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  1. #1
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    Car Drivers not yielding right of way to cyclists

    I've been experiencing this quite often, and it's quite alarming. Drivers see me coming and don't yield the right of way, probably because they think they can make the turn fast enough and cyclists don't have the same rights as cars. Do you experience this too?

    So now I'm very careful at cross streets and intersections. I generally slow down and try to make eye contact, but even when they see me, some drivers pull out anyway. Grrrrh! I'm thinking of getting one of those Airzound horns (although I read they don't last and may not work in cold temps) or use my whistle routinely. Any other tactics?

  2. #2
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    How do you know that they see you coming? In some cases, one can "see" but not be aware of what is in your line of sight. Perhaps you need a bit more visibility. I wear HiViz and usually have lights running and have not had a problem with cars yielding.

    -G

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    I've got the hi viz vest, lights and flashers going. Maybe I need to be going even faster.

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    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    What position are you taking within your lane?

    Drivers often filter out anything near the curb, looking only where they expect to see other vehicles. You could be lit up like a Christmas tree, but if you're too far to the right, they'll unconsciously ignore you as "not traffic."

    It's generally safest for bicycles to be near the center of the lane at intersections -- it increases your visibility to motorists, and increases your sight-line down cross-roads to your right.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

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    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    Get a large bus and paint the front of it to blend with the color of the road, then paint a cyclist on the front and have blinking light etc. Drive along slowly like a cyclist and when someone doesn't yield just floor it and mow them down.

    When the deputy asks how it happened you can say "I think he/she didn't see me".

  6. #6
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Where I live, nearly all cyclists are the kind of people who do it because they can't afford a car. (Not that there's anything wrong with that). They tend to move a lot slower than those of us who do it for the exercise or just prefer it to driving. I think drivers are conditioned to cyclists moving at 5 or 6 mph, and sometimes they think they have more time than they really do to make their move. Of course, it's their responsibility to observe and accurately judge the speed of others on the road, but some prefer to drive "unencumbered by the thought process."

    I don't know what you can really do other than be very visible and very vigilant.

    Jim

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
    What position are you taking within your lane?

    Drivers often filter out anything near the curb, looking only where they expect to see other vehicles. You could be lit up like a Christmas tree, but if you're too far to the right, they'll unconsciously ignore you as "not traffic."

    It's generally safest for bicycles to be near the center of the lane at intersections -- it increases your visibility to motorists, and increases your sight-line down cross-roads to your right.
    Very good point. Taking the center of the lane will probably go a long way towards increasing visibility. I'll "take the lane" sooner when I see an intersection coming up.

  8. #8
    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
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    often times a motorist will see a cyclist, but they simply do not accurately gauge a cyclist's speed.
    often times, people see a bicyclist and they think they are going 10mph.

    conversely, I'm especially annoyed when I'm climbing a steep hill, pedaling out of the saddle, when a motorist waits at an intersection for me to pass, as if.... what?
    because they see me out of the saddle, it looks like I'm sprinting or something... never mind the 8% gradient, which most people do not know how much effort it takes to pedal at 10mph for even 1/4 mile.

    downhill descent on a 4% gradient, most people hardly notice the descent, much less are cognizant of a bicyclist traveling at 25mph, the are apt to pull out in front of you. they simply have a hard time judging time and distance.


    my pet peeve are city buses. of course bus stops are located near corners. corners are where intersections are located. often times, a bus passes by hard on the gas, only to pull over in front of you, for a bus stop. Luckily I don't live in an area where I have to fight bus traffic.

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    Resident smartass. Fargo Wolf's Avatar
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    I think the problem is that most driver's are so used to looking only for motor vehicle traffic, when they should also be looking for cyclists. Also, most drivers don't realize just how much distance the "average" cyclist can cover, as I found out when I got hit a few years ago.

    The solution: Always assume that the driver doesn't see you/misjudges how far away you are and ride accordingly.
    Last edited by Fargo Wolf; 01-01-12 at 09:14 AM. Reason: spelling error

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
    often times a motorist will see a cyclist, but they simply do not accurately gauge a cyclist's speed.
    often times, people see a bicyclist and they think they are going 10mph.
    That's what usually happens to me. They see a "fat" guy on a bike and assume I'm doing 10kph. (I can hit 40kph on some roads.) So they turn in front of me forcing me to slam the breaks. They are usually then shocked that I caught up to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo Wolf View Post
    I think the problem is that most driver's are so used to looking only for motor vehicle traffic, when they should also be looking for cyclists. Also, most drivers don't realize just how much distance the "average" cyclist can cover, as I found out when I got hit a few years ago.

    The solution: Always assume that the driver doesn't see you/misjudges how far away you are and ride accordingly.
    I also learned this the hard way many years ago. I got right hooked when a car (who signalled at the last possible moment) cut through the bike lane to enter a parking lot. He only saw me when his bumper was bending the rear of my frame.

  12. #12
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    I live in a very cyclist-aware city, but yesterday I had a couple close calls from people trying to take a right across the bike lane too close (can ya wait like 3 seconds?). Nice thing about being on a bike is that the anger dissipates fast, rather than getting cage rage.
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  13. #13
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
    Grrrrh! I'm thinking of getting one of those Airzound horns (although I read they don't last and may not work in cold temps) or use my whistle routinely. Any other tactics?
    It's tempting to express your frustration, but sometimes it just leads to more annoyance, then anger, then a worse situation. Thank whoever/whatever you believe in and move on. It's not a good idea to provoke someone surrounded in 2-ton, fast-moving armor.
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  14. #14
    Senior Member The_DK's Avatar
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    Airzound horn, but only to grab attention/if you need it. Using a horn to antagonize just makes you a jackhole... Works in ~40f just fine, I had to sound it on an SUV the other day. It's more useful for people that get too close rather than right hooks.


    But in the end, better to just avoid the cars than to be dead right.
    Last edited by The_DK; 01-01-12 at 11:45 AM.

  15. #15
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    Being visible is definetely one of the best things you can do (lane positioning, lights, & clothing). However, just going more slowly through an intersection (within reason) works as well.
    lil brown bat wrote:
    Wow, aren't other people stupid? It's a good thing that we're so smart. Yay us.

  16. #16
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Visibility is important. I know, not from interviews of drivers but just by before and after observation, that since I started using a magicshine on flash during my ride home that drivers don't pull out on me as often. The bright flashing light is rather insistent in its call for attention.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
    Get a large bus and paint the front of it to blend with the color of the road, then paint a cyclist on the front and have blinking light etc. Drive along slowly like a cyclist and when someone doesn't yield just floor it and mow them down.

    When the deputy asks how it happened you can say "I think he/she didn't see me".
    I drive a bus and people cut left in front of us all the time. I have even heard it called a "Boston Left".And you would be amazed how many times a car pulls out in front of a bus an gets in an accident and when the officer asked the driver of the car what happened They tell the officer "I didn't see the bus".
    Lessons for cyclist: People are in too much of a hurry and too self centered to wait 5 seconds in traffic on someone else. No matter how big you are, how many lights you have, or were you are in the lane (My bus takes up 8 1/2 feet of it) the same people won't see you.
    I drive for a university and I notice that the cyclist around campus are more likely to run stop signs, red lights and just generally pass on the left or right in slow traffic to get around me than cars. Since I generally follow the rules of the road I really want to reach out an strangle some of these people and tell them how close they came to getting injured.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    Being visible is definetely one of the best things you can do (lane positioning, lights, & clothing). However, just going more slowly through an intersection (within reason) works as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by zirger726 View Post
    ........And you would be amazed how many times a car pulls out in front of a bus an gets in an accident and when the officer asked the driver of the car what happened They tell the officer "I didn't see the bus".Lessons for cyclist: People are in too much of a hurry and too self centered to wait 5 seconds in traffic on someone else. No matter how big you are, how many lights you have, or were you are in the lane......
    I have come to the conclusion that we are solely responsible for our own safety on the road, and we cannot trust any driver to look out for us. Slow down at intersections and survive to ride another day. Some people are indeed in too much of a hurry and too self centered, but most simple "zone out" while driving and are too consumed by the radio or their cell phone to notice us. And now they are putting DVD player in cars.......
    Just your average 'high-functioning' lunatic, capable of passing as 'normal' for short periods of time.....

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.” - Albert Einstein

    “We all know that light travels faster than sound. That's why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak.” - Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by zirger726 View Post
    I drive a bus [...] for a university and I notice that the cyclist around campus are more likely to [...] pass on the left or right in slow traffic to get around me than cars. Since I generally follow the rules of the road I really want to reach out an strangle some of these people and tell them how close they came to getting injured.
    I'm interested in your perspective here as a bus driver. What is it about a cyclist passing on the left that is a problem?

    I try to avoid playing leapfrog with buses, but sometimes I know the traffic conditions and bus route well enough to know that I will be able to pass and keep ahead of a bus, so I will pass on the left (non-curb side) when it is loading passengers at a stop. Am I unwittingly being dangerous?

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    from around here, all I can say about passing a stopped bus is that they can move left in a hurry. So hugging the side of the bus is a really bad idea. Otherwise, I figure the left is the correct side to pass.

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    You better get used to it.....
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  22. #22
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
    Very good point. Taking the center of the lane will probably go a long way towards increasing visibility. I'll "take the lane" sooner when I see an intersection coming up.
    Good thinking.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  23. #23
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    Make yourself as visible as possible but assume that you are still invisible.

    I've had drivers look right at me, right in my eyes and still pull out in front of me. It's a rare occurrence but it happens- and all it takes is once when you're not ready to take evasive action and you're toast.

  24. #24
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthammer View Post
    I have come to the conclusion that we are solely responsible for our own safety on the road, and we cannot trust any driver to look out for us. Slow down at intersections and survive to ride another day. Some people are indeed in too much of a hurry and too self centered, but most simple "zone out" while driving and are too consumed by the radio or their cell phone to notice us. And now they are putting DVD player in cars.......
    And many cyclists are in the same impatient hurry...I try to make sure I never have myself in a time crunch on my bike. Going TO work, I don't really have a clock issue, unless I have a meeting to get to, since I am in the "exempt" ranks. But going home, I am very careful about what I have scheduled after work. Usually, if I have evening plans, I will drive my car (much as I hate to) so that I don't get in a pinch time-wise. Too many close calls trying to hustle home.

    Today my wife had to drive me to the hospital for a test. I noticed some things, now I have to figger out how to diplomatically suggest that she might consider the possibility that maybe there could be a few habits that might be able to be changed. Cycling has certainly changed the way I drive, she just doesn't ride around cars as much as I do, I guess...
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

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    When I drove (sold last car in '04), and now when I ride -- even when I'm WALKING somewhere! -- I operate on the assumption that any driver in my proximity will, without warning, do the most thoughtless, rude, and selfish thing imaginable. I have only been pleasantly surprised, and that, rarely....

    HOW THE 'F' CAN A DRIVER "NOT SEE THE BUS"?!? It's BIIIIG, it's usually COLORFUL, and you can't see a lot of OTHER things BECAUSE of it! W...T...F..........?

    SOME people just shouldn't be driving, DAMN their inconvenience. I remember years and years ago, someone asked about qualifications for driving; I said then that they shouldn't drive if they can't take care of the car, either -- which would exclude ALL handicapped drivers, it was pointed out to me. That was about my only exception to feeling that way, then AND now.

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