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Old 05-08-13, 08:15 AM   #1
bemoore
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Pointing

I recently came across an entry on an engineering blog (http://www.designnews.com/author.asp...&doc_id=262955) titled "How Safe Is Safe Enough?" It's not about bicycle safety, but there IS an interesting comment from a user named Bunter:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunter
I see a corollary from the other side of risk. I am a long time bicyclist and motorcyclist but I also drive a van. Drivers are far more likely to pull out in front of you when your vehicle presents little risk to them. The typical claim is they "did not see the bike".

I used to commute by bike and I did an experiment. One gets pretty good at spotting the cars that are likely to pull out (you can be going 30 mph in a 30 zone and they will ignore your right of way) and I started pointing, arm extended, toward the encroaching vehicle. Essentially comunicating "I see you". They ALWAYS stopped. They ALWAYS saw me. Every single time. Drivers rarely hit bikes and motorcycles because they didn't see them. The bikes just don't threaten their lives so they do what they think they can get away with.

They were simply willing to risk my life for their convenience. It was actually rather funny to see them hit the brakes, slam the suspension to the bump stops and turn their heads and pretend nothing was going on.
Has anyone tried pointing like this? And did it work? If this works everywhere, and not just in some locale with some unique traffic dynamics, this could be better than all the lights, horns, and reflectors in the world.
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Old 05-08-13, 08:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by bemoore View Post
Has anyone tried pointing like this? And did it work? If this works everywhere, and not just in some locale with some unique traffic dynamics, this could be better than all the lights, horns, and reflectors in the world.
The last thing I want to be doing, while working peak urban traffic, is to have one of my hands off the handle bar, and away from the brake lever.
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Old 05-08-13, 08:48 AM   #3
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Has anyone tried pointing like this? And did it work?
A head-mount halogen works wonders in this regard.
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Old 05-08-13, 09:01 AM   #4
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A head-mount halogen works wonders in this regard.
I ride with a bright handlebar-mounted flashing light (which I find cuts down a lot on people pulling out in front of me), but I can see the advantage of a helmet mounted one for this purpose.
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Old 05-08-13, 09:16 AM   #5
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Pointing usually works. As someone already said, sometimes hands need to stay on the bars.

I'm gonna have to think about the helmet-mounted strobe. I'm already a totally-Fred oldster, so there's no image problem. And it makes sense that it would work, too.
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Old 05-08-13, 09:50 AM   #6
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I sometimes point in my car at drivers that look like they might pull out in front of me.

"I didn't see him" really means "I thought I could make it".
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Old 05-08-13, 10:10 AM   #7
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I do it regularly, and it works. I find a focused glare with a head snap and protruding jaw works almost as well when I can't use an arm. When I can't see the driver due to reflections or bad lighting, I direct my communication to where they are sitting....
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Old 05-08-13, 10:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bemoore View Post
Has anyone tried pointing like this? And did it work? If this works everywhere, and not just in some locale with some unique traffic dynamics, this could be better than all the lights, horns, and reflectors in the world.
Yes, and it appears to work somewhat (it might not always work) for me.

Of course, the reasons Bunter thinks why it works might not be correct.
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Old 05-08-13, 01:49 PM   #9
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Yes, it does work most of the time, occasionally it will just p*ss them off and make them even more troublesome. I mainly use it for those that look like they are intending to "Left T-Cross" me (taking a left across my path refusing to yield when taking that left as required by the rules of the road when they don't have a protected left turn green arrow but are doing a conventional left where they are suppose to yield to straight through traffic) and those trying to pull a "Right Entry Mow Down" when take a right on red when I'm going straight through on the green or when I've got a protected green arrow left turn and there is only one lane to go into and they think they can pull a right on red and violate the right of way of the protected green arrow left turn traffic. Occasionally also use it on "Nose Outs" who have nosed out far enough that they are blocking the shoulder edge when I'm riding on the shoulder of a high speed highway that has a good shoulder edge suitable for riding on and the speed of traffic in the main lanes is 45+ mph making the shoulder edge the appropriate place to ride out of respect for other road users due to the high speed differential. I also use it occasionally when I'm driving a car as well (I'm car light not car free).

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Old 05-08-13, 01:52 PM   #10
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I've not tried the pointing technique, but I try and make eye-contact and give a nod to drivers as they approach on cross streets. It seems to help.
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Old 05-08-13, 01:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
. . . I try and make eye-contact and give a nod to drivers as they approach on cross streets. It seems to help.
At least in my area I have found that to lead to the exact opposite. Up here they take a nod as "go ahead and go" and that is what they do so I only give a nod at a 4-way stop where I know they got to the intersection first and they have right of way and I have to wait for them. Giving a nod when they have a stop sign or a red light and I've got the green or the through street without a stop sign results in them violating my right of way, sometimes at point blank range resulting in either a collision or me having to lay the bike down to avoid getting run over. They take a nod as permission up here, might work in your area but I would caution to use of the nod since I would be surprised if the nod isn't taken as permission to go a lot of other places as well besides just my local area.
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Old 05-08-13, 02:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
At least in my area I have found that to lead to the exact opposite. Up here they take a nod as "go ahead and go" and that is what they do so I only give a nod at a 4-way stop where I know they got to the intersection first and they have right of way and I have to wait for them. Giving a nod when they have a stop sign or a red light and I've got the green or the through street without a stop sign results in them violating my right of way, sometimes at point blank range resulting in either a collision or me having to lay the bike down to avoid getting run over. They take a nod as permission up here, might work in your area but I would caution to use of the nod since I would be surprised if the nod isn't taken as permission to go a lot of other places as well besides just my local area.
Wow. That would make it all very frustrating. I've never had a person who saw me and exchanged a nod pull out on me. However, I did exchange a nod with a couple of kids coming out of a local high school only to be drilled in the back by a big machine-bolt and nut combo. I looked back and they were just giggling their heads off, as they pulled out and drove off, in the other direction.
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Old 05-08-13, 03:16 PM   #13
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I point at cars in driveways and side streets when leading another cyclist just as I point at glass, sand & leaves on the roadway.
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Old 05-08-13, 03:20 PM   #14
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I point at people in cars 'cause they're fat and sad.
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Old 05-08-13, 03:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bemoore View Post
I recently came across an entry on an engineering blog (http://www.designnews.com/author.asp...&doc_id=262955) titled "How Safe Is Safe Enough?" It's not about bicycle safety, but there IS an interesting comment from a user named Bunter:



Has anyone tried pointing like this? And did it work? If this works everywhere, and not just in some locale with some unique traffic dynamics, this could be better than all the lights, horns, and reflectors in the world.
I can't point because it would throw me off balance.

But, Instead, I 'ride the line'(white/double-yellow) through intersection, shaking my head at the same time to indicate 'NO! Don't even try to turn in front of me!'.
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Old 05-09-13, 05:36 AM   #16
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Yeah I do this and it definitely works almost 100% of the time.

I think many drivers try this "start pulling out" to see if a driver or rider will cede the right of way. If the rider or driver slows or hesitates then they continue. If they don't, then they stop and wait their turn.

Pointing communicates that you are aware that you have the right of way and expect them to stop.
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Old 05-09-13, 06:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bemoore View Post
I recently came across an entry on an engineering blog (http://www.designnews.com/author.asp...&doc_id=262955) titled "How Safe Is Safe Enough?" It's not about bicycle safety, but there IS an interesting comment from a user named Bunter:



Has anyone tried pointing like this? And did it work? If this works everywhere, and not just in some locale with some unique traffic dynamics, this could be better than all the lights, horns, and reflectors in the world.
I try to make eye contact with drivers who seem like they are going to pull in front of me in an unsafe manner. I think it works as well.

I don't agree with the conclusion that the driver is just willing to risk a life for convenience I think it's a deeper rooted issue: If something presents no danger (A smaller vehicle), the brain kicks in the automatic reply,"SAFE". Something out of the ordinary snaps the circuit, and says,"UNSAFE".

It could be pointing, making eye contact, a flashing light... Whatever makes it "unusual".
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Old 05-09-13, 10:46 AM   #18
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A head-mount halogen works wonders in this regard.
+1000 Especially in crummy weather.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:51 PM   #19
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Yeah I do this and it definitely works almost 100% of the time.

I think many drivers try this "start pulling out" to see if a driver or rider will cede the right of way. If the rider or driver slows or hesitates then they continue. If they don't, then they stop and wait their turn.

Pointing communicates that you are aware that you have the right of way and expect them to stop.
That makes some sense.

I see quite a few drivers coming out of lots that start rolling early, and that is when I'm driving. Makes me cringe as a driver. As a cyclist continuing at speed represents a risk not worth taking.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:59 PM   #20
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This might be a good suggetion to try. Especially on my trike this would be no problem at all.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
I don't agree with the conclusion that the driver is just willing to risk a life for convenience I think it's a deeper rooted issue: If something presents no danger (A smaller vehicle), the brain kicks in the automatic reply,"SAFE". Something out of the ordinary snaps the circuit, and says,"UNSAFE".

It could be pointing, making eye contact, a flashing light... Whatever makes it "unusual".
Good analysis. Agree.
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Old 05-16-13, 09:18 AM   #22
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I have found pointing/signaling to be an effective technique to eliminate confusion of my intentions while cycling. I feel most of the near misses and actual mishaps I have had were due to communication/confusion. There is a timing issue involved though, for the 1% of dip-wads that just don't care, one must have both hands in position for avoidance or panic stopping. At first it felt awkward, but after seeing the recognition from the motorist, I figured it was a good tool to aid communications. Now it feels very natural and I find myself pointing and signaling even when no one is around.
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Old 05-20-13, 06:49 PM   #23
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I will signal my turns even if no one is around, (like cars are supposed to do, even when no one is around) The only time I point at people is I point outward toward the center of the road when I see them coming up in my mirrors and they are going to pass me too close, and if they don't respond, it is followed up with a bending of the elbow and waving forearm hand pointed upward, so the movement will get their attention better. but this is from someone on a recumbent trike, so I'm in a better position to do this...
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Old 05-20-13, 08:58 PM   #24
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I find that even just pointing my head at people who are thinking about pulling out in front me works to some extent. I wear a head mounted light usually on strobe and it seems to work with all but the most oblivious drivers.
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Old 05-20-13, 09:49 PM   #25
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I do the Robert DeNiro in "Meet The Fockers" thing, where I point at my eyes with the index and middle fingers of my left hand, then extend my left arm, hand, and index finger and point directly at the "offending" driver. So far, it's worked like a champ.
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