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Old 08-22-05, 06:23 AM   #1
DogBoy
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What's with the minivans!

You all seem to have issues with men in SUVs, but every time I have trouble its a woman in a minivan. Again today I had the same issue....

I was approaching stop sign to make a left turn so I signaled and took the lane when there was a break in traffic. A minivan driver then approached, crossed the double yellow line, honked at me, then merged back into the lane where I was currently cycling. I saw this coming so I slowed down to avoid getting hit.

Am I doing something wrong? This is the third time this has happened to me in the same spot. Each time its a minivan. Perhaps its even the same one? I guess I never paid attention to the color etc. Anyway, is there something else I should be doing? I think I've got all the basics down....signal, take the lane with a break in traffic or a yielding motorist, stay in the traffic line, turn left when its my turn. I'm usually only about 100 yards or less from a stopped vehicle when I take the lane, and I am riding at about 15 mph on a 35 mph road.

Suggestions? (for my riding technique, not for retribution)
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Old 08-22-05, 06:39 AM   #2
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I'd blow it off. It may be coincendence. There are a couple of placed I regularly get honked at.

Drivers, for the most part, don't like us on the road. They don't like us on the sidewalk either, for that matter. I think they just like to gripe.

It sounds like you are riding responsibly. Be safe!
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Old 08-22-05, 06:56 AM   #3
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It seems like a certain percentage of the motorist out there "have to be in front of you” or “be first”. Some days – when I see them trying in my rear view mirror- I move further to the left of the lane & accelerate rather than slowing down ala "lets play chicken" and leave them stranded on the left side of the street. I have not been hit yet – but I am sure the odds are against me.

Most of time - when approaching the problem intersections, I look back and try to gauge the speed and aggression of the driver and take a course of action that will try to avoid a conflict.

Good luck.
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Old 08-22-05, 10:11 AM   #4
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I agree, the most problems I have is the Big Mama's in there minivans with kids in the back, and she's jabbering away on the cell phone, completely oblivious to the rest of the world around her. No offense to overweight people, but this is entirely true in my area. I find I have to watch out for those women even more than the crazy kids in there little fake Honda civic race cars.
I have literally just about gotten killed on more ocassions by the Big Mama's in minivans than any other driver. The only thing that saves me, is ME.
I've had them just about run me down, only to swerve to save myself, and they drive off without even acknowledgement of my existance. Why? Because they're too busy spewing their useless gossip to their Krispy Kreme scarfing cohort on the other end of the line.
Don't get me wrong, I respect the ultilitarian use and need for a minivan when you have a family. However, where I live, the people that tend to drive them, I find little respect for.

My rant for the day.
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Old 08-22-05, 10:24 AM   #5
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It's not just on the bike that minivans are dangerous. Unfortunately, I'm a cage commuter due to circumstances out of my control. I drive a small car(Integra) on the highway and I've had numerous close calls with minivans swerving, not signaling and making a beeline straight for the passing lane without looking and without regards to the speed of traffic coming up from behind(namely, myself). I also hate to sounds mysoginistic, but invariably the driver of the minivan is female.
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Old 08-22-05, 10:34 AM   #6
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you could do everything 100% correctly. follow every rule, be polite, etc. and still get cut off and honked at. there is something about sitting behind a steering wheel that turns ordinary people into self absorbed a-holes.
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Old 08-22-05, 01:31 PM   #7
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Most of my issues are a visibility thing. It's understandable when they don't see you and get in your way. But when they honk and gesture first, and then try to take you out, ...that's maddening.

I still like the bike messenger (seen in an interview) guy wearing gloves with spiked knuckles. If a car got too close they would get serious scratches while he hollared to everyone in earshot about being intentionally struck by a vehicle.
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Old 08-22-05, 01:48 PM   #8
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I'm not offering this as an excuse for bad driving, 'cause there really isn't one, but I do know, that a certain segment of the population that drives minivans happens to have at least two kids and all kids these days are spoiled and require constant attention. Hey, if I'm stereotyping, I may as well go whole hog! Anyway, these crazed (unfortunately - yeah society sucks) crazed mothers, probably sleep deprived, trying to keep up with the shirley jones's are too preoccupied with screaming jeramiah and jebadiah in the middle and back seats to really concentrate on a two-wheeled vehicle, let alone the rules of the road.

Best advice, (and I do this with pick-up trucks and anything with a loud stereo or a muffler tail-pipe thicker than my leg) keep vigilent and assume that you are not seen - and if you are to seen, assume that you will be ignored and cut-off.

It is sad that we have to stereotype so. My current beef is SUV drivers who seem to think they own the road. Keep in mind by SUVs I mean the stoopid-big ones that cost more than lincolns or lexis or BMW (wait a minute - they all may SUVs!) And if I had a hummer for every Hummer, I wouldn't leave the house--but that is another thread.

My experience is that although motorcycles, mobile homes, combines/tractors, yet to be ignited pintos, and any other general vehicle will give some extra room on the highway to a cyclist on the shoulder, SUVs stand their ground and in fact nudge really close to shoulder line.

I have a theory. It is either that (stoopid big) SUV drivers are so excited that they have bought into consumerist society that they can't stop pinching themselves as they drive, thus can't control their vehicles. Or. They are too busy checking their wallets for cash to see if they can afford gas.

It could also be that they are doing phone sex through Onstar...but again that is another thread.

Sorry for the rant. And apologies to the responsible SUV drivers out there. You know who you are, the ones who have to drive through rain or snow or mud to get home safe and wanted a reliable, yet comfortable vehicle.
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Old 08-22-05, 02:00 PM   #9
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I have a street that has similar issues. I get buzzed by jerks that "know" that I'm doing the wrong thing and that my life is worth less than the 2 seconds gained by getting to the stop sign first. No minivan issues, and mostly guys, but equally dangerous. Their behavior has encouraged me to take more of the lane, i.e. stay left in the lane, as they have to make an even more outrageous illegal manuever to get around me. It seems to work.
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Old 08-22-05, 02:07 PM   #10
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I cycle 12 km each way down a major artery. There are many right-turn lanes along the way that allow drivers to avoid a light. I invariably find that, no matter how far along I am when crossing over these on my way to the light, a car or truck will do everything in their power to overtake me then cut me off so as to take the turn-off, even if it means almost hitting me or any other obstacle in their path. As I can sometimes be riding at a fair clip, it can be dicey as they often overestimate how much room they have to tuck back in ahead of me. But God forbid they should have to wait for me to get out of their way...

As far as left turns go, I always take the lane when traffic allows, and I sit in the "queue", meaning I don't try and sneak up on the left to get to the front of the line, as I've seen others do. I take up the whole lane so I don't get squeezed off to one side, and to make sure I am seen. Then I take the turn and resume my place in the curb-side lane.

Motorists do not generally realise that we are road vehicles with the same rights and obligations as they have (at least in Canada): legally we should be occupying a lane the same way a motorcycle does. We hold the curb as a courtesy, and expect people to pass us in our lane only when it is safe to do so. I purposefully stay at least two feet out from the curb: I find this is the safest "stance" on the road, as it is close enough to the curb to allow most vehicles to pass, but far enough out that most cars don't feel comfortable just grazing by at top speed. It also forces wide trucks to change lanes, rather than try and nail you on the back of the head with their mirror before they suck you into traffic with their backdraft...

On the question of minivans, you may be on to something. I don't adhere to the gender part of the equation, but I think that generally speaking, for some reason or another, minivan drivers seem to dispaly below-average skills in many respects: manoeuvering, signalling, and being aware of objects (i.e. soft-bodied humans on bikes) around them.
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Old 08-22-05, 02:32 PM   #11
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I beg to differ. I sometimes have to drive a minivan for work, and all I can say is, I can't get no respect! The vehicles are often underpowered for their size, drive like boats, and are the bane of other motorists. They are just as large as an SUV, but you are perceived at being a rather passive doormat of a driver when at the wheel. I'll take my sports car any day!

***** flows downhill... and a bike is the lowest on the totem pole.
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Old 08-22-05, 02:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
I was approaching stop sign to make a left turn so I signaled and took the lane when there was a break in traffic. A minivan driver then approached, crossed the double yellow line, honked at me, then merged back into the lane where I was currently cycling.
Same thing happened to me last week, only it was a small university shuttle bus. Luckily a university police car was two blocks away and I reported it. I guess the idiot driver forgot that the buses are numbered.
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Old 08-22-05, 06:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
You all seem to have issues with men in SUVs, but every time I have trouble its a woman in a minivan. Again today I had the same issue....

I was approaching stop sign to make a left turn so I signaled and took the lane when there was a break in traffic. A minivan driver then approached, crossed the double yellow line, honked at me, then merged back into the lane where I was currently cycling. I saw this coming so I slowed down to avoid getting hit.

Am I doing something wrong? This is the third time this has happened to me in the same spot. Each time its a minivan. Perhaps its even the same one? I guess I never paid attention to the color etc. Anyway, is there something else I should be doing? I think I've got all the basics down....signal, take the lane with a break in traffic or a yielding motorist, stay in the traffic line, turn left when its my turn. I'm usually only about 100 yards or less from a stopped vehicle when I take the lane, and I am riding at about 15 mph on a 35 mph road.

Suggestions? (for my riding technique, not for retribution)
Your technique is fine. I always make sure to take the full lane. And I have no qualms about maintaining my pace even if it means that the driver trying to pass me has to brake and fall in behind me. But I keep my eyes on the road and don't let it become a personal contest.

I, too, have problems with drivers racing to get in front of me and cutting across the through lane to get to a right turn lane. As a previous post said, it can be a big problem because the driver doesn't always accurately judge my speed.

I don't have particular problems with minivans or women. SUV's and big pickups (I'm convinced that they are, for some people, more a form of testosterone replacement therapy than a vehicle.) are my bane. Virginia has a law mandating a minimum 2 foot clearance for overtaking bikes. Most drivers ignore the law but it's the truck frame vehicles that seem to do the brinksmanship thing, trying to see how close they can come without hitting me.
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Old 08-23-05, 03:35 AM   #14
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A lot of drivers have the attitude that anything that is in front of them is a personal affront. Bikes certainly, but even other cars. Yesterday I saw this driver just laying on their horn because this older couple were going 50 mph in the slow lane of a four lane highway. Traffic was light and the car could have easily moved to another lane and passed the slower car, but they just had to "teach them a lesson".
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