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Thread: close call

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    close call

    I have had plenty of people turn in front of me right after passing (right hook) and turn in front of me when turning left across my lane (left hook), but today may have taken the cake. I had just passed a city bus, and was 1/4 mile from my work place. One more street to pass, and I turn onto the property. That last street has a stop sign, and a large white truck is rolling up to it, like I have seen 1000s of vehicles do before. I am going 23 mph, trying to keep ahead of the bus that is back there somewhere. As I enter the intersection, I realize this truck is not stopping, but turning right in front of me. Fortunately, no cars are coming in the 2nd lane, so I am able to go around this clod and not get hit from behind. Also Fortunately, the bus likely stopped at the bus stop a block back, so he was not there to run me down either. I got the feeble wave from the driver and off he goes. I wish I had a picture of my outfit, but I am wearing a high viz reflective vest (xinglet) and have my magicshine knock off headlight on flash. Can't understand how I was not seen, but I know that is how it goes sometimes.

    Glad to be alive and in one piece still, just had to vent a bit.

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    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    No rear view mirror? Glad you're okay. I can't stand City traffic even in a car; I don't think I could ever work up the courage to ride fast, or even ride at all in the City... The suburban "Cities" where I live don't count!

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    Its happened to me in the urban areas so I try to keep my speed down so I can stop quickly if needed. I don't think that they don't see us but they are preoccupied and just have turning right on their mind after we are out of view behind them. As for those left hooks, no excuse for that whatsoever, they can plainly see us coming down just like a car would be.
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    Had a genius nearly run me over after he ran a stop sign. Guess it's time to invest in an extra 350lumen of light.

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    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    Glad you're ok. These incidents tell us not to be complacent and think that all drivers will behave as expected. I know what you mean about being distracted by a bus that is catching you up.

    -G

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    Do you have a helmet light? Mine has saved me several times when drivers haven't seen my bar mounted & fork crown mounted lights. They've even commented on how they would not have seen me except for the helmet light. All 3 are similar brightness as far as being seen.

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    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
    No rear view mirror? Glad you're okay. I can't stand City traffic even in a car; I don't think I could ever work up the courage to ride fast, or even ride at all in the City... The suburban "Cities" where I live don't count!
    Interesting. Here, I'd rather ride downtown than in the subburb any day, any time. There's a whole different mindset between them. In the burb, I run lights and flashers, Hi-Viz, and cameras.. downtown I don't bother except for the basics.


    OP, glad you're safe.
    Nashville, like L.A. without a tan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveF View Post
    Do you have a helmet light? Mine has saved me several times when drivers haven't seen my bar mounted & fork crown mounted lights. They've even commented on how they would not have seen me except for the helmet light. All 3 are similar brightness as far as being seen.
    Thanks for pointing this out. I do not have a helmet light, and I can see how this could have helped, especially with the guy sitting so high off the ground in a truck. Not sure I would have had it on during the day time though, I would have thought a flashing BRIGHT light on my handlebars would be sufficient during the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmt13 View Post
    Glad you're ok. These incidents tell us not to be complacent and think that all drivers will behave as expected. I know what you mean about being distracted by a bus that is catching you up.

    -G
    Yes, that is part of the reason I posted this, is to not get complacent. 99% of the time I am not, but this 1% nearly cost me dearly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FenderTL5 View Post
    Interesting. Here, I'd rather ride downtown than in the subburb any day, any time. There's a whole different mindset between them. In the burb, I run lights and flashers, Hi-Viz, and cameras.. downtown I don't bother except for the basics.


    OP, glad you're safe.
    Thanks, me too. My "downtown" is nothing like a real big city. Everything here is more suburbs of LA than anything. I am actually more cautious in the high density areas, just because there are so many other things for drivers to look at. Where I was today, there is really no distractions, just an open field on one side, and hedges blocking the airport on the other side.

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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbslider View Post
    Thanks, me too. My "downtown" is nothing like a real big city. Everything here is more suburbs of LA than anything. I am actually more cautious in the high density areas, just because there are so many other things for drivers to look at. Where I was today, there is really no distractions, just an open field on one side, and hedges blocking the airport on the other side.
    A cell phone could provide sufficient distraction for a driver to do what happened. Have you read The Art of Urban Cycling? You probably already know most of this, but it's a good read just to remind yourself of what can/will happen.

    For myself in your situation, I might have let the bus stay ahead of me rather than be concerned about staying fast enough so he won't run me down. (But then I can't do 23mph either ...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    A cell phone could provide sufficient distraction for a driver to do what happened. Have you read The Art of Urban Cycling? You probably already know most of this, but it's a good read just to remind yourself of what can/will happen.

    For myself in your situation, I might have let the bus stay ahead of me rather than be concerned about staying fast enough so he won't run me down. (But then I can't do 23mph either ...)
    thanks for the tip on the book, to bad it is not available anywhere close by at the library. Seems like it may be worth the investment to buy though, cheaper than a headstone. - edit - Kindle edition of The Art of Cycling is very available . . .

    I agree, in most every close call I have had, I am a part of the problem. Had I not been going hard, I would have been more cautious around the truck and avoided the close call all together. Just part of my humanity I guess. . . .
    Last edited by sbslider; 12-20-12 at 05:28 PM.

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    If you think that you need a flasher on your seat post, both seat-stays AND the back of your helmet along with a highway flaggers safety vest to the rear you are thinking like the typical cyclist. Most of my cycling friends think like this. I have been riding longer since before flashers were invented than since and I have never been hit or hooked. If you think that is because no one has ever tried you would be wrong. If you think it is because they didn't see you, you would be wrong. They SEE you! What they DO with that knowledge depends heavily on the vehicle culture there. In NYC it is a given that a motorist with a green light or arrow is going to go charging across the intersection. He will hit you if you are anywhere in his path. Don't be there. In Portland and the suburbs, drivers wait when they see cyclists. Cyclists get used to this and... along comes a driver having a bad day or an out of towner and... blammo... don't trust them. I wear bright stuff and I have the minimum requirement of things that flash on my bike but I also have developed that sixth sense that says that that car sliding up on your left side is going to try and cut you off at the turn... right hook you in other words. He SEES you, he also thinks he can get around you because he is so much faster than you. Don't let it happen. If they get to the corner before you do, even if they don't, be very prepared to scrub off a lot of speed. It doesn't seem that hard. I do it automatically but just the other day a couple of friends of mine trashed their very expensive Santana tandem plowing into an SUV that right hooked them. They have as much experience as I do and their tandem cost 10x what either of mine cost. Ya think they'd be invested on keeping themselves safe. A drunk running a stop sign is something I worry about now and then. Sadly that isn't how many of you got taken down. Right and left hooks just shouldn't take down as many of us as they do. Remember. They see you! They may turn anyway. Don't let that throw you.

    H

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    Senior Member tergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbslider View Post
    thanks for the tip on the book, to bad it is not available anywhere close by at the library. Seems like it may be worth the investment to buy though, cheaper than a headstone. - edit - Kindle edition of The Art of Cycling is very available . . .

    I agree, in most every close call I have had, I am a part of the problem. Had I not been going hard, I would have been more cautious around the truck and avoided the close call all together. Just part of my humanity I guess. . . .


    Least you are aware of your side

    A lot of it comes down to speed, They see bike and they don't factor in the speed at which we can move. Have had some close calls in the past where i have been told . They saw me coming but didn't think i was traveling that fast .
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    Senior Member hsh101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmt13 View Post
    Glad you're ok. These incidents tell us not to be complacent and think that all drivers will behave as expected.
    -G
    Agreed on this. A few weeks ago, had a car blow through a 2-way stop sign at ~40 mph. I had the right of way and no stop sign, but kept the speed down as I approached the intersection - grabbed the brakes and stared at him in disbelief as he shot through the intersection. Have seen enough distracted drivers on my commute that I just assume every car I see isn't paying full attention to their surroundings. Has saved me several other times as well...

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    I've had the same experience, although I have always managed to simply brake out of trouble since I anticipate that the motorists I encounter are either stupid or full of malice. When I have caught up to the truck drivers who have done this, invariably the reason they pulled out was that they misjudged my speed. They're used to cyclists who toodle along at 10 mph, and someone riding 20-30 mph just doesn't register for them.

    I've even had car drivers do this to me when I'm driving a truck. Yes, they pull out in front of 80,000 pounds of death because they are not able to accurately judge the speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I've had the same experience, although I have always managed to simply brake out of trouble since I anticipate that the motorists I encounter are either stupid or full of malice. When I have caught up to the truck drivers who have done this, invariably the reason they pulled out was that they misjudged my speed. They're used to cyclists who toodle along at 10 mph, and someone riding 20-30 mph just doesn't register for them.

    I've even had car drivers do this to me when I'm driving a truck. Yes, they pull out in front of 80,000 pounds of death because they are not able to accurately judge the speed.
    Its worse than that. I think they pull out because they want to leave, and assume that the other guy will slow down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbslider View Post
    I have had plenty of people turn in front of me right after passing (right hook) and turn in front of me when turning left across my lane (left hook), but today may have taken the cake. I had just passed a city bus, and was 1/4 mile from my work place. One more street to pass, and I turn onto the property. That last street has a stop sign, and a large white truck is rolling up to it, like I have seen 1000s of vehicles do before. I am going 23 mph, trying to keep ahead of the bus that is back there somewhere. As I enter the intersection, I realize this truck is not stopping, but turning right in front of me. Fortunately, no cars are coming in the 2nd lane, so I am able to go around this clod and not get hit from behind. Also Fortunately, the bus likely stopped at the bus stop a block back, so he was not there to run me down either. I got the feeble wave from the driver and off he goes. I wish I had a picture of my outfit, but I am wearing a high viz reflective vest (xinglet) and have my magicshine knock off headlight on flash. Can't understand how I was not seen, but I know that is how it goes sometimes.

    Glad to be alive and in one piece still, just had to vent a bit.
    OP glad you're OK! The cool thing is that you are very aware of what's going on around you while you're riding. Good job. Those trucks are gonna keep pulling out, and those buses are gonna keep trailing us but if you stay sharp you'll tilt the odds.
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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbslider View Post
    t Just part of my humanity I guess. . . .
    Yes, isn't it? I've been in that situation and worse, kicking myself for not having avoided an accident. You won't avoid these things completely, but if you are willing to take each near-miss, miss or complete disaster as a learning lesson... well that's all you can hope for.

    Live and learn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FenderTL5 View Post
    Interesting. Here, I'd rather ride downtown than in the subburb any day, any time.
    +1

    I feel much safer elbow to elbow with traffic downtown (New Orleans) where cyclists are generally considered part of the traffic flow than in any suburb where bikes are considered toys. Also, motorists in The Grid at rush hour have places to go, so the inconvenience of actually hitting a cyclist or ped is greater than some blue-hair driving home from the hair salon or coffee shop.

    For the OP I have a tip. Many motorists brains compartmentalize objects encountered on the road into two mental files: Moving and Non-moving. Cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles are considered "moving" objects to a distracted/sleepy brain while fire hydrants, lamp poles, pedestrians, and cyclists are stored in the "non-moving" neuron file drawer. So the dude in the truck glances your way and his brain "sees" a non-moving object and he pulls out. Then you go to pass him and he realized you were actually a moving object so he waves "my-bad" and speeds away. Except for the blinky light up front (day and night) your lane placement can make a difference. At intersections I move far left as possible when a vehicle is waiting to cross. If you are heading straight toward someone your forward speed is harder to judge than if you are moving PAST someone. Motorists get hit by fast passenger trains all the time because even a huge train running 80 MPH does not look like it is moving very fast coming straight at them. If the same train was four sets of tracks farther away, the speed of the train would be more apparent.

    So how do I easily move far left every intersection possible? Helmet mounted rear view mirror is the answer. Given your exact same scenario, I would have already been at least one lane over to the left and the turning truck would have been a non-incident.

    Glad U R OK!
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 12-20-12 at 11:44 PM.
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    when i am riding at 25+ i take the whole lane. moreover, prior to an intersection i often ride in the left portion of the lane to discourage c*gers who try to race past me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    when i am riding at 25+ i take the whole lane. moreover, prior to an intersection i often ride in the left portion of the lane to discourage c*gers who try to race past me.
    Unfortunately, the speed limit on that road is 45, so doing 25 is going really slow. But if I had a mirror . . . I could take the lane and move over to the right as appropriate.

    I have used mirrors in the past, and it may be time for one again. My biggest complaint against them is they constantly need adjustment, but adjusting a mirror is easier than adjusting a broken face.

    Thanks for the tips all, the most valuable one I have gained is the mirror for sure. Right up there is my attitude and awareness on the road, which in general is very high, but certainly does slip from time to time. Those are the times when the run stop sign morphs from a nuscence to a near or real accident.

    At least I get to go out and practice again today.
    Last edited by sbslider; 12-21-12 at 08:40 AM.

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    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FenderTL5 View Post
    Interesting. Here, I'd rather ride downtown than in the subburb any day, any time. There's a whole different mindset between them. In the burb, I run lights and flashers, Hi-Viz, and cameras.. downtown I don't bother except for the basics.


    OP, glad you're safe.
    I must live in an unusually nice suburban area here. Nice shoulders that might as well be a bike lane, and drivers that look out for me more often than not, with only the occasional "You go first. No, you go first." politeness tussle at the stop signs, and more side road routes than you can shake a stick at. Traffic is rarely all that heavy here, either.

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    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
    I must live in an unusually nice suburban area here. Nice shoulders that might as well be a bike lane, and drivers that look out for me more often than not, with only the occasional "You go first. No, you go first." politeness tussle at the stop signs, and more side road routes than you can shake a stick at. Traffic is rarely all that heavy here, either.
    That has been happening to me too - since about last Summer I've had very peaceful experiences on the roads, with very friendly drivers. In other threads I theorize that it's because I'm riding with rack and panniers now, but who knows? I ain't complainin'!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    That has been happening to me too - since about last Summer I've had very peaceful experiences on the roads, with very friendly drivers. In other threads I theorize that it's because I'm riding with rack and panniers now, but who knows? I ain't complainin'!!
    I have actually had greatly reduced incidents with drivers since I have been wearing a high viz vest and using my front light during the day. But yesterday was a different story, hopefully an isolated one. But I am preparing, bought a mirror this morning so more prepared next time.

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