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Old 10-13-04, 01:46 PM   #1
pletcgm
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Close Call

I was almost in a head on collision last week. I was riding my bike on the shoulder of the road, which is, I'm guessing, 4-5 feet wide, when two cars had a head on collision. This stupid a$$, in an SUV, wanted to pass the car in front of him on a double-yellow line; it's a two lane road. He's trying to pass her and she speeds up. The car behind him also speeds up and he can't get back over. I was in the shoulder. He collided with a pickup truck. There were moderate injuries, but everyone had their seatbelts on. I was within 5 feet of the pickup hitting me during the collision. It scared that abosulte ***** out of me.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:26 PM   #2
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I am surprise that cars would try passing on a road that is only 4-5 ft wide.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
I am surprise that cars would try passing on a road that is only 4-5 ft wide.
The shoulder is 4-5 feet wide, not the car lanes. The car lanes are normal width
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Old 10-13-04, 04:39 PM   #4
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Glad to hear that you made it thru safe!

It is indeed a scary thing to have first row seats to brainlessness/inconsideration/poor planning. That's a lot of heavy metal hurtling around at a damn good speed.


Had one a few days ago...

Oncoming car waiting at intersection, didn't want to wait for opposing traffic (and me) to pass thru the intersection before making her left turn.

So, she hits the gas and cuts them off...without even noticing me. Came within 4 inches or so of clipping my front wheel, her picking up speed as she cut me off, me clamping down on the brakes as much as I could without losing control. Luckily I came through unscathed as she sped off towards the Holland Tunnel.

In a period of 1-2 seconds (or not even? time sloooowed down) inwardly/outwardly I went kinda like this:

>danger! danger!
>brace for impact
>resignation
>relief
>burning sensation all over body

...and like that, it was all over. Last time something like this happened to me I did get hit, and the impact spun me around 2 or 3 times before I hit the ground. The fear wasn't as bad this time. And I did not need coffee to get me going for the rest of that day...
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Old 10-13-04, 07:11 PM   #5
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The San Diego cycling community still mourns the death of Hans Vichary, who was hit head-on by a truck which was passing another vehicle on a two-lane road (Highway 78 near Ramona). The initial newspaper report (mis?)quoted a California Highway Patrolman as saying that the driver "did nothing wrong," but the San Diego Bicycle Coalition and others were able to convince the CHP to cite the driver for unsafe overtaking/passing. I have not been able to find out what penalty this entailed.
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Old 10-13-04, 09:01 PM   #6
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It happens. Just keep your eyes open in the distance, you should be able to see it and take the appropriate evasive action. Heck, around here they drive down the wrong side of the road even when they're not overtaking.
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Old 10-14-04, 08:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pletcgm
I was almost in a head on collision last week. I was riding my bike on the shoulder of the road, which is, I'm guessing, 4-5 feet wide, when two cars had a head on collision. This stupid a$$, in an SUV, wanted to pass the car in front of him on a double-yellow line; it's a two lane road. He's trying to pass her and she speeds up. The car behind him also speeds up and he can't get back over.
Seems to me, everybody's wrong in this one.

The SUV operator shouldn't have passed in a no-passing zone. However, the basic rule on being passed is this: if you are being overtaken you cannot speed up or move in front of the passing vehicle until the pass is completed. This rule is intended to avoid just such head-ons as you witnessed.

Tom Revay
Dedham, Massachusetts
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Old 10-14-04, 06:59 PM   #8
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I nearly hit a guy today. Part of my commute home (the one way that I take) is in a bus lane which is going the opposite of four lanes of traffic. People turning left from their left-most lane have to cross the bus lane to turn.

Today, a guy in a Mercedes looked right at me and turned anyway. If I hadn't been paying such close attention, I would've hit him. As it was, I braked as hard as I could, throwing my weight back, and swerved a little to avoid him. The only thing that made me feel a little bit better was the incredibly guilty look on his face as I was hurtling toward him.
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Old 10-14-04, 07:26 PM   #9
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I had a pretty scary near accident last year. At an intersection I was going north and about to turn west (left) onto the bike path; just as I was about to do that, this car was barreling down right at me, going south. ANd he was going very fast. I realized I was not going to get out of the way in time. I thought, I'm going to go right through the windshield. However, the guy had great reflexes and good brakes- he screeched to a halt and all he did was just bump my front wheel. He at least got out of his car and asked if I was okay. I was, and he'd bumped the wheel so lightly, there was no damage or anything. But really, he should not have been going so fast through that intersection, which crosses a bike path. He was going WAY too fast. If he had been some old geezer with bad reflexes, I would for sure have been hit. As it was i was pretty shaky the rest of the way home.

There are some really bad intersections where the bike path intersects with roads, and I have had a few close calls. They don't even have crossing lights, just stop signs and at rush hour it's really hairy.
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Old 10-15-04, 10:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilymildew
Today, a guy in a Mercedes looked right at me and turned anyway. If I hadn't been paying such close attention, I would've hit him. As it was, I braked as hard as I could, throwing my weight back, and swerved a little to avoid him. The only thing that made me feel a little bit better was the incredibly guilty look on his face as I was hurtling toward him.
The problem isn't that he saw you and turned anyway. He looked in your direction, and the filters in his brain saw nothing hazardous to him, and then he decided to make the turn. He had a guilty look, and he probably felt bad for not seeing you. The human brain is amazing at classifying things visually as being threats or not. This goes back to the whole predator/prey mentality of the lower brain.

Try not to get too aggravated; he probably didn't consciously see you, and he felt bad for it.

Cheers
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Old 10-17-04, 01:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilymildew
Today, a guy in a Mercedes looked right at me and turned anyway. If I hadn't been paying such close attention, I would've hit him. As it was, I braked as hard as I could, throwing my weight back, and swerved a little to avoid him. The only thing that made me feel a little bit better was the incredibly guilty look on his face as I was hurtling toward him.
I've said it before. Relying on eye-contact with motorists will get you killed. Most drivers take that to mean "that biker has seen me, so he's gonna get out of my way". Hence, if you intend to rely on eye contact, wear dark sunglasses so they don't have the thought that you've seen them. I find it easier to just watch their vehicle and look for signs of what they are going to do, and whether they can actually do it.
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