how is that even workable? even robert hurst says that you use a "buffer" and keep alert but you can't hoard all the responsibility yourself...Originally Posted by einvthat was my first post on this forum. if this had better be posted in some other area of the forum, the moderators can please feel free to move it.
i made the mistake of using visual cues. the car was stopped at a stop sign, but it was driven by an 85 year old person with cognitive disconnect. she apparently did not even see me coming down the main road. she was stopped, the windows were down, and she was staring straight in my direction. under normal circumstances, during commutes you have a pretty fair idea of when the driver is being impatient, or when he will wait your passage. well, in the 3 seconds it took observe her, and the second it took to cross her path, four seconds in all, every cue was in the direction of the driver who awaits your passage.
of course it is absurd for me to pretend to noticing more details than i actually did see. time has a way of strengthening your position, and adding details that a normal human, in the course of a commute cannot at all notice. in the course of my commute, i pass roughly a hundred cars, and 40 turn situations such as that one. 12 years of commuting went by without incident. that's tens of thousands of cars passed. so focusing on one driver is not only inaccurate, but unproductive. the woman's fault was "failure to yield" but i have met over a hundred such cases, and anticipated them all, some close shaves. it is just that the cues here mislead me, and caused the accident. if i did not rely on visual cues at all, it would render me the invisible cyclist, a person who does not place his welfare upon being treated as a visible vehicle, aka car.
the vehicular credo is to drive your bike as though it were a vehicle, following the rules of a vehicle. i think this is the single most dangerous thing that caused my accident, because i assumed a person who stared straight at you, and who was waiting at a stop sign, therefore wanted you to pass in keeping with your status as a vehicle.
as it happens, she did not see me at all. it took me a long time to believe her side of the story, but after talking to a number of people with aged relatives, i have come around to it. (it is all too easy to play the victim, and say you were targeted, that old people behind wheels are nasty, etc. plus the fact that i am non-white got me thinking in certain less wholesome ways.) it turns out that psychological studies confirm that when old people see, they sometimes do not notice, and a fixed pleasant smile in your direction should be no guarantee that they acknowledge your existence.
i now believe that a cycle is not a vehicle like a car. i think that it is better to behave as though you are never noticed, except when the motorist actually calls out your name. (a wave is insufficient, as they could be waving at someone else, or waving a fly off their face.) i follow the rules of the road, but when it becomes clear that my welfare is at stake, i feel free to become less assertive as to my lane, or rights of way. basically, my mantra is "right of way does not exist for a bicyclist---believe it does at your own peril".