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Old 04-22-09, 12:11 AM   #1
JonnyHK 
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Am I invisible? Unbelievable!

On my morning ride, I often go up to the top of The Peak in Hong Kong. Lovely view when the fog or smog allows.

There is one intersection that just drives me nuts because I magically become invisible just before it! Guildford Road stops at Peak Road and has a stop sign. It is a deadend that leads to a few apartment buildings and the German-Swiss School.

I'm riding up hill at between 10-15km/h, the road is straight for 200m before the intersection and for about the same afterwards. No trees or anything to interupt the line of sight. Plenty of light, eventhough it is about 6.30am (it's spring here, lights only useful until 6.15 or so). So I'm almost at the intersection and there is a cab waiting to do a right hand turn into Peak Road to head downhill - driving on left, UK style - so he is going to be right beside me as I pass and wants to head away from my direction.

So I see this cab. I look at his face. He looks right at me. I am getting so close that I'm infact starting to pass the in-bound lane for this side road. I'm about 2/3 of a lane width from him...

AND HE JUST PULLS RIGHT OUT.

I shout "for F**k's sake" pretty loudly, brake, and put my foot down. The front wheel of my bike is level with his front wheel and he has also stopped. He gives a sheepish smile, says sorry (I can lip read that much!) and a bit of a feeble wave. I guess he was looking for cars and buses, not bikes. I'm invisible.

If I had been going 5km faster, I'd have hit him gently with my wheel. 10km faster and I'd have been a swearing and pounding 94kg hood ornament.

Unbelieveable!

Closest call I've had here so far. I've had 4-5 cars/people movers pull out and do the turn infront of me. I've tried to reach out with my right hand and slap the back corner of their car as they pass, but have missed by inches!

Luckly, but the time I start my descent there is a traffic cop at this intersection (7am).

/rant
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Old 04-22-09, 10:05 AM   #2
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Honestly?

It blows my mind that people bike anywhere around Central, much less up Peak Road.

I was vaguely scared walking up some of those streets. The combination of traffic, gradient, narrowness, everything...

Much respect.
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Old 04-22-09, 02:08 PM   #3
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You should always assume you're invisible. No exceptions. No reason to get angry if a driver doesn't see you - it's your job to assume they can't.
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Old 04-22-09, 02:41 PM   #4
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You should always assume you're invisible. No exceptions. No reason to get angry if a driver doesn't see you - it's your job to assume they can't.
Bullcrap. You have every right to get mad when someones driving nearly kills you.

I probably would have made noise in that case so that he would have snapped out of his stupor but there is very little one can do in that situation, with a motor-vehicle trying to make a cross lane turn in front of you.
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Old 04-22-09, 06:30 PM   #5
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Bullcrap. You have every right to get mad when someones driving nearly kills you.

I probably would have made noise in that case so that he would have snapped out of his stupor but there is very little one can do in that situation, with a motor-vehicle trying to make a cross lane turn in front of you.
OK, you can get angry if you want but that doesn't do any good. Riding as if you are invisible does.
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Old 04-22-09, 06:47 PM   #6
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To OP, what kind of bike are you riding? All my bikes are used craigslist finds and almost all of them came with malfunctioning klingon Cloaking devices. Nobody at the LBS seems to be certified in Klingon technology so I have to ride careful since it always kicks in at the least opportune moment.

Surprisingly my brand new 16" Flying Pigeon folder works perfectly and everybody notices it.
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Old 04-22-09, 06:50 PM   #7
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Get a P7 for the front and run it whenever you ride. Since they ship from HK, it shouldn't take long.
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Old 04-22-09, 08:31 PM   #8
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I'm not sure if there is much more I can do. I do ride as if I am invisible and like everyone is trying to kill me (hey, it's Hong Kong and they drive like complete chumps).

If you are 5m (15ft) from someone and directly in their line of sight (and you can look right at their face) you would think they had seen you.

For this guy, I don't think it would have mattered what lights or loud jersey combo I had - he just wasn't focusing on me.

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Old 04-22-09, 08:44 PM   #9
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Am I invisible?

If you're riding a bicycle ... yes. Ride with caution and courtesy as though you cannot be seen.
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Old 04-22-09, 09:04 PM   #10
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Casper the ghost! Only those friendly to you can see you... otherwise you are just plain invisible.
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Old 04-22-09, 09:11 PM   #11
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Am I invisible?

If you're riding a bicycle ... yes. Ride with caution and courtesy as though you cannot be seen.

There does come a point when even the experienced cyclist is still amazed by how invisible we are!

Maybe I need to get a Clown outfit...
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Old 04-23-09, 12:15 AM   #12
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The only vehicles who see cyclists are other cyclists.
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Old 04-23-09, 12:18 AM   #13
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There does come a point when even the experienced cyclist is still amazed by how invisible we are!

Maybe I need to get a Clown outfit...
Even in the clown suit you'd still have the cloaking device activated. You've got to ride as predictably as possible, as out of the way of the vehicles as possible, and with eyes in the back of your head.
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Old 04-23-09, 04:59 AM   #14
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Even in the clown suit you'd still have the cloaking device activated. You've got to ride as predictably as possible, as out of the way of the vehicles as possible, and with eyes in the back of your head.
Maybe the reason they can't see you is because you're trying too hard to stay out of their way?
Start taking the lane and riding agressively, they might start noticing you as traffic instead of background noise?
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Old 04-23-09, 08:32 AM   #15
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Maybe the reason they can't see you is because you're trying too hard to stay out of their way?
Start taking the lane and riding agressively, they might start noticing you as traffic instead of background noise?
I take that lane. I read the road. I signal. I look around. I pull outta the way when I can when climbing these narrow roads. I'm waaaay ahead of the locally trained drivers in road manners, road craft and road skills (having a heavy vehicle licence helps and have cycled ever since I was a kid).

I'm directly in front of this guy. I mean like 15ft - its like I'm the only person standing in a freaking empty room with him and the lights ARE ON. Nothing in the way. No excuses. He's looking right down the road out his side window - right AT me.

And the f-wit is focusing THROUGH me.

What more can you do, wave?

Going up that road again tomorrow AM. Will wear my brightest jersey. Wish me luck.
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Old 04-23-09, 01:38 PM   #16
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I take that lane. I read the road. I signal. I look around. I pull outta the way when I can when climbing these narrow roads. I'm waaaay ahead of the locally trained drivers in road manners, road craft and road skills (having a heavy vehicle licence helps and have cycled ever since I was a kid).

I'm directly in front of this guy. I mean like 15ft - its like I'm the only person standing in a freaking empty room with him and the lights ARE ON. Nothing in the way. No excuses. He's looking right down the road out his side window - right AT me.

And the f-wit is focusing THROUGH me.

What more can you do, wave?

Going up that road again tomorrow AM. Will wear my brightest jersey. Wish me luck.
Airzound!!!

Once you've gone the route of bright clothing, lights, lane position... the next thing in your arsonal is SOUND.

If that doesn't work, I'm going with granade launcher.... a'la Spike Bike.
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Old 04-24-09, 10:24 AM   #17
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I hate to break it to you, but you WEREN'T invisible. The jam most definitely saw you, his real mistake was thinking bicycle=slow, and therefore thinking he could beat you to the intersection. Only after pulling out and noticing you were suddenly much closer than expected did he realize his error, thus the brakes and wave. Unfortunately this happens much to often, and there is really nothing you can do to avoid this.
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Old 04-24-09, 09:10 PM   #18
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funny so must be cautions
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Old 04-25-09, 08:00 AM   #19
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I hate to break it to you, but you WEREN'T invisible. The jam most definitely saw you, his real mistake was thinking bicycle=slow, and therefore thinking he could beat you to the intersection. Only after pulling out and noticing you were suddenly much closer than expected did he realize his error, thus the brakes and wave. Unfortunately this happens much to often, and there is really nothing you can do to avoid this.
While some of the other chumps who have pulled out on me at this intersection have been simply trying to beat me across (or mis-reading my speed), I genuinely think that this guy just didn't see me or compute that I was there.
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Old 04-26-09, 03:12 PM   #20
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had something similar a few weeks ago, was wearing a high vis vest just before dusk, was almost level with the passanger door when driver decided to pull in to undertake another car taking a turn ahead, forcing me to quickly leave the road on to a thankfully conveinently placed drive way, unlike the opening poster, our encounter did not end nicely when the driver used some very unchoice words which i would not dare print hear when i asked him to watch where he was going
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Old 04-26-09, 06:57 PM   #21
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JonnyHK, was the sun at your back?

(it's the only thing I can think of, besides whether or not you were running a headlight at the time)
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Old 04-26-09, 08:44 PM   #22
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JonnyHK, was the sun at your back?

(it's the only thing I can think of, besides whether or not you were running a headlight at the time)
No. Well, who knows? The haze in Hong Kong is pretty legendary!

It is east facing, but there are hills in the way and I didn't recall any defined shadows. We tend to get a bright and uniform diffused light.
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Old 04-27-09, 11:32 AM   #23
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One more time.

Yes, you are invisible. Even if you are driving a fire truck, lights, siren and air horn going you are invisible to someone. Unless you enjoy hysterics, just learn to live with it.
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Old 04-27-09, 12:32 PM   #24
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One more time.

Yes, you are invisible. Even if you are driving a fire truck, lights, siren and air horn going you are invisible to someone. Unless you enjoy hysterics, just learn to live with it.
Indeed. "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."
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Old 04-27-09, 07:09 PM   #25
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Was ok at that intersection today, but got a bit friendly at a roundabout closer to home.

I'm in the roundabout, have right of way. Guy looks at me, waves, and pulls right out on me. Cheeky fu**er. Deliberate. What was I going to do? Wave instead of planting both hands on the brakes and locking the rear?

So, 50 metres past this round about is a pedestrian crossing. Light goes red and Guy has to stop. I pull up alongside communicate with him using a mixture of English, Cantonese and some internationally recognised symbols.

Light goes green, bike-boy leads and then takes the lane. Gentle braking down the hill to be moving smoothly, but slightly on the annoying side of slow for the car.

I must get more sleep - becoming Mr Grumpy Pants.
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