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  1. #1
    boattail71
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    How do you deal with cars with tinted windows?

    Let's say we're first at a 4-way so it's our right-of-way going straight with a car with tinted windows such that we can't see the driver's eyes. Do we proceed as normal only assuming that the driver sees us? Do we refuse to proceed thus potentially wasting both parties times?

    I have done the latter with a motion with my two fingers pointing to my two eyes, then at the drivers with a shrug - trying to convey the message "I can't see your eyes". Is there a better "international symbol/gesture" that conveys this message? Or should I just turn right? : )

  2. #2
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Damned good question! I hope this thread gets lots of feedback and that SOMEBODY out there has come up with a solution. Those windows drive me crazy no matter whether I'm on the bike or driving a car. So do drivers wearing dark sunglasses. These days, you can't assume the eyes behind those lenses are looking up at the road -- and not down at a cell phone.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    I don't make eye contact with drivers anyway.

  4. #4
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    Those windows are unnerving. I do often take a right and loop behind their vehicle. Other times I proceed cautiously but then feel weird, like "what if he pulled out just now?". At some intersections it's not easy to do the fake-right thing. I'd love to learn something better.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    I don't make eye contact with drivers anyway.
    Well we agree on something...

  6. #6
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    I don't make eye contact with drivers anyway.
    Watch the FRONT Wheels on vehicles.

    Eye Contact and Turn signals don't really mean much .
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Watch the FRONT Wheels on vehicles.
    I'm not following. What does watching the front wheels have to do with anticipating what the driver is going to do and, most importantly, WHEN?
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  8. #8
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    Most cars around here have tinted windows. Only becomes a problem for me because people are trying to be nice and wave me to go first at stop signs. Except I can't see it ... all I know is it's their turn and they're not moving. I'd really prefer if everyone just followed the rules of precedence at stops. Go when it's your turn.

    But I recognize that their intentions are good and I'll take each situation as it comes. Often I will make the assumption that they want me to go and I'll take the chance, offering a friendly wave as I do. Always makes me uncomfortable though.

  9. #9
    boattail71
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    [QUOTE=jon c.;16975172]Most cars around here have tinted windows. Only becomes a problem for me because people are trying to be nice and wave me to go first at stop signs. Except I can't see it ... all I know is it's their turn and they're not moving. I'd really prefer if everyone just followed the rules of precedence at stops. Go when it's your turn.

    But I recognize that their intentions are good and I'll take each situation as it comes. Often I will make the assumption that they want me to go and I'll take the chance, offering a friendly wave as I do. Always makes me uncomfortable thou

    Agree, jon c. When they have the right of way. You say "uncomfortable. Friendly wave." Agree. Me too. . . but. . . Just surmising. . . Do we always, at every intersection applicable, blindly assume they see us? Are their eyes down at their phone? Are they rubber-necking at the cute dog down the street? Are they waving me by? I wish I could see through that dark glass! I'm generally not for more laws on the books, or strongly enforcing the tinted glass laws already existing in my city here but cycling is hugely prevalent in my city and this issue disrupts the efficiency of my commutes (and just as important - the motorist's too) as I'm not clearing the intersections as quickly as I could 'cause I'm no longer blindingly trusting the tinted-window motorists, unbeknownst to me, who may or may not be waiting on me.

    My bike commuting co-worker just got hit at a 4-way. Not her fault. She's not hurt but it was serious enough as she's getting a new bike from the impact. I'd like to think that the same won't happen to me and that I'm the best defensive, reactive, presumptive, experienced cycling commuter ever but it still makes me think.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    I'm not following. What does watching the front wheels have to do with anticipating what the driver is going to do and, most importantly, WHEN?
    The wheels will show motion and if they are going straight or direction of turn.

    Just because you make eye contact with a person doesn't necessarily mean that they see you...
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  11. #11
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Front window tint is illegal in pennsylvania, and in my experience, people that do try to skirt this law do not want attention drawn to them, so they are on the more safe to be around vehicles.

    That said, if there's any confusion possible at an intersection, i simply check my watch, look at my phone for a sec, look at the ground, so driver gets a big hint that i am gonna be there for a spell. I generally do not engage vehicle occupants in such a situation unless they are being friendly in which case i respond or smile or friendly wave. It's really situation-ally specific, though.

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  12. #12
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Tinted windscreens are also illegal here, but everyone has them.

    Because of bad driving etiquette most drivers will not wait for a bicycle at stop signs and pass through the intersection if it's clear, but the few drivers which do stop and wait make me nervous, especially if I can't see them in the car since I have no idea of what their intentions are and whether or not they're texting, fiddling around with radios and GPS maps or just lost in space.

    As with Andy, in these cases I stop and pretend to check something out on the bike, even if I have the right of way.

    It's better to be a few minutes late than to never arrive at all.

  13. #13
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    I wouldn't unclip at a 4-way stop and would go as soon as it was my turn. I can accelerate at a similar rate to a car through an intersection so I've never encountered a problem. I also don't ever recall seeing a tinted front window. Probably illegal around here.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telly View Post
    Tinted windscreens are also illegal here, but everyone has them.

    Because of bad driving etiquette most drivers will not wait for a bicycle at stop signs and pass through the intersection if it's clear, but the few drivers which do stop and wait make me nervous, especially if I can't see them in the car since I have no idea of what their intentions are and whether or not they're texting, fiddling around with radios and GPS maps or just lost in space.

    As with Andy, in these cases I stop and pretend to check something out on the bike, even if I have the right of way.

    It's better to be a few minutes late than to never arrive at all.
    Agreed. I pretend I'm like going to be there for a while so we don't end up in a "you first, no you first, no I insist etc etc" situation.

  15. #15
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    I wouldn't unclip at a 4-way stop and would go as soon as it was my turn. I can accelerate at a similar rate to a car through an intersection so I've never encountered a problem. I also don't ever recall seeing a tinted front window. Probably illegal around here.
    By front, i mean the glass the driver has to look though to see the side mirrors & rolls/goes down. I actually just looked up the details, and it seems non-factory tinting is pretty much no-go. Low-e coatings (the blue or green you sometimes see) are allowed, but those are all from factory i believe. So yea, aftermarket window tinting here is a no-go for automobiles & light trucks.

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  16. #16
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    I use eye contact when possible to verify that a driver has seen me, or sometimes to communicate, but I'm not dependent on it. First of all, at 4-way (stop?) ight of way can be determined by either who was there first, or the priority to the right rule. So it's up to that person to make the first move. If that's me I roll, and watch the car to make sure that it doesn't. Once in a while that leads to the both at the same stat stop game, but as a rule, once either makes a move the other accepts and waits.
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  17. #17
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    I do the same thing as in a car. First, if I'm in an intersection where the cars behind me are likely to be an issue (if I'm turning left or going straight mostly), I take the lane.

    If it's a question of who got there first, same thing, you just start moving a little bit to make it clear that you're going to go through the sign (slow enough that you can stop), if the other person guns it, then I stop, if not then I continue through the intersection.

    Like a stop sign ballet

    Also should mention that I don't ever think I've seen a tinted windshield. That sounds very illegal.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ... stay out of the way ... get off the bike, and use the cross walk..


    windshield tinting is illegal , I believe, just side-windows can be darkened.. though sunglasses will also have the same "I cannot see your eyes" issue..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-26-14 at 09:33 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Mr. Hairy Legs's Avatar
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    I don't make eye contact but I do look to see that the driver's head was at least pointing in my direction. Tinted front windows are also illegal here.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    They'll wiggle before the driver themselves know what they're doing...

    Also don't trust eye contact, somethings they'll look right through you.

  21. #21
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egranlund View Post
    Also should mention that I don't ever think I've seen a tinted windshield. That sounds very illegal.
    The whole windshield wouldn't be tinted, as that could potentially be a safety hazard for any LEO during a traffic stop. However, that band or strip near the top- basically from the rear view mirror and up- is pretty much fair game. Unfortunately, that strip just happens to be where the vast majority of driver's eyes tend to be located.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    I have food and water.....I can outlast them.

    I don't cross in front of cars that stop in the middle of the street to let me cross either.......Like I'm going to get in front of a car that stops in the middle of the street for no reason.

    I had about a 3 minute standoff with the lady that gives out tickets for the street sweeper.....She was determined to get me to cross....Turned on her lights and stopped traffic....I still wouldn't go....Just lit a smoke and stared at her....
    Last edited by Booger1; 07-28-14 at 10:16 AM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    You mean when the other driver is coming from the side? I don't watch eyes at all. I watch their front wheels. If they start moving, I'll slow and move away from them, covering the brakes. I try to position myself so they can see me out of the front window t avoid this situation.

    If from the front, that would never happen as tinted windshiels are illegal in PA.

  24. #24
    Senior Member locolobo13's Avatar
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    I make eye contact sometimes. Even then I don't trust them. Their eyes may be telling me go ahead but what they're really saying is go ahead make my day.

    I also watch the front wheels for a better indication of which direction the car is going to go.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Watch the FRONT Wheels on vehicles.

    Eye Contact and Turn signals don't really mean much .
    This.

    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    The wheels will show motion and if they are going straight or direction of turn.

    Just because you make eye contact with a person doesn't necessarily mean that they see you...
    And this.

    Paying attention to front wheels is also a great way to help avoid getting get right/left-hooked.

    At a 4-way stop, I will stop, put a foot down, wait my turn, and then go.

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