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Old 03-18-05, 03:30 AM   #1
my58vw
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Left Turns... at speed

All right steming from tonights ride (no need to explain) and getting yelled at, here is a safety question.

I am decending a steep road where at the bottom I have a left turn. The road is quite busy and 35 - 40 MPH is normal on a bike on this road. I always ride in the right 1/3rd of the road which pisses many of the other riders in the group off because I "should be on the line". At 35 MPH I do not feel safe on the line, expecially after getting stuck between a car and the curb last week.

At the bottom I am looking for an opening in traffic. I am going 36 MPH and approaching the left turn with a red light straight and turn very fast. I am looking and traffic is not leting me it. Behind me the rest of the group (about 100 feet back) see no openings so they slow down into an opening. I am about 50 feet from the light and see a small opening to get into the turn lane. I move behind a car but out of nowhere a truck is comming up fast behind me, I never saw him. He had to slam on his brakes it seems and it scared people in the group. I got throughly yelled at again back at the cars for that move.

When you are in a simular situation what is the best way to approach. Basically meaning how do you handle having the cross a very fast and busy lane to make a left. Note I was signling the whole time, trying to get someones attention. I guess they thought I was waving.

Ideas?
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Old 03-18-05, 03:38 AM   #2
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I'm going to go there. You kinda deserved it. Law states that you must control you vehicle at a speed that is not greater than reasonable and prudent. It appears that you did not. If you were going so fast as to have to make quick split decisions whether to jump into the lane or not you were not riding reasonable and prudently. Had an officer caught you, you very well could have gotten a ticket for your actions. Unsafe lane change, and speed not reasonable and prudent. Though you signaled a vehicle had to take evasive manuevers due to your lane change.
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Old 03-18-05, 08:08 AM   #3
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Dude, you sound pretty reckless to me. Was it the driver's fault AGAIN?
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Old 03-18-05, 09:31 AM   #4
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I think this is a situation where you must make sure that you are seen and it is understood that you are merging. You must get the attention of the drivers and their acknowledgement that you are turning left and will be merging in front of them.

This is the safe and proper way... zipping in front of cars will just get you crunched. Your statement of "not seeing some guy coming up" is a prime example.

By signaling and merging (and yes, slowing down traffic... even though some motorists hate it) you end up with an auto "partner" who "shields" you somewhat... this is especially handy going across multiple lanes.
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Old 03-18-05, 10:18 AM   #5
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Dude, you sound pretty reckless to me. Was it the driver's fault AGAIN?
I know it was wrong, no it was not the drivers fault I did not say it was. I want to know what I should do in that circumstance. I got scared at the light and made a wrong move.

Reckless is the wrong word, reckless means the willful disreagard for the safety of others, this was not the case! I did not mean to pull out in front of a car and it is not NORMAL for me to do so. In the other two circumstances I was in the bike lane riding accorning to the law, not doing anything of the sort. Those were the drivers fault. If it was my fault I would have come out and said that in the first place.

Incidents
1. Driver hit me from behind purposesly while I was in the bike lane minding my own business. He had cussed am for some unknown reason and the actually swerved over a lane and ran right at my back tire.

2. Driver made illegal right turn, cut off two cars and pined me between their car and the curb.

Both of those were the drivers fault, not my words but the police's words. They were both also reckless, moves that are done without the care of themselves and others. Cuting off two cars to try and make a quick right is reckless, intentionally hitting a cyclist because they "slowed you down" that is reckless. Now making all attempts to try and get a drivers attention then moving over into the lane where cars were already slowing down, and not seeing a car, that is an accident, not being reckless. Remember I was going almost 40 MPH, the speed limit for the road at the time. The other driver must have been going at least the speed limit and must have been in a blind spot or made a lane change when I was not looking. I did not intend to cut the driver off. Was it my fault, yes but reckless, no.

The question then goes back to how to handle the situation... traffic break sounds like a good idea

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I think this is a situation where you must make sure that you are seen and it is understood that you are merging. You must get the attention of the drivers and their acknowledgement that you are turning left and will be merging in front of them.
Thanks for the advice

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I'm going to go there. You kinda deserved it. Law states that you must control you vehicle at a speed that is not greater than reasonable and prudent. It appears that you did not. If you were going so fast as to have to make quick split decisions whether to jump into the lane or not you were not riding reasonable and prudently. Had an officer caught you, you very well could have gotten a ticket for your actions. Unsafe lane change, and speed not reasonable and prudent. Though you signaled a vehicle had to take evasive manuevers due to your lane change.
I agree, I now relize that I should have slowed down instead of just flying up to the intersection. I will not be trying stuff like that again, and learned a lesson. I am in the process of trying to become a police officer (BI stage). I have been pulled over before but never recieved a citation. I definitly learned my lesson with both incidents and will never do them again. We all make mistakes, sometimes we get away with them, sometimes we don't. It is the people who never learn that end up in jail or dead or hurt, etc. Just like learning to ride with traffic you make mistakes. How many times have I seen new riders drift out of lanes, etc and almost get hit, more than once. It happens once and we do not try it again... the wonders of the human brain. The difference between being yelled at and talking about it are vastly different.
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Old 03-18-05, 11:42 AM   #6
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Bottomline is this analogy

Give a person a very fast car when they are learning to drive and they will get into trouble. That is why we give teenagers no so powerful cars to start. Give a cyclist who is just learning lots of speed without the skills and you make mistakes. Learning happens at slow speeds, the problem is that in most groups the slower riders do not use the same skills as the faster riders. I am at the stage where I have the speed but am still learning the skills. That is what happens in racing and that is why they say to have paceline skills before going out and racing.

It takes time to learn how to ride with traffic and not make these little mistakes. With very little bicycle education we do not learn until we get in these situations. It is part of learning to be a cyclist...
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Old 03-18-05, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my58vw
I am decending a steep road where at the bottom I have a left turn. The road is quite busy and 35 - 40 MPH is normal on a bike on this road. I always ride in the right 1/3rd of the road which pisses many of the other riders in the group off because I "should be on the line". At 35 MPH I do not feel safe on the line, expecially after getting stuck between a car and the curb last week.

Ideas?
my58vw, what intersection are you talking about (I may have ridden it)?
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Old 03-18-05, 11:51 AM   #8
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Actually I used to ride like that sometimes... threading between cars as if they were standing still, and my wife saw me doing it one day when she happened to be driving on the same road just a few cars behind me... and I did not know. She read me the "riot act."

Course that was back in the days when I used to also pace cars and trucks coming down off of mountains too... 45MPH+ down narrow mountain roads... yeeee hawww!

Now I am pretty sedate and just ride like I drive. And I drive conservatively... chaps my hide to see folks not using turn signals, zipping in and out of the traffic, not waiting their turn at merges, cheating in the car pool lanes...

Sigh.

I think its time for a long ride.
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Old 03-18-05, 12:17 PM   #9
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Arlington Avenue coming from RCC down into Riverside off Victoria. It is the half mile or so climb with the increadable fast downhill...
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