I was riding home on the Burke Gilman Trail the other day, and Trouble almost caught up with me. I'm wondering whether I was partly in the wrong in my understanding of traffic law in this instance, and if not, how other cyclists would have handled the situation?
There are a few areas in Fremont where the trail crosses mostly unused one-way streets. Many of these roads have stop signs before they cross the trail, which is the same intersection as when they cross the main road - it's a weird setup. The trail does not have a stop sign here, but a mile up there are stop signs ( and lights ) for the trail. So, this leads me to expect that trail users have the right of way.
As I was crossing one of these roads ( map ), a driver in an SUV was at the stop sign, waiting for a break in the auto traffic to join the main road. He saw me coming down the trail on his left, at about 15+ mph, from a good distance. So the guy looked right, and didn't look back. He pulled out into the main road, through my intersection, when I was about 75 feet away.
I had a feeling he might cut me off like this, based on his obstinate refusal to look at me, like a protest of ignorance. This is pretty upsetting; if I were in a car, he'd have waited, because I could have done damage to his property, but if the only risk is hospitalizing a fellow human, well, other peoples' lives aren't worth your 15 seconds. I was able to brake and turn, and avoid a crash.
Other than carrying a paintball gun to warn other cyclists of idiots at the wheel, how would you handle a situation like this? Or was I wrong in expecting the driver to yield in this case? I mean, you always have to be prepared for surprises, but I did have the right of way, yes?