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Old 04-24-08, 08:16 AM   #1
baiskeli
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What is wrong with people in this town?

I'm posting this here because while I wasn't on a bike when it happened, I have had the same thing happen when I am on a bike.

So, there is a rotary on my way to work. The rules of the road state that people in the rotary have right of way. This has happened the last 3 times I've driven to work. I come to the rotary, look and wait until it is clear and then drive into the rotary. Invariably, some driver will come flying into the rotary from one of the roads without looking and cut off people in the rotary. Today morning was no exception, I was already in the rotary when some woman came flying into the rotary, on her cell phone and cut in front of me forcing me to slam on my brakes. Now, I know she saw me because she was looking directly at me. Essentially, this must have been her thought process "I know he has right of way but I am going to jump in front of him and force him to brake to avoid hitting me". Of course I slammed on my brakes while laying on my horn and the poor guy behind me had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting me. For a millionth of a second I was tempted not to step on the brakes, plough into her car and wait for the cops.

Last night, my wife was driving home (I wasn't there) when another woman on her left decided that she just had to get ahead of my wife before a rotary. Note, she was slightly behind my wife in the left lane. She revved up, swerved over, knocked the drivers side mirror of our car forward (thank God its one of those that swivels forwards and backwards) and then slammed on her brakes when my wife essentially refused to be forced off the road (this woman wanted to get into my wife's lane NOW!! and the only choice my wife had was stay in her lane or jump a curb) . This woman then rolls down her window and decides to curse out my wife even though she was at fault. My wife kept her cool, took pictures of the car and number plate before the woman sped off. The woman then got into the rotary in the left most lane and immediately cut off another driver to make an immediate right out of the rotary. I told my wife I would find out if there was a number to report aggressive drivers in Massachusetts.

Then some time ago, this one just amazed me. 4 way stop sign. Cars are coming to a stop in an orderly fashion and then going. I come to the stop sign (I was driving) and like a normal person come to a stop, look both ways and notice there is a car coming from the right (not yet at the stop sign). I start going and this driver, a woman with kids , one of them in a baby seat) looks right at me as I start rolling and proceeds to blow the stop sign. I slam on the brakes and miss her by inches.

O.K Done with rant.

This is relevant to cycling because it got me thinking. If drivers here are this bad/discourteous to other drivers just imagine their thought process with cyclists. I know that a number of challenges have to do with ill designed roads and just plain bad engineering but I know in MA the primary problem is driver attitude. If someone is willing to play 'chicken' with another 3000+ pound car when they have their children in the car what would make them not decide to pull the same crap with a 100-200 pound cyclist?
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Old 04-24-08, 08:35 AM   #2
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Possibly one of the most confusing hard to adjust to laws in New England. I believe that Mass is the only state to grant right of way to cars in the rotary. Most others grant right of way to the car on the right. This leads to Mass drivers in CT sailing through rotaries thinking that they have the right of way when they don't.


Edit: It would appear that CT has ammended its rotary law and now conforms to the same law as Mass, New York and many other states. You would be correct here as well that cars already in the rotary have right away in the absence of any other direction. I am forced to admit that drivers should update themselves on the law from time to time.
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Old 04-24-08, 08:38 AM   #3
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Possibly one of the most confusing hard to adjust to laws in New England. I believe that Mass is the only state to grant right of way to cars in the rotary. Most others grant right of way to the car on the right. This leads to Mass drivers in CT sailing through rotaries thinking that they have the right of way when they don't.

Try to pick up on the front plate of the other car and then try to guess what they will do.......that is if they are going to do it right anyway.

I actually feel your pain about the rotary but it is just plain fubar.
Oooh, you learn something new every day. I guess I am lucky that I've never encountered a rotary outside MA because I would have made the same assumption.
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Old 04-24-08, 08:40 AM   #4
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Actually, we have a couple of rotarys in RVA (Richmond, Virginia), mostly around statues of dead confederate generals on Losers' Lane (aka Monument Avenue). Vehicles in the rotary have the right of way. I try to avoid the rotarys w3hen on a bike, because no one seems to drive them properly/legally. And if you're on a bike, they just ignore you.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:00 AM   #5
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More info about 'Modern Roundabouts' than you will ever want to see:

http://www.dot.state.az.us/ccpartner...outs/index.asp
(note there are at least five additional pages of information accessed by the menu bar on top)

Here are the bicycle specific tips for 'Modern Roundabouts':
"Because vehicles are traveling at low speeds -- comparable to those of a bicycle -- bicyclists can choose to negotiate a modern roundabout like cars.

YOU NEVER MERGE . . . ALL TRAFFIC APPROACHING A ROUNDABOUT MUST YIELD.
-Enter into a traffic lane before bike lane ends.
-Ride close to the lane’s middle to prevent vehicles from passing and cutting the bicyclist off.
-Enter the roundabout after yielding to vehicles already circulating.
-Circulate being careful to watch for vehicles waiting to enter.
-Exit the roundabout as a car does."


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Old 04-24-08, 09:07 AM   #6
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Wow, in France the things work quite well.... of course they have been around a while so no doubt the populace is used to them. But where I grew up in Texas, we had several, and they were never an issue there either. Beats the heck out of a 5 or 7 way intersection.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:12 AM   #7
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This is relevant to cycling because it got me thinking. If drivers here are this bad/discourteous to other drivers just imagine their thought process with cyclists.
You have observed what I have about motorist-motorist interaction.

I've further observed/experienced that Motorists are far more discourteous to each other than Motorists are to Cyclists. I get treated far better (which is not to say perfect) when cycling. Per mile or hour I get more tailgating, honking, cut-off, close passes, etc. when motoring vs. cycling.

Al
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Old 04-24-08, 09:20 AM   #8
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Here are the bicycle specific tips for 'Modern Roundabouts':
"Because vehicles are traveling at low speeds -- comparable to those of a bicycle -- bicyclists can choose to negotiate a modern roundabout like cars.



Al
My experience is cars travel so fast and recklessly into the roundabout that if an alternate route exists, I take it. Come to think of it, I don't even drive RVA's roundabouts when I'm in a car (rare for me to drive in that area, it makes no sense when you can ride), and I recall media coverage when they were installed indicating how confusing the rules of the roundabout were to motorists.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:25 AM   #9
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There are roundabouts (rotaries) on a few of my cycling routes here in the Seattle metro area. RCW states that vehicles in the roundabout have the right of way. Many roundabouts actually have Yield signs for approaching traffic, with a smaller sign underneath which says "traffic in roundabout has right of way."
The only time I've had an issue is at the roundabout where one entrance/exit is for the local golf course. There was a landscaping truck that just came flying out of there when I was already into the roundabout, and moving at a pretty good clip.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:35 AM   #10
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Old 04-24-08, 10:49 AM   #11
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Noisebeam I'm not sure I'd recommend using that strategy in some of these rotaries... in MA rotaries tend to be on fast moving roads and people are afraid of them so they bomb through them with blinders on.
Did you read the links I provided? You may be thinking of rotaries like Blackburn and Grant Circles on 128 which are not slow - I've driven thru both of them many dozens of times as well as circles on 1/1A/60 toward Boston from the north.

Those recommendation are not mine, they are the recommendation of Arizona Dept. of Transportation. I do happen to agree with them and find they work for the 'Modern Roundabouts' I cycle thru here.

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Old 04-24-08, 10:52 AM   #12
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"Because vehicles are traveling at low speeds -- comparable to those of a bicycle -- bicyclists can choose to negotiate a modern roundabout like cars.
I'm going to look for the link from Australia, I think (no rhyming intended) that showed that when roundabouts were introduced it reduced car-car accidents but increased car-bike collisions. They are NOT bicycle friendly.

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Old 04-24-08, 10:56 AM   #13
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Key detail/history on 'Modern Roundabout'
"“WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN "OLD" TRAFFIC CIRCLE AND A MODERN ROUNDABOUT?”
Modern roundabouts are quite different from those big, old, high speed traffic circles built years ago in Washington, DC and other eastern cities as well as Paris and London. Designed for high speed entry and multi-lane weaving, these traffic circles generally suffered high crash rates and operational problems causing many to fall out of favor in the USA during the 1950s and 1960s.

Though roundabouts had been used in Great Britain since the beginning of the 20th century, there were problems such as stalled traffic. The engineers decided to make a good idea even better. And by 1966, British engineers came up with the yield at entry rule. This ended the “locking” problem, improved capacity, and reduced crashes.

In the mid-70s, another variable was added -- the curved vehicle path or deflection. This helped decrease speed while “speeding” circulating time.

Many traffic circles require circulating vehicles to grant the right of way to entering vehicles.

Traffic Circles can be very large or very small. The sizes of traffic circles are determined by land availability and/or road distance needed for high speed weaving movements. They can operate at higher speeds and often require motorists to move from one lane to another.

The term Modern Roundabout became popular by 1984 because of improvements such as yielding to as opposed to merging with circulating traffic, deflection at entry, and low design speed.

In addition to slower speeds and curved entries, advantages of Modern Roundabouts also include the fact they are designed using rigorous standards based on specific turning volumes."
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Old 04-24-08, 11:01 AM   #14
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Old 04-24-08, 11:11 AM   #15
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if you don't mind me asking Baiskeli, are you originally from Massachusetts? Or... did you at least learn to drive in Massachusetts?...
Hi Tinydr, I'm originally from Kenya and learnt to drive there, though to be honest, apart from the roundabout issue, Nairobi drivers make MA drivers seem like choirboys.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:21 AM   #16
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Old 04-24-08, 11:34 AM   #17
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LOL, that's awesome... I have to admit I'm a champion seemingly-crazy-Massachusetts-driver, but when I moved down here I was blown away by the way some people drive. I can only imagine what it's like in Nairobi. If it's anything like Athens or rural Ireland, it must be a sight to see.
My wife has described to me what driving in Athens is, sounds like Nairobi
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Old 04-24-08, 12:32 PM   #18
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Some stats on the hazards of roundabouts for cyclists here: http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/res...eports/287.pdf see eg. p 15
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Old 04-24-08, 12:36 PM   #19
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Then some time ago, this one just amazed me. 4 way stop sign. Cars are coming to a stop in an orderly fashion and then going. I come to the stop sign (I was driving) and like a normal person come to a stop, look both ways and notice there is a car coming from the right (not yet at the stop sign). I start going and this driver, a woman with kids , one of them in a baby seat) looks right at me as I start rolling and proceeds to blow the stop sign. I slam on the brakes and miss her by inches.
Common enough when I'm on the bike - particularly at two-way stops where the motorist has the stop and I have the ROW.

In fact, this is why I love the combination of old Mavic hard anodized rims and Kool Stop brakes. Set just right, the combo makes such a squeal that it scares the living daylights out of any motorist attempting to run the sign. Cue panic brake application on the part of motorist. Works well with little yapper dogs and peds that aren't paying attention.

-Kurt
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Old 04-24-08, 12:49 PM   #20
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Old 04-24-08, 12:59 PM   #21
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for some reason, americans are just terrible with roundabouts. Maybe they aren't used to them, but come on, they really aren't that difficult.

They just built one in Kent, WA and I drive it a couple times a week. It has yield signs up at all the entrances to the roundabout, painted stop stripes, etc. Yet every time (yes every time) I get into the roundabout, some jackass ignores the yield and I have to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting them. Every freakin' time.

I guess it's like the monkies in 2001 when confronted with the monolith. The drivers just don't know wtf to do with a roundabout, or they magically forget how to read traffic signs.

Personally, I love roundabouts (if/when drivers use them correctly), especially on a bike. No waiting at lights is a wonderful thing.
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Old 04-24-08, 01:07 PM   #22
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Old 04-24-08, 01:17 PM   #23
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Yeah, I've driven in Boston a couple times. The roundabouts are.....interesting. You are ok as long as you are aggressive and predictable. You are expected to cut in and claim your place in line (or in the roundabout). If you cut someone off, it's a quick shake of the fist, some swear words out the window, and then it's business as usual and everyone forgets about the incident in about 10 seconds.

West coast driving is much more passive aggressive, and completely unpredictable, imo. Drivers will completely ignore a merge lane even if it backs up traffic for miles. Then god forbid if some evil driver "jumps" to the front by taking the merge lane to the front. Then instead of a honk of the horn (no one honks at all in seattle) and a shake of the fist, they will tailgate you for the next 10 miles. Weeks later that person is telling someone the story of the evil driver that cut them off.
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Old 04-24-08, 03:31 PM   #24
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For those of you that might end up driving or cycling in Britain, traffic entering the roundabout must yield to traffic on the circle. This usually works seamlessly, although there are occasionally those who would sail straight on to the roundabout and cut others off...
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Old 04-24-08, 03:40 PM   #25
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There seems to be a pattern there... Call me sexist or whatever, but I firmly believe women are worse drivers then men. I have been hit three times by a car all three times the driver was a woman. I also had more beeps, close passes, etc when the driver is a woman. Also a woman driver is less likely to yield when I try to merge left to (on a bike), to make a left turn.

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I'm posting this here because while I wasn't on a bike when it happened, I have had the same thing happen when I am on a bike.

So, there is a rotary on my way to work. The rules of the road state that people in the rotary have right of way. This has happened the last 3 times I've driven to work. I come to the rotary, look and wait until it is clear and then drive into the rotary. Invariably, some driver will come flying into the rotary from one of the roads without looking and cut off people in the rotary. Today morning was no exception, I was already in the rotary when some woman came flying into the rotary, on her cell phone and cut in front of me forcing me to slam on my brakes. Now, I know she saw me because she was looking directly at me. Essentially, this must have been her thought process "I know he has right of way but I am going to jump in front of him and force him to brake to avoid hitting me". Of course I slammed on my brakes while laying on my horn and the poor guy behind me had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting me. For a millionth of a second I was tempted not to step on the brakes, plough into her car and wait for the cops.

Last night, my wife was driving home (I wasn't there) when another woman on her left decided that she just had to get ahead of my wife before a rotary. Note, she was slightly behind my wife in the left lane. She revved up, swerved over, knocked the drivers side mirror of our car forward (thank God its one of those that swivels forwards and backwards) and then slammed on her brakes when my wife essentially refused to be forced off the road (this woman wanted to get into my wife's lane NOW!! and the only choice my wife had was stay in her lane or jump a curb) . This woman then rolls down her window and decides to curse out my wife even though she was at fault. My wife kept her cool, took pictures of the car and number plate before the woman sped off. The woman then got into the rotary in the left most lane and immediately cut off another driver to make an immediate right out of the rotary. I told my wife I would find out if there was a number to report aggressive drivers in Massachusetts.

Then some time ago, this one just amazed me. 4 way stop sign. Cars are coming to a stop in an orderly fashion and then going. I come to the stop sign (I was driving) and like a normal person come to a stop, look both ways and notice there is a car coming from the right (not yet at the stop sign). I start going and this driver, a woman with kids , one of them in a baby seat) looks right at me as I start rolling and proceeds to blow the stop sign. I slam on the brakes and miss her by inches.

O.K Done with rant.

This is relevant to cycling because it got me thinking. If drivers here are this bad/discourteous to other drivers just imagine their thought process with cyclists. I know that a number of challenges have to do with ill designed roads and just plain bad engineering but I know in MA the primary problem is driver attitude. If someone is willing to play 'chicken' with another 3000+ pound car when they have their children in the car what would make them not decide to pull the same crap with a 100-200 pound cyclist?
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