Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 32
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Windsor, CO
    Posts
    314
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    You too can be injured/killed (rural riders read)

    Had a VERY close call this morning. Rural highway, 55mph speed limit, three way intersection (one of just a few in several miles), still dark. I'm riding eastbound on the highway, on fairly wide shoulder. Not many cars going eastbound as is typical. Just purchased a new 135 lumen blowtorch of a headlamp and feeling fairly noticeable. I combine that with a Dual Cross with around that much light out the front and one of those cheap flashing .5 watt led's for added visibility (the flash is noticeable at various angles). I also have three different led blinkies at various levels in back, a reflective vest, those green reflective armbands, and several strategically placed reflective stickers on the bike. People have commented many times on how lit up I am. The problem is......people still have to LOOK.

    I rode up to the intersection.....saw someone driving up to the stop sign on the perpendicular street and instinctively slowed. I gave him two quick flashes with the headlamp and he stopped. Seeing there were many cars coming westbound on the highway (they were at the stop sign with vehicle facing north), I felt as if he was going to wait for them EVEN if hadn't seen me (though the darkness makes it difficult to tell whether he had), so I cautiously kept going even though it always makes me nervous at that hour. All of a sudden the guy guns his SUV from the intersection and is heading right for me. I'm not sure how I had enough time to stop, then back up just before he buzzed just a couple of feet from my front tire. If I hadn't backed up, he would have hit me without a doubt. And I thought, had I tried to go forward he would have hit me too. And had I not been keeping my eye on him the entire time (instead of assuming the right of way and his visual accounting of my bike) I think he would have hit me. The scariest thing was how fast he gunned it.....because he was trying to get into a SMALL gap between two cars in the long line of cars he would otherwise have to wait for. His tires were peeling the entire time and I know I had just a fraction of time to react.

    Optimistically, I certainly thought it was because he DIDN'T see me (which is bad enough). Cynically, I wondered if he saw me all along and perhaps that was his way of "buzzing" me.....or that he did not like being flashed with the headlamp. I'll never know for sure because he didn't stop (though I think he did see me as he went past). I think some of it could have been that he was so predisposed to NOT seeing any vehicles coming from that direction that he NEVER looks more than just a quick glance. Perhaps he did not notice me because I was a bike, regardless of my vivid illumination.

    The point here is not the incident itself. I know there are numerous accounts of that same scenario all the time, most esp. in urban setting where there are more vehicles and more intersections. No, the relevance is in how it relates to the sometimes cavalier attitude I pick up on from riders who are in rural areas and don't feel safety is as important. In this case it was almost more relevant because of the infrequency. Perhaps I could have done something different in that situation. Stopped and waited. But then you would always think you would have to stop at every intersection. At least I was wary enough to have time to react because I thought it COULD have happened.

    The other point is you can NEVER be lit up enough. I have multiple lights shining in many directions, but it still wasn't enough (at least if he did look my direction). If I did look my direction and didn't notice me it could have been because he was looking much further down the highway for CARS. I get that. But that's the point. Maybe if I had been even more lit up he might have noticed me.....you never know. But beyond that it's hard to reconcile. I didn't legally do anything wrong, but maybe practically I should have just stopped and waited because of the time of day and the rural setting??? But, then do you do that every time at every intersection every morning?

    I think I might....at least for awhile. Comments, criticism welcome.

  2. #2
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    AZ
    My Bikes
    Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
    Posts
    13,974
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ccd rider View Post
    I gave him two quick flashes with the headlamp .
    In some places this is how one tells another driver to proceed.

    This for example in Germany (but I've heard the same application in the US)
    http://www.training-for-germany.de/tips99/tip18.htm
    Last edited by noisebeam; 03-31-09 at 02:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Conservative Hippie
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Wakulla Co. FL
    Posts
    4,271
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ccd rider View Post
    I gave him two quick flashes with the headlamp...
    This is what I do when I want a motorist who is coming off a side street and waiting at a stop sign to proceed ahead of me, before I reach the intersection. It seems to be an intuitive signal, in that at least nine times out of ten it works. If I want them to wait, and there are no vehicles approaching from my 6 that I can use for a blocker, I shift to the left in the lane.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Windsor, CO
    Posts
    314
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow, I have never heard that. I don't think I would want to count on any universal understanding of that code. My intent is always to let somebody know I am there. They are still obligated to stop when I have a through way. I always flash in some sort of random sequence so as not to make it look anything like a signal to act (other than to stop!).....so when I stated I flash two times, sometimes it may be three. Or it may have several seconds between each flash.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  5. #5
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    AZ
    My Bikes
    Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
    Posts
    13,974
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It is not a universal understanding or universal code (two, three or random flashes is all the same) That is the problem - any time one deviates from standard codified signaling one increases the chance of mis-communication.

    Another related factor is if you appear to be slowing - if you slow too much and especially while flashing lights it may be hard to interpret that as anything other than telling the other guy to go ahead of you. Moving left as CR suggested helps counter act this.

    Of course this does not mean that flashing (and/or slowing) was the problem in this case, but only pointed out as something to consider.

    Al

  6. #6
    Conservative Hippie
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Wakulla Co. FL
    Posts
    4,271
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    It is not a universal understanding or universal code (two, three or random flashes is all the same)...
    What Al says is true. This signal is not universally understood and is not fail-safe. Which is why I don't flash lights at all if I want the motorist to wait. Instead I take a road position that makes the position of the lights appear to be that of a motor vehicle. Which a motorist will expect to be moving faster than I am and they wait. Usually. Your mileage may vary.

    But even if they do decide to pull out in front of me, if I'm to the left in the lane I have the room to dodge right and go behind them. I've used this escape route before.

  7. #7
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bellevue, WA
    Posts
    1,595
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    i shine my light at drivers once for 3-5 seconds as i approach the intersection, and typically also put my whistle in my mouth. If they start going, I blow (at different strengths depending on the severity of the situation) and look back at them.

    My light is also more like 180lumens than 135, so its probably harder to miss though.

  8. #8
    Refrigerator Raider Hater fordmanvt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Barre, VT
    My Bikes
    2008 Sequoia
    Posts
    810
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Flashing the headlights most commonly a way of telling the other driver to proceed.

  9. #9
    Genius FlatMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    My Bikes
    Specilized Sirrus
    Posts
    324
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I agree with taking the lane. The instant I see a car comming up to a stop sign where I have no sign. I stop pedaling. If they go, pedal again. If they wait, i'll usually try to keep my speed stopable before the intersection. I don't commute much at night though.

    Also, in daylight in this scenerio, I find myself watching the driver and not the vehicle. of course, you need to know how far the hood is into the intersection, but I usually watch the driver.
    Ride or Die

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    san diego
    My Bikes
    custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
    Posts
    23,052
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Doesn't have to be a rural intersection for this to happen. Here in good old SoCal, we have tons of 55MPH multi laned arterial roads... and even though the intersections are light controlled, the right on red issue exists... and again, motorists take the least amount of time to evaluate that "a bus ain't a'comin'"

    If you don't resemble something that they see as a threat... motorists will pull out right into you.

  11. #11
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
    Posts
    13,858
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by fordmanvt View Post
    Flashing the headlights most commonly a way of telling the other driver to proceed.
    That's how I'd take it, too.

    This situation, though, seemed like a big box of fail from everyone there. Lots of cars coming the other way means that the SUV driver is going to be giving them the most attention. He may not have even looked in your direction at all after a cursory "Is anyone coming from a couple hundred yards the other way?" glance.

    What the SUV driver could have thought (I'm making a guess about which way he was coming) --

    "Okay, there's a bunch of cars coming from my right. Might be a gap way down there.. Okay, this bike guy just flashed me, so he's waiting for me -- I should try going pretty soon. Keep watching... OK, I hope I can make that gap!" VROOmmmm

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    san diego
    My Bikes
    custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
    Posts
    23,052
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So substitute the "couple flashes of light" with a couple blasts from an Airzounds. Bet the driver looks your way then.

  13. #13
    Randomhead
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,856
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The one aspect no one has mentioned is that some people just assume they can outrun you because you are on a bike.

  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    A land that time forgot
    My Bikes
    the ever shifting stable loaded with comfortable road bikes and city and winter bikes
    Posts
    18,026
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ccd rider
    If I hadn't backed up
    I'm a bit mystified at this bicycling operation.

    High powered LED headlamps bring greater conspicuity to riders than solid headlamps of similar intensity. suggest you look at a trinewt, a Litmo seca 400 or 700, or other super high powered LEDs and run these on flash mode 24/7 summer or winter to increase a cyclists' noticability on roads of all types.

    glad you weren't clipped or worse but i'm still confused how you stopped and 'backed up' a bike during a panic stop. are you riding fixed?
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  15. #15
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If there were more bike lanes we would not have these problems.
    "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

  16. #16
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    A land that time forgot
    My Bikes
    the ever shifting stable loaded with comfortable road bikes and city and winter bikes
    Posts
    18,026
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    simpler to just ban cars in rural areas- problem solved!
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  17. #17
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    simpler to just ban cars in rural areas- problem solved!
    That too...but we should still have bike lanes. Bike lanes are our friend.
    "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

  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    AZ
    My Bikes
    Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
    Posts
    13,974
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    But if we ban cars, how can we build special bike facilities, like bike boxes, door zone cycle paths, blue lanes, etc. to go with those bike lanes?

  19. #19
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    But if we ban cars, how can we build special bike facilities, like bike boxes, door zone cycle paths, blue lanes, etc. to go with those bike lanes?
    Easy, built it and we will come. Roads are dangerous...even without cars. I want bike lanes.
    "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

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Windsor, CO
    Posts
    314
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    I'm a bit mystified at this bicycling operation.

    glad you weren't clipped or worse but i'm still confused how you stopped and 'backed up' a bike during a panic stop. are you riding fixed?
    I stopped and immediately put my feet down to the pavement.....then backed up. I only had enough time to do a step or two, but that was just enough to miss his vehicle by a foot or two (I'm not sure exactly how far it was, but I recall I could have reached over and touched his vehicle as he roared by). I probably should have just ditched the bike and concerned myself with self preservation first, but I was in straddle mode at that point and it may have taken more time to elevate myself over the seat and back beyond the bike. It was all very reactive....I didn't have enough time to calculate anything.

    I think part of why I had just enough time to stop and back up was that I was already going slowly. Whenever I see a car coming to an intersection I always slow down and TRY to determine whether they have seen me or not before getting back to original speed.

    Other points of clarification:

    - Both of my headlights (headlamp and handlebar mount) are LED. They are very white (no blueish cast) and very noticeable (if you look their way). They were both on high, so collectively I had 250+ lumens out the front. Also, with the headlamp having the ability to turn at any angle......and the Dual Cross inherently having some side spill, I think I am fairly discernible from some of the 45 degreeish angles associated with approaching intersections. Again, that is only if as a driver you are doing more than just a cursory glance in one direction. I think this situation has made me that much MORE aware of how long you should look in both directions before proceeding onto any street at an intersection. You never know what might be on the road.....regardless of the hour.

    - The vehicle was turning left. So that takes out (at least the accountability for) looking (by him) only one way for traffic before proceeding. Ironically, had he been turning right he may have seen me....but it's hard to say. This was one of the arguments I used (with a friend of mine who doesn't ride, but thinks it should be okay to ride this way) against people riding on the left side of the road ....somebody turning right is more than likely only looking the opposite direction before proceeding. It would be incumbent upon you as a rider to stop every time at an intersection in that case.

    - I could not see the person's head or eyes very well from inside his SUV. It was still pretty dark....and beyond the couple of times I shined the headlamp towards his vehicle there was not sufficient ambient light to detect whether or not he even looked my way. It was not a situation where I could simply shine my headlamp on his face the entire time I rode by.....esp. with no other modes but HIGH. I only saw that it was a man at the last second when he went by and my headlamp shined on him (and I turned my head to keep the light on him as he continued on), but even that happened so fast that I'm not sure where his eyes were at that point. I still am not sure whether he saw me at ANY point, but one would think at some stage he HAD to turn his eyes my direction....that was the direction he was driving. If he did see me at the last second I probably scared the crap out of him TOO.
    Last edited by ccd rider; 04-01-09 at 01:44 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Windsor, CO
    Posts
    314
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Also, I think taking the lane in this case may or may not have provided enough time to "get by" forward or stop with enough time to not have to back up. As I stated he really tromped on the accelerator.

    Sometimes, what I have done (and hindsight being as it is) is turned right at the intersection then turned around and approached the car from the rear (and wait for them to turn). Then turn right again and proceed on your original road. But that's not practical if there are other cars (nor legal) in the area (in this case there wouldn't have been, so legalities aside that method would have been effective). Not sure why I didn't.

  22. #22
    Conservative Hippie
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Wakulla Co. FL
    Posts
    4,271
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Driving the car to a dentist appointment this afternoon. There was a Silverado ahead of me and to my left in the suicide lane attempting to merge into the right lane. Knowing that stretch of road, I knew she was just about out of runway. I flashed my high-beams at her and she seamlessly dropped in ahead of me. Then I remembered this thread.

  23. #23
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
    Driving the car to a dentist appointment this afternoon. There was a Silverado ahead of me and to my left in the suicide lane attempting to merge into the right lane. Knowing that stretch of road, I knew she was just about out of runway. I flashed my high-beams at her and she seamlessly dropped in ahead of me. Then I remembered this thread.
    I'm glad you're ok. Driving scares me almost as much as riding.
    "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

  24. #24
    Conservative Hippie
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Wakulla Co. FL
    Posts
    4,271
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    I'm glad you're ok. Driving scares me almost as much as riding.
    I didn't see anything scary about it, I let her in because, like I said, I knew that lane was ending soon so she was about out of runway, and just because I'm a nice guy.

    Plus I was in a good mood because I was going to the dentist. That sounds odd, but you wouldn't think so if you saw his assistant who does most of my work. Smokin' HAWT.

    And no. My wife doesn't read this forum.

  25. #25
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    My Bikes
    Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
    Posts
    24,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
    I didn't see anything scary about it, I let her in because, like I said, I knew that lane was ending soon so she was about out of runway, and just because I'm a nice guy.

    Plus I was in a good mood because I was going to the dentist. That sounds odd, but you wouldn't think so if you saw his assistant who does most of my work. Smokin' HAWT.

    And no. My wife doesn't read this forum.
    You're big and brave. Roads scare me...but you knew that.
    "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

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •