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Old 09-28-07, 10:09 AM   #1
Charlene
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Reconsidering my encounter with a car

I took a different way home last night, because of an errand, and had an encounter with a car. I was confident in my opinion of fault (car) until I described it to my husband and now I am reconsidering. I will try to explain briefly.

Picture a T-intersection. I am moving horizontally along the top of the T, the car was coming up vertically to a stop sign and intending to turn right. As I approached the intersection, there was a paedestrian crossing to the right of the car and the car stopped for them, BUT it was way past the stop line, obviously waiting til the paedestrian was far enough to keep going right. I felt I had the right of way, dinged my bell and passed ahead of the car, as the driver became visibly upset. I called out, "You have a stop sign!" and continued straight. THe car turned right behind me, then a block away swung around the round-about to yell at me "If you want to use that thing on the road you need to learn the rules of the road!" I smiled and called back, "You had a stop sign, sir!" doing my best to keep my tone light. THen he yelled something about stopping for the paedestrian, but at that point I was ready to go and called out "have a nice evening!" and left.

My husband's point is that the motorist already stopped at the stop sign, then was turning right and stopped for the paedestrian. at the time, I felt he was in a position where he should have yielded the right of way to me.

I guess no one can say who was right, since you all weren't there. But I just needed to mention this since it was bothering me. I guess he was upset that I went on ahead of him, and right or wrong, by chasing after me and yelling, he used up even more time than just waiting and letting me go. Oh well....
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Old 09-28-07, 10:13 AM   #2
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I have to agree with your husband. Think about how you would handle this situation if you were in a car. You'd probably stop and wait for the other car to proceed. I would. This is why I ride my bike like I was driving a car.

Edit: I even make the vroom, vroom sounds.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:17 AM   #3
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Admittedly, he should have waited behind his stop line until safe to proceed, and then proceed.

But then again, it is kind of a gray area.

I have no doubt that the answer in the A&S forum would be to drag the driver out and hang by thumbs and thrash with a cat-o-nine-tails, but it sounds like you were both playing it relatively safe, and the driver felt like making it a big deal...

1/2 point against each of you. How is that for walking the line?

If I were you, I don't know enough to say whether I would have done the same... It would probably depend on how close the ped was to the side of the road. For my safety, if the ped was anywhere other than very near the center of the road, I would have waited behind the car to avoid being sideswiped if the car pulled around the ped.

Bottom line to me, it is a gray area, and you shouldn't worry, but as a cyclist I do tend to err on the side of caution.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:19 AM   #4
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If you were to strictly follow the law, the only differently that you should have done was to stop and yield to the pedestrian yourself. (e.g. Did you wait until the ped was at least out of your lane?)

Even if you came to a stop to yield to the pedestrian, the car should still have waited until you cleared the intersection. You are right - the car had the stop sign and you had the right away. A vehicle can stop on the stop line and creep forward and stop again as frequently as they like, but it still has to yield to the right of way.

Your husband doesn't ride a bike does he?
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Old 09-28-07, 10:22 AM   #5
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Hubby is a devout cyclist and can be quite aggressive at times about his rights. His reaction surprised me. But I think if he had been in my place he would have flipped off the driver.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:24 AM   #6
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If he has a stop sign, you have the right of way. The pedestrian doesn't enter into it. He's obligated to wait there all day if he has to until the way is clear for him to make a safe turn. If I'm understanding the counter argument, it's that because he COULD have gone before safely in front of you BEFORE he waited for the pedestrian, then for some reason he's got some kind of an "on hold" right of way and vehicles WITHOUT a stop sign on the main street should stop and let him come through?

What if he stopped for 5 minutes to let 100 pedestrians cross? Should the cars that were parked in the 7-11 2 miles away then let him through if the pedestrians clear while they're approaching the intersection?

This makes no sense. Right-of-way is an instantaneous concept, it has no memory except for who got to the intersection first in the case of otherwise-equal right-of-way situations (like 4-way stops). When you decide to proceed into the intersection from a stop sign, you may only take into account the conditions at that moment, not what happened 20 seconds ago (with the aforementioned exception).
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Old 09-28-07, 10:52 AM   #7
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If I'm picturing the situation correctly, I agree that you had the right-of-way...if he has a stop sign and the other road doesn't, then he has to wait until all cross traffic has cleared, not just wait for one person (the pedestrian) and figure "it's my turn now." I suppose his counter argument might be that he had already left the stop sign, and stopping for the pedestrian was a separate matter unrelated to the sign. But even then, he's trying to merge into your lane, and should yield to you. (If he was already fully in your lane, then you should probably wait behind him, or pass him in another lane.)

Having said that...if he had gone ahead and hit the gas once the pedestrian was out of his way, would you have had enough time and enough room to dodge him? If not, you should probably handle things differently next time.

I'm not saying to preemptively try to yield the right-of-way to someone who doesn't have it -- that leads to those awkward "after you/no, after you" standoffs, which get dangerous when a third driver arrives on the scene, unaware of what's going on. But make sure that you always stay aware of the stupidest thing a driver could do at any given moment, and have a backup plan in case he does it.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:01 AM   #8
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Did you have a stop sign too? If not, the car was at fault for turning into the lane to try to get behind the pedestrian. He needs to wait until the intersection is clear before turning, be it for peds or cross traffic (bikes included).

If you had a stop sign too, then the next question is who got to the intersection first? If he got there first, then you need to wait at your own stop sign until he's able to turn (after the ped crosses). If you got there first, you get to go first after the ped crosses.

Everytime this has happened to me, we all wait at our respective stop signs for any peds to cross, then we go in the order we all got there.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:11 AM   #9
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Sounds like you had the right of way. If you didn't have a Stop sign, you only have to yield to the pedestrian. The car has to stop and proceed when it's safe to do so, whether there's a ped crossing, a bike or an 18 wheeler intersecting.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:21 AM   #10
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You're right. The driver is wrong.

Substitute a car for your bike and everything is clear.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:22 AM   #11
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All depends whether or not you had a stop sign at the top of the "T."
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Old 09-28-07, 11:40 AM   #12
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All depends whether or not you had a stop sign at the top of the "T."

Right, If you didn't - he can go pound sand.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:00 PM   #13
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Riding in place where stop signs mean very little (much less details like pedestrians and ROW based on order of arrival) I find this discussion quaint. And I mean that as a compliment.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:05 PM   #14
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Substitute a car for your bike and everything is clear.
Can you imagine us even remembering this incident if it involved two cars? Let alone having a debate about it?
And I mean that as a compliment, too.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:08 PM   #15
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Riding in place where stop signs mean very little (much less details like pedestrians and ROW based on order of arrival) I find this discussion quaint. And I mean that as a compliment.
Things are that bad in Toronto, eh?

Edit: the 'eh' was unintentional
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Old 09-28-07, 12:11 PM   #16
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Not sure about Canadian laws. Where I live, a person with a stop sign has to wait until his route is clear before he can claim the right of way. In the case described here, his route was clear after the bicycle passed in front of him.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:24 PM   #17
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I'm not getting it.

You were traveling in the W to E direction on the top of the T, the car was traveling N and turning right to travel E. Ped was traveling N crossing perpendicular to the top of the T, on the right crossing next to the car??

If you have no stop sign, then you have right of way. It is his job to turn when it is safe for him. There may be an issue with the ped though. What are the laws (in your area) in regard to when you can enter a crossing area when the pedestrian is still in it?
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Old 09-28-07, 01:21 PM   #18
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SO.......did you have a stop sign? That makes all the difference.
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Old 09-28-07, 01:29 PM   #19
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No, I did not have a stop sign.

And it seems that eveyone is confirming what I originally thought: I had the right of way and the motorist was trying to turn into my lane. He was letting a paedestrian go before he turned right, and I still had the right of way. I had no stop sign, he did.

It is a little scary that he followed me to yell at me. Glad that he wasn't crazy or anything.
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Old 09-28-07, 01:35 PM   #20
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Sounds like he was just plain wrong. If I picture this correctly, he would have had to wait for a car doing exactly what you did.
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Old 09-28-07, 01:48 PM   #21
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He probably figured he was already delayed by one lesser entity — and now a G—d— bicycle goes in front of me? I WAS NEXT!
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Old 09-28-07, 01:51 PM   #22
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People get really mad when they don't get away with taking advantage of others - why is that?
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Old 09-28-07, 01:52 PM   #23
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OP...based on the description you gave, you were in the right, and dipstick in the car was wrong.
You were going straight, and he was turning. He had a stop sign and you did not. Ergo, you had the right of way, and the fact that he had started but had to stop due to a pedestrian speaks volumes about his driving skills in the first place.
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Old 09-28-07, 02:07 PM   #24
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Riding in place where stop signs mean very little (much less details like pedestrians and ROW based on order of arrival) I find this discussion quaint. And I mean that as a compliment.
You're kidding, right? I feel guilty for rolling reds in Toronto on my bike while all the other cyclists stop and wait. And I usually ride around the downtown area. T. drivers may do the rolling stop, but people do that practically everywhere. Outside the downtown core, drivers actually yield to peds in crosswalks although this is less common downtown.
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Old 09-28-07, 02:22 PM   #25
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The car driver was completely in the wrong. He had the stop sign, so he should have waited for everybody there - the pedestrian and you. In short, he should apply his quote about learning the rules of the road before using the road to himself.

Your husband's reaction surprises me. Sometimes people tend to be overcritical of their spouses... Maybe that's the case here.
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