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Old 02-27-07, 03:55 AM   #1
Pobble.808
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To Signal or Not to Signal? (A Three-Act Real-life Minidrama)

Dramatis personae -
Me, on trusty Breezer, followed by:
Cager

The scene -
Gently descending two-lane road, approaching an intersection

Act One -
Hearing cager getting close, about 20 yards from the intersection, I signal a left turn and move over toward the double line

Act Two -
Vroom! Cager, apparently not adept at interpreting hand signals, guns it and crosses the double line to pass me on my left.

Act Three -
I hang my left unimpeded by cager, who has proceeded straight through the intersection, having picked up a full second or two by pulling this stunt rather than simply waiting for me to turn and get out of his way.

Fortunately nobody else was around. But it did make wonder if signaling might in fact be counterproductive or even hazardous on some occasions.
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Old 02-27-07, 06:18 AM   #2
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Interesting question. I almost always wear a high-vis top. Sometimes I think it just makes me a better target.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:15 AM   #3
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If I were on a two lane road with ...so what's the hurry, it is not the tour de france...so little traffic, I would check the rear view.. if something that close I would pull over and stop, if waaaay back then I would turn. I am not into 'messing with' something that even might happen or arguing with a lost cause, if my timing is off. In other words better safe than sorry, cause sorry can be a bad deal.
Oh, you asked about turn signals...Yes I use them but with the same 'cautions'...
Happy and safe riding.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:31 AM   #4
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Did you get his plate number?

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Old 02-27-07, 08:17 AM   #5
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Expect the worst from your fellow man. You will rarely be disappointed. The fact that you can ride a bicycle and read and write in this forum and have survived to 50+ probably places you in the 98+ percentile.
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Old 02-27-07, 09:39 AM   #6
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One thing I like about riding a fixed gear is that it makes you think and plan ahead, especially about stuff like merging and interacting with cagers. It typically ends up better when I just let them clear out of the way first. I had an septegenarian SUV dude tailing me for quite a ways yesterday, mostly because I was going fast enough and he was going slowly enough that we paced out. We were coming up to a stop sign that sits at the top of about a 10% grade.

I motioned him to pass me but he just held his position several car lengths back. This is the one time that I didn't just ease off ahead of time and let him pass me. When we hit the intersection, sure enough he rolls right up and crowds me, basically with him sitting in the oncoming lane to do it. I couldn't tell if he was going to right hook me so I unclipped and there we both sat. It was weird. I kept signalling him to go ahead but he wouldn't ever look over at me. I could have made a sandwich by the time he finally pulled forward. Clipping back in and getting going, even over just the road crown at the top of that hill was a bit of chore.
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Old 02-27-07, 09:58 AM   #7
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rule:

I have been frustrated in similar situations from time to time. Worst-case, I position myself far enough left at a red light to accommodate right-turners between me and the curb, but some of them insist on pulling up on my left, anyway.


Pobble.808 [the "808" is for your telephone area code, right?]:

I admittedly suffer from what Forester calls "bicyclist inferiority," but unless I am going at the same speed as the cars, I generally slow, or even stop, and wait for a break in traffic before merging into a left-turn lane.
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Old 02-27-07, 10:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
rule:

I admittedly suffer from what Forester calls "bicyclist inferiority," lane.
And yet you live to ride another day!
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Old 02-27-07, 10:33 AM   #9
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Sounds like a power play on his part to make you fearful of his actions...or maybe he had his head up his cellphone and wasn't actually paying attention.

FWIW, I always signal and make myself obvious; even at stoplights I'll make eye contact and indicate whether I'm headed straight or turning or whatever. If I make myself obvious (and probably ridiculous) I figure my chances of surviving to ride another day are improved...

As for riding ahead, even or behind the cager(s) when coming up to a decision point, I'll ride defensively since they weigh 10 times more than I do...
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Old 02-27-07, 10:36 AM   #10
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I don't see how signalling can hurt. But assuming the driver of the car behind you will react correctly to the signal can kill you.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd
If I were on a two lane road with ...so what's the hurry, it is not the tour de france...so little traffic, I would check the rear view.. if something that close I would pull over and stop, if waaaay back then I would turn. I am not into 'messing with' something that even might happen or arguing with a lost cause, if my timing is off. In other words better safe than sorry, cause sorry can be a bad deal.
Oh, you asked about turn signals...Yes I use them but with the same 'cautions'...
Happy and safe riding.

+1!!!
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Old 02-28-07, 09:51 AM   #12
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. I guess that I'll just keep signaling, but with a renewed appreciation of how this action can have unanticipated consequences -- which I guess is a good way to think about anything on the road. I'd just add that the cager, who was obviously in a hurry, came up behind me quite suddenly from behind a curve; if I had been aware of his presence from further back I would have just pulled over and let him pass as I usually do.

Paul H -- I didn't get his plate number. Would this to be to report it to the police? Not likely to elicit much interest from the constabulary in this city!

John E -- [the "808" is for your telephone area code, right?]: You got it.

cheers,
Pobble
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Old 02-28-07, 10:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pobble.808

Paul H -- I didn't get his plate number. Would this to be to report it to the police? Not likely to elicit much interest from the constabulary in this city!

cheers,
Pobble
"He was driving erratically and may have been drunk. At one point, he crossed over the double yellow to pass me, even though I had signaled and positioned for a left turn. I'd like to file a complaint."

If the guy had a spotty enough driving record, it might have attracted some interest.

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Old 02-28-07, 11:27 AM   #14
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I signal early to smoke out these boneheads before they impact my path if possible.

Motorcyclists say, "Ride like you're invisible." It works.
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Old 02-28-07, 02:33 PM   #15
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Back when I learned to drive a car, we had to learn hand signals, and I used them occasionally when driving with the windows down (no A/C in those days!), especially the arm down when stopping suddenly. I doubt that many drivers trained in the last 20+ years even know what a hand turn signal is -- especially one like the left arm out and bent upwards for a right turn (I usually use my right arm straight out instead to make it more obvious).

Maybe the guy thought you were waving him past, but I doubt it!
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Old 02-28-07, 07:44 PM   #16
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A lot of younger folks don't even know what hand signals mean....really.

Treat ALL motor vehicles like caged animals. All you have to do is have one touch you to ruin your life (and maybe the life of your loved ones).
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Old 02-28-07, 07:56 PM   #17
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Always signal but never take for granted that it was understood.
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Old 02-28-07, 11:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BikerJoeP
Always signal but never take for granted that it was understood.
Words of wisdom!
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Old 03-01-07, 06:58 PM   #19
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I always try to think about it like this. I wouldn't want the tombstone over my early grave to say "but he had the right of way".
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