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  1. #1
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    near bridge fatality

    This railroad crossing is closed for repairs.
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/15...e85365954a901c

    So all the traffic has been using this one-lane bridge, for several weeks now creating long backups during the PM-Rush Hour.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1376...6b_o0TYogw!2e0

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=...94735976128878

    A moron tried to pass me on this one-lane bridge.
    Last edited by Chris516; 03-12-14 at 12:44 PM.

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    The street view makes it look like it might be possible, with perfect timing, for a car with good acceleration to pass a very slow cyclist safely. However, that bridge is so short I should be amazed that anyone would try it, but I'm not.

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    Not sure I understand what happened,
    Were there cars going both ways at the time? That would be scarey, but the bridge looks to be about 20' wide which would be ample room for a car to pass a bike with lots of room to spare. Perhaps the google image deceiving?

    We have one lane two way bridges, and one lane one way bridges. Being passed on the one way is normal and stress free, on the two way it would be virtually impossible.

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    The usual practice in NYS is to place traffic lights on either side of the single lane two-way roadway. The traffic lights set the travel direction.

    This presents two problems for cyclists. The first is that sometimes bikes don't actuate the traffic light. The second is that the travel time is too short because it's based on a 40 mph car.

  5. #5
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    How near a fatality was it? Are you currently hospitalized?
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    How near a fatality was it? Are you currently hospitalized?
    From the text, I gather there was no contact. As they say, close only counts in horseshoes.

    For those who don't see the bridge, navigate forward in google maps, and it's on the left.

    I did so, and turned (virtualy) onto the bridge. Gauging the car in the view and the width of the span it seems that there's reasonable room for a car to pass a bicycle on the span (or the other way around). Of course I'm only gauging based on a computer image, and the speed differential during the pass might be a factor.

    The OP may not like this, but near fatality is a great exaggeration of what happened to say the least. Given the delay, and the long line of backed up traffic, saving everybody some time by passing the cyclist (safely) doesn't see so out of line.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    That is my suspicion also, but thought I would give the OP the benefit if the doubt.
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    An un-oiled squeaky wheel kaisersling's Avatar
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    Someone is given to hyperbole around here....not mentioning any names...
    "Gravity is a harsh mistress."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaisersling View Post
    Someone is given to hyperbole around here....not mentioning any names...
    It's only near hyperbole.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    I always try to give the cars the right to the road and do everything I can to avoid interaction. Knowing the situation with traffic and the single lane perhaps an alternate route or even walking the bike across would be in order. Better safe than sorry ( or dead). There is nothing to gain by asserting the bikers right to the road in an already automobile impatient situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
    ....Knowing the situation with traffic and the single lane perhaps an alternate route or even walking the bike across would be in order. Better safe than sorry ( or dead). There is nothing to gain by asserting the bikers right to the road in an already automobile impatient situation.
    An alternate route might make sense if it's an easy alternative. Otherwise there's nothing wrong with sharing the road, even with impatient drivers. But sharing the road doesn't imply owning the road. Where there's room to pass safely, even if it's limited, then share the road using the amount of lane width necessary and allow traffic to pass.

    Maybe it's my 45 years of riding in close quarters here in NYC, but I don't see the need to own the whole lane. Ironically, narrow confined spaces are often safest because speeds are lower and everyone being on guard. It's open stretches where drivers are moving faster, don't expect bikes, and are at low attention because they see an open road free of (expected) hazards which can be the most dangerous.
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  12. #12
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    The street view makes it look like it might be possible, with perfect timing, for a car with good acceleration to pass a very slow cyclist safely. However, that bridge is so short I should be amazed that anyone would try it, but I'm not.
    The bridge is only wide enough for a car, not a car and a bike. It would also be an egregious violation of the state's 3ft. passing law.

    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    Not sure I understand what happened,
    Were there cars going both ways at the time? That would be scarey, but the bridge looks to be about 20' wide which would be ample room for a car to pass a bike with lots of room to spare. Perhaps the google image deceiving?

    We have one lane two way bridges, and one lane one way bridges. Being passed on the one way is normal and stress free, on the two way it would be virtually impossible.
    Traffic is controlled by traffic lights(I don't think they were shown in the streetview map of the bridge), at both ends of the bridge, and the bridge only has room for traffic going one direction at a time. The image is very deceiving.

    Quote Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
    The usual practice in NYS is to place traffic lights on either side of the single lane two-way roadway. The traffic lights set the travel direction.

    This presents two problems for cyclists. The first is that sometimes bikes don't actuate the traffic light. The second is that the travel time is too short because it's based on a 40 mph car.
    Correct, It is a one-lane two-way bridge with traffic signals at both ends of the bridge. That is a very good point about bikes not triggering the signal. Yes I try to get across the bridge quickly, so I can crest the small hill in the bridge and down the other side without delaying the traffic.

    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    How near a fatality was it? Are you currently hospitalized?
    I used the words 'near fatality' because I would have gone over the side and died on the railroad tracks below the bridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    From the text, I gather there was no contact. As they say, close only counts in horseshoes.

    For those who don't see the bridge, navigate forward in Google maps, and it's on the left.

    I did so, and turned (virtually) onto the bridge. Gauging the car in the view and the width of the span it seems that there's reasonable room for a car to pass a bicycle on the span (or the other way around). Of course I'm only gauging based on a computer image, and the speed differential during the pass might be a factor.

    The OP may not like this, but near fatality is a great exaggeration of what happened to say the least. Given the delay, and the long line of backed up traffic, saving everybody some time by passing the cyclist (safely) doesn't see so out of line.
    Correct, no contact. I will give you kudos' for explaining having to go further in the map to see the bridge. I tried be exact with the images, but Google Maps wouldn't let me.

    I know 'close only counts in horseshoes'. But, A driver passing on a 2/4/6-lane road has room to NOT make a close pass. That isn't the case on that bridge without knocking a cyclist off the bridge. Regardless of the size of the vehicle, the driver was in too much of a rush. That bridge is not the place to make a close pass.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    The bridge is only wide enough for a car, not a car and a bike. It would also be an egregious violation of the state's 3ft. passing law.


    Traffic is controlled by traffic lights(I don't think they were shown in the streetview map of the bridge), at both ends of the bridge, and the bridge only has room for traffic going one direction at a time. The image is very deceiving.


    Correct, It is a one-lane two-way bridge with traffic signals at both ends of the bridge. That is a very good point about bikes not triggering the signal. Yes I try to get across the bridge quickly, so I can crest the small hill in the bridge and down the other side without delaying the traffic.


    I used the words 'near fatality' because I would have gone over the side and died on the railroad tracks below the bridge.


    Correct, no contact. I will give you kudos' for explaining having to go further in the map to see the bridge. I tried be exact with the images, but Google Maps wouldn't let me.

    I know 'close only counts in horseshoes'. But, A driver passing on a 2/4/6-lane road has room to NOT make a close pass. That isn't the case on that bridge without knocking a cyclist off the bridge. Regardless of the size of the vehicle, the driver was in too much of a rush. That bridge is not the place to make a close pass.
    Guess the Google image is deceptive, it makes it look like there is 4' to the left of the car and 8' on the right, as most cars are around 6' wide it makes it appear to be a 18' to 20' wide bridge. How wide is it really?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    ....I know 'close only counts in horseshoes'. .... That isn't the case on that bridge without knocking a cyclist off the bridge. ...
    I don't know from any of your posts whether the driver did in fact pas you or not. If he did pass, it's proof that it is possible without knocking the cyclist off.

    I haven't seen that bridge in person, but from the google view sighting down the bridge to the cars at the far end, and the painted line in the middle there appears to be room for a car and bicycle side by side with decent clearance between both, and between either and the side rails.

    Of course, working in tight quarters requires some cooperation, and the pass should be done with a limited speed difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I don't know from any of your posts whether the driver did in fact pas you or not. If he did pass, it's proof that it is possible without knocking the cyclist off.
    It's proof that it's possible to unsafely pass a cyclist. Since the consequences of a few inches are a tumble off a bridge onto railroad tracks.... (FWIW, I hate blame the victim.)

    How about we stipulate that "near" is much much less than 3 feet, and "near death" is but for a few inches....


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  16. #16
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
    I always try to give the cars the right to the road and do everything I can to avoid interaction. Knowing the situation with traffic and the single lane perhaps an alternate route or even walking the bike across would be in order. Better safe than sorry ( or dead). There is nothing to gain by asserting the bikers right to the road in an already automobile impatient situation.
    The bridge is the alternative to the closed railroad crossing. The only 'alternative' to the bridge is to go a mile north, before I can get on another road back towards my destination(in the situation).
    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    An alternate route might make sense if it's an easy alternative. Otherwise there's nothing wrong with sharing the road, even with impatient drivers. But sharing the road doesn't imply owning the road. Where there's room to pass safely, even if it's limited, then share the road using the amount of lane width necessary and allow traffic to pass.

    Maybe it's my 45 years of riding in close quarters here in NYC, but I don't see the need to own the whole lane. Ironically, narrow confined spaces are often safest because speeds are lower and everyone being on guard. It's open stretches where drivers are moving faster, don't expect bikes, and are at low attention because they see an open road free of (expected) hazards which can be the most dangerous.
    Yes, You are used to riding in close quarters. Yet, I will give you that, confined spaces cause speeds to be lower. But there was no need for the motorist to try making a dangerous pass on that bridge. The closest alternate route after the bridge being the alternate for the railroad crossing, is to go 10mi. and an additional 45mins. out of my way, just to avoid the bridge.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    The bridge is the alternative to the closed railroad crossing. The only 'alternative' to the bridge is to go a mile north, before I can get on another road back towards my destination(in the situation).

    Yes, You are used to riding in close quarters. Yet, I will give you that, confined spaces cause speeds to be lower. But there was no need for the motorist to try making a dangerous pass on that bridge. The closest alternate route after the bridge being the alternate for the railroad crossing, is to go 10mi. and an additional 45mins. out of my way, just to avoid the bridge.
    As both Kickstart and I suggested, there seems to be adequate room to pass (based on the google image). So the real question here is how much room was there? Or to put it another way, how wide is the bridge?

    Certainly, if the bridge is only 10' wide, there's no room at all. At 14' it leaves room if the driver stays to the side with 2' or so to his guardrail, and 7' for the car, leaving 5' or a bit more as a lane. It's crowded, but not dangerous. At 16' there's plenty of room for a car and bike to share.

    In lower Manhattan cars and cyclists routinely share roads with only a bit over 12' or so between parked cars on both sides, and while it's a bit dicey, it's very workable at low passing speeds. My SOP on those it to ride the center until a car slows to my speed, then move over and let him pass. This works to our mutual benefit, preventing the fast pass I don't want, and the delay the driver doesn't.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    If this is the bridge in question, it sure seems to have room for a bike and car at the same time, though of course that's not to say the car gave proper passing distance. Width looks a bit more than we have on some two-way, two lane streets in my neighborhood. That is, the streets are wider, but they have parking on the sides. Sometimes people treat them as if they are one-lane, but that is because they don't know how wide their own cars are.


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    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    ^^^^^There is room for two cars side by side there. With a motorcycle lane splitting.

  20. #20
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    It's Deja vu all over again (thanks Yogi).

    Post 20 and 16 are identical.

    No one's saying to make a big detour, but as the photo of the bridge with a car on it clearly shows, there's plenty of room, even for someone not used to very close quarters.

    You could leave 3-4' to the guard rail as a margin for yourself, and the car could pass safely in what's left. My preference would be to leave 5' to my right until the car slowed, then move over leaving 2' or so so there was plenty of room for a safe pass. Or if there was a line of cars, keeping 2-3' to my right and letting it flow by.

    Everyone is tired and wants to get home, holding traffic at the bridge, just means frustrated drivers passing you once you get passed it.

    I have no problem with the "take the lane" concept, but IMO taking the lane, doesn't have to mean keeping it when there's room to share the available roadway safely.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 03-13-14 at 02:30 PM.
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    I navigated back and forth on the bridge, and the Google images consistently show ample room for a safe pass unless riding directly down the center with the intention of blocking traffic. Unless the images are totally distorted it must be a case of inadequate situational awareness by the rider or intentionally malicious behavior by the driver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    I navigated back and forth on the bridge, and the Google images consistently show ample room for a safe pass unless riding directly down the center with the intention of blocking traffic. Unless the images are totally distorted it must be a case of inadequate situational awareness by the rider or intentionally malicious behavior by the driver.
    I suspect that it's a case of the failure of the "take the lane" mentality. If one insists on a lane placement far in from the right barrier than there's very limited room to pass safely. However there is plenty of room to share the road safely.
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  23. #23
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    As both Kickstart and I suggested, there seems to be adequate room to pass (based on the google image). So the real question here is how much room was there? Or to put it another way, how wide is the bridge?

    Certainly, if the bridge is only 10' wide, there's no room at all. At 14' it leaves room if the driver stays to the side with 2' or so to his guardrail, and 7' for the car, leaving 5' or a bit more as a lane. It's crowded, but not dangerous. At 16' there's plenty of room for a car and bike to share.

    In lower Manhattan cars and cyclists routinely share roads with only a bit over 12' or so between parked cars on both sides, and while it's a bit dicey, it's very workable at low passing speeds. My SOP on those it to ride the center until a car slows to my speed, then move over and let him pass. This works to our mutual benefit, preventing the fast pass I don't want, and the delay the driver doesn't.
    Sharing a lane on the road, regardless of two or four lanes, is entirely different from sharing a one-lane elevated railroad bridge. Also, Regardless of the width of the bridge, I won't give an opportunity to some ignorant and/or insolent motorist to knock me off the bridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
    If this is the bridge in question, it sure seems to have room for a bike and car at the same time, though of course that's not to say the car gave proper passing distance. Width looks a bit more than we have on some two-way, two lane streets in my neighborhood. That is, the streets are wider, but they have parking on the sides. Sometimes people treat them as if they are one-lane, but that is because they don't know how wide their own cars are.


    bridge.jpg
    Yes, That is the bridge. Exactly, I am not going to let some stupid motorist think they can pass without causing serious injury.

    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    ^^^^^There is room for two cars side by side there. With a motorcycle lane splitting.
    It is a one-lane two-way bridge. There is no room for two lanes of traffic.

  24. #24
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post

    It is a one-lane two-way bridge. There is no room for two lanes of traffic.
    Aaaaaahhhhhhhh, now I get it. This is a matter of principle, not safety. It makes a little more sense now.

  25. #25
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    So I am thinking that the OP tried to take the lane, and a inpatient driver passed anyway. This demonstrates my ambivalence of vehicular cycling and engineering analysis as the be-all, end-all of how to bicycle in traffic. There is clearly room for both a bicycle and an auto on that bridge. However when taking the lane, the cyclist encountered a driver who clearly did not believe in the bicycle as a motor vehicle.
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