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Old 03-08-07, 01:09 PM   #1
Helmet Head
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Honing and trusting your instincts

Scenario/setup:Then the following happens:
  1. I notice the SUV that passed me, now up ahead, starting to slow as it approaches the driveway. It maintains lateral position (staying out of the bike lane).
  2. The SUV, about two car lengths ahead of me, has come to a complete stop at the driveway, still outside, to the left of, the bike lane. Brake lights are on. Right turn signal flashing. I'm moving 10-12 mph. The bike lane in front of me is clear.
What would you do? More to the point, what would you want your instincts to tell you to do? You're moving about 15 feet per second, so you're about 1.5 seconds back (if you maintain speed). There is not much time for analysis. All there is really time for is an instinctual reaction. Hopefully your situational awareness is tuned in. Assuming it is, what do you want your instinct to tell you to do? Keep going? Slow down and maybe even come to a complete stop?

What do you think I did?
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Old 03-08-07, 01:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Scenario/setup:Then the following happens:
  1. I notice the SUV that passed me, now up ahead, starting to slow as it approaches the driveway. It maintains lateral position (staying out of the bike lane).
  2. The SUV, about two car lengths ahead of me, has come to a complete stop at the driveway, still outside, to the left of, the bike lane. Brake lights are on. Right turn signal flashing. I'm moving 10-12 mph. The bike lane in front of me is clear.
What would you do? More to the point, what would you want your instincts to tell you to do? You're moving about 15 feet per second, so you're about 1.5 seconds back (if you maintain speed). There is not much time for analysis. All there is really time for is an instinctual reaction. Hopefully your situational awareness is tuned in. Assuming it is, what do you want your instinct to tell you to do? Keep going? Slow down and maybe even come to a complete stop?

What do you think I did?
Actually you would have to assume you recognized you would need to take action further back because it takes 1.5 seconds just to recognize the need for action and then decide on a course of action for the average person, but I get your point.

Heavy traffic and I am not sure what is next to me because I was day dreaming about the blond roller-blader on the side walk I might be inclined to just stop. I'd rather get there late than be an asphalt stain. If I were paying attention and knew there was no FSDT I might choose to go around the truck on the left or just pull in behind him. If he has completely stopped you have to wonder if he is lost and is looking for an address or a place to turn around (what type of van? minivan or delivery/service van?). If so he might become extremely unpredictable and pull a u-turn in the road or last second decide to turn left instead of right.

Last edited by deputyjones; 03-08-07 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 03-08-07, 01:54 PM   #3
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I think the driver has seen me, and is stopping to let me pass. But I can't be sure of that, so I would slam on my brakes anyway, make quite sure of the situation, and then pass him on the right.

I would not swerve out to pass the SUV on the left.

I look forward to hearing what you did.
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Old 03-08-07, 02:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhm
I think the driver has seen me, and is stopping to let me pass. But I can't be sure of that, so I would slam on my brakes anyway, make quite sure of the situation, and then pass him on the right.

I would not swerve out to pass the SUV on the left.

I look forward to hearing what you did.
I looked back over my left shoulder, moved across the lane and passed on the left, uneventfully. I did it without even fully realizing what I was doing - it was a total gut reaction, and seemed to happen instantaneously. When I was about even with the SUV driver's door, she commenced her right turn into the driveway.

In retrospect, I thought it was obvious that she was clearly stopping to let me go by before she turned right, and I am certain I would have been fine passing her on the right in the bike lane.

But my instincts have been honed to not pass on the right, so I didn't, and I'm glad I have instincts that consider passing on the right to be avoided if it is reasonably possible to do so.

I have honed my instincts to do that by repeatedly forcing myself consciously to avoid passing on the right, to the point where, apparently, it's now instinctual.

Edit: Corrected right to left above. (doh!)

Last edited by Helmet Head; 03-08-07 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 03-08-07, 02:15 PM   #5
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rhm +1

Looks like a potential turn across my lane of travel. Assume they have not seen me, brake, attempt to make visual contact with driver in case they are waiting for me to pass.

It's a fairly familiar scenario - the response almost becomes a reflex action.

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Old 03-08-07, 02:18 PM   #6
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This thread looks familiar. Same crap, differant day with differant title?
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Old 03-08-07, 02:50 PM   #7
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I bet you passed him on the left. Better safe than sorry.

EDIT: OOPS! I was wrong (what were you thinking, HH?)

Really, this is a good example of a problem we can encounter.
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Old 03-08-07, 02:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by N_C
This thread looks familiar. Same crap, differant day with differant title?
Similar situation in the same location a few days apart.
But this time I was further back and so reacted different - look back, and pass on the left.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:32 PM   #9
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...of course if there is time to check behind and make a conventional overtaking manouver, then I would.

A perfectly valid thread in my opinion.

Cheers,

Ed
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Old 03-08-07, 03:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I bet you passed him on the left. Better safe than sorry.

EDIT: OOPS! I was wrong (what were you thinking, HH?)

Really, this is a good example of a problem we can encounter.
You were correct. I did pass on the left.

I originally miswrote that I passed on the right (since corrected).
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Old 03-08-07, 03:46 PM   #11
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I'd slow down and stop, if necessary to maintain safe separation, while holding my line.

Paul
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Old 03-08-07, 04:07 PM   #12
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This is a real life situation that isn't exactly relegated to BL's alone.
My instincts?

Check the mirror, then move to pass said van on the left.
The legal way to pass a vehicle.
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Old 03-08-07, 04:39 PM   #13
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I think I'd stop riding in that section of the bike lane
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Old 03-08-07, 05:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joejack951
I think I'd stop riding in that section of the bike lane
You're not kidding.

The thing is, I've been commuting on that section almost 7 years now, and I can't recall a single conflict there before last week, and now I've had two in one week!

But probably what happened is I just didn't pay attention in the past. It's entirely conceivable that I could have done what I did this morning (move left to pass a stopped car waiting for me to pass on the right) and forget about it by the time I hit the end of the block.

Practically speaking, both times were really a non-issue in terms of impact on me. But I still thought there was value in sharing what happened.
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Old 03-08-07, 05:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
But probably what happened is I just didn't pay attention in the past. It's entirely conceivable that I could have done what I did this morning (move left to pass a stopped car waiting for me to pass on the right) and forget about it by the time I hit the end of the block.
That's a good thing. It means it's ingrained.
Do you salivate at the sound of bicycle bell?

I think I do, but I can't remember.
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Old 03-08-07, 05:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
That's a good thing. It means it's ingrained.
Do you salivate at the sound of bicycle bell?

I think I do, but I can't remember.
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Old 03-08-07, 07:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deputyjones
Actually you would have to assume you recognized you would need to take action further back because it takes 1.5 seconds just to recognize the need for action and then decide on a course of action for the average person, but I get your point.
Isn't reaction time much shorter than that?

I looked it up... closer to 200 milliseconds. That seems right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_time

I could have sworn the whole process to recognize what to do, look back, and move across the lane to the left side of the SUV took well under a second.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:11 PM   #18
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How is this topic about honing and trusting your instincts? What do you guys even know about that?

When this happens to me my instincts, or I prefer intuition, will suggest several different options. At some times I might choose to pass on the right. Others to pass on the left. Sometimes to slow way down or stop. I have done all these things based on different messages I got listening to my intuition after observing the situation.

So tell me, guys, you are a cashier with $500 in your pocket selling flowers on the street corner. A man comes up to your flower stand and tells you he wants to make change for a $20 bill so he can put a $5 bill in a birthday card. What does your intuition tell you to do?
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Old 03-08-07, 09:18 PM   #19
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So tell me, guys, you are a cashier with $500 in your pocket selling flowers on the street corner. A man comes up to your flower stand and tells you he wants to make change for a $20 bill so he can put a $5 bill in a birthday card. What does your intuition tell you to do?
Trick question, everyone knows that intuition is for girls.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Isn't reaction time much shorter than that?

I looked it up... closer to 200 milliseconds. That seems right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_time

I could have sworn the whole process to recognize what to do, look back, and move across the lane to the left side of the SUV took well under a second.
1.5 seconds is the standard used by accident investigators, and based on studies is pretty accurate for most drivers. I think the definition used in the wikipedia article you posted would be more like a 3rd baseman reacting to a line drive hit at him, but he is expecting it. Whereas when cycling we have to recognize that some intervention is needed and then decide on a course of action based on the situation.

I don't doubt that if you truly have built that specific response into our "instincts" that it can and will be faster. Cops refer to that as "muscle memory". Like when drawing our guns in response to a threat.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deputyjones
1.5 seconds is the standard used by accident investigators, and based on studies is pretty accurate for most drivers. I think the definition used in the wikipedia article you posted would be more like a 3rd baseman reacting to a line drive hit at him, but he is expecting it. Whereas when cycling we have to recognize that some intervention is needed and then decide on a course of action based on the situation.

I don't doubt that if you truly have built that specific response into our "instincts" that it can and will be faster. Cops refer to that as "muscle memory". Like when drawing our guns in response to a threat.
I was expecting it of course, because the SUV had been slowing prior to stopping. Now that I think about it even more, my initial expectation was that it was going to just turn right. This was one of those cases where they misjudged the timing in the other direction. She had time to turn right without conflict, but chose to wait.

Now, if she was turning right, she would not have come to a complete stop. So the stop was probably the point at which something triggered inside of me.

I really wish it was on video so I could time how long it was from the moment the SUV stopped to the moment I began the process (starting with glancing back over my shoulder). Would be interesting to know.
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Old 03-08-07, 11:07 PM   #22
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just like last weeks scenario, pretty mundane. I AM happy you're improving your adaptive cycling skills. yawn. want me to buy you a can of soda?
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Old 03-08-07, 11:11 PM   #23
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maybe mr. head has been learning tips from bike forums advocacy and safety forum!!!

from a thread just this week....

www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=274090


1) don't allow a bike lane to make you complacent about safety.
2) be wary of decelerating cars coming up from behind.
3) stay out of the car's blind spot.
4) never pass on the right unless sure the car has no intention of turning.
5) listen and watch cars and their drivers for telltale clues a right turn is upcoming.
6) run high vis equipment day or night to enhance your visibility to drivers.
7) Learn the "brake and swoop".
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Old 03-09-07, 12:54 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
maybe mr. head has been learning tips from bike forums advocacy and safety forum!!!

from a thread just this week....

www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=274090


1) don't allow a bike lane to make you complacent about safety.
2) be wary of decelerating cars coming up from behind.
3) stay out of the car's blind spot.
4) never pass on the right unless sure the car has no intention of turning.
5) listen and watch cars and their drivers for telltale clues a right turn is upcoming.
6) run high vis equipment day or night to enhance your visibility to drivers.
7) Learn the "brake and swoop".
That's a good list. I have my nits, but it's a decent list. Note sure what you mean by "brake and swoop" - slow with your brakes, then swerve to pass on the other side?

I think #3 is redundant because it is encompassed by #4. For me, "never pass on the right" means don't go forward of the rear bumper, which you'd have to do to be in the driver's blind spot for most cars. And if you are in the blind spot, if you're behind the car, and you're not going to pass it, it doesn't matter.

But at the top of the list I would put: look back over your shoulder and merge left (negotiating for ROW to do so as required) at every intersection approach.

Last edited by Helmet Head; 03-09-07 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 03-09-07, 01:16 AM   #25
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well, that's not what you gotta do, mr head, despite your belief in it. go re-read the thread, dude.

nuf said. pretty ho-hum scenario. even mr helmet head can learn a few things in bike forums. # 3 IS different from #4.

yes, the brake and swoop, like, similar to your passsing on the left.

glad you posted a scenario we can agree on. 'don't pass on the right unless you are sure the car has no intention of turning.'

you did good. want me to get you a cookie?
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