then get run over.

    (Also from the MUP) When I see a car turning into a drive I just pretend like I am invisible <BeginFlamingHere> because typically I am. Most of the cars turning left are crossing 2 or 3 lanes or traffic that is moving at between 45 and 60 MPH so their attention is focused on the other cars. If I can make it safely to the other side before they turn I will go for it, but if I expect we will meet in the middle I stop for the same reason as above. Steely glares and blinky lights are great, but in the end I would rather lose some time than be run over.

    **DISCLAIMER: I did not investigate the accident referenced in the OP, and am not commenting on it but on the dangers of private drives in general.
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  22. #22
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I'm a driver...a darned good one I figure since I haven't had an actual accident in 20 years and can count on one hand how many I had in my lifetime. I'm also a cyclist with about 40 some years on the bike. Yet I have a hard time judging the speed of a bicycle, no matter how fast or slow you are pedaling, if at all. Just food for thought for those of you who think you are sending messages to drivers by speeding up or slowing down.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by deputyjones
    (This perspective is from the MUP) The way I deal with this is when a car is pulling out of a drive I am about to cross I keep a close eye on them, but only reduce my speed enough to stop if I have to. As I approach I try to make eye contact, initiate some type of hand signal like waving and slow as needed until I get a cue from the driver that they see me like waving me through. 90% of the time the wave me through, but if I have to stop because I don't think they see me so be it. I would rather lose some time then get run over.

    (Also from the MUP) When I see a car turning into a drive I just pretend like I am invisible <BeginFlamingHere> because typically I am. Most of the cars turning left are crossing 2 or 3 lanes or traffic that is moving at between 45 and 60 MPH so their attention is focused on the other cars. If I can make it safely to the other side before they turn I will go for it, but if I expect we will meet in the middle I stop for the same reason as above. Steely glares and blinky lights are great, but in the end I would rather lose some time than be run over.
    This MUP sounds more like a sidepath the parallels a busy road and cross many side streets. Is that the case? If so, I would agree that to the drivers using the roadway, you are invisible/irrelevant on the sidepath.

  24. #24
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    This MUP sounds more like a sidepath the parallels a busy road and cross many side streets. Is that the case? If so, I would agree that to the drivers using the roadway, you are invisible/irrelevant on the sidepath.
    Exactly, our MUP's are just wide sidewalks that are actually offset from the road anywhere from 5-20 feet.
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  25. #25
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    I'm a driver...a darned good one I figure since I haven't had an actual accident in 20 years and can count on one hand how many I had in my lifetime. I'm also a cyclist with about 40 some years on the bike. Yet I have a hard time judging the speed of a bicycle, no matter how fast or slow you are pedaling, if at all. Just food for thought for those of you who think you are sending messages to drivers by speeding up or slowing down.
    Couldn't agree more Chip. The only reason I mention speed at all is that I want to give the driver that is pulling out of a drive, if they see me, the impression that I am going through as I am legally allowed to, but I always allow myself the time/distance/speed to stop if I will need to.
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
    Connor: I do believe the monsignor's finally got the point.
    Murphy: Aye.

    OttawaCountyDSA.com

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