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  1. #1
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    Almost killed on today's ride

    So I'm on the way back from the beach this morning. I always start early to avoid both the heat and the traffic - getting out there before nine means beating the teenagers with their surfboards hanging out the window of their Civics. It was a great day for the beach this morning - sunny and hot - so by the time I was heading back the traffic going out to the beach is getting heavy.

    The road is two lanes, long, narrow, flat, and straight, with a 55 mph speed limit and no paved shoulder. There is a swing bridge at the entrance to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Banana River that opens regularly for boat traffic, resulting in backups of cars when they enter the refuge. That means there is always some moron who just can't wait behind a car doing the speed limit.

    About two miles east of the bridge, I'm heading west and a line of cars is approaching eastbound. An SUV or pickup moved into my lane to pass - usually when that happens they see me and pull back in. Not this idiot. Some panicked mental calculations show he will be right beside the overtaken car when he gets to me, so I bail out onto the grass. The jerkwad missed me by a few feet doing at least 65. Futile, injudicious gestures and shouting made no effect.

    So how was your Saturday ride?

  2. #2
    el padre
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    Mine was short and sweet with very little traffic...glad you were smart to get out of this guys way, sounds like he has a death wish and it may not be his own.

  3. #3
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, people see what they look for. He looked for oncoming cars and didn't see any. You may have been invisible as he wasn't expecting you. Or he saw you but misjudged your distance and speed.

  4. #4
    Old but New BremenCole's Avatar
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    Glad for your quick thinking! It saved your life. Reality is we have to assume auto drivers do not see us and will hit us. We have to practice extreme defensive riding.

  5. #5
    King of the molehills bcoppola's Avatar
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    On this morning's ride I thought 'this saddle would kill me on a long ride'. I guess it could have been worse! Glad you dodged that bullet - er, idiot.
    '04 Giant OCR2|'87 Schwinn World Sport F/G conversion (6,129)|'92 Trek 820 MTB|'85 Schwinn Super LeTour
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  6. #6
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    He was probably one of those drivers that will pass you with only angstroms to spare - if he can do it while passing with you - why not against you...

    Great to hear you survived!

    BTW - my ride was great, thanks for asking. Did get rained on some but that doesn't bother me when it is warm out.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  7. #7
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Those are the worst kind of hostile drivers imho. I think they usually do see you but expect you to get out of their way, totally disregarding your right to the road. Sometimes I wish I had a rock in my hand when they come by. But that would probably get me beaten, killed or arrested.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Same thing happened to me last weekend, though not quite as close a call, so I didn't have to ditch into the grass.

    I personally don't think the drivers are expecting you to get out of the way - I think they are just ignoring you. I think they see a bike and their reptilian brains just process this: "bike = toy in the road = ignore."

    Not hostile, just stupid.

  9. #9
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    I know that bridge -- ride it all the time when we're in our New Smyrna Beach home. While there is little traffic in general in the refuge, overtaking and oncoming cars at the same time & those needing to pass are a menace. At least the grass is roughly level with the road in most places . It doesn't help that we have a right to safe passage, does it.

    Right now, however, we're up north of Toronto so I can ride later in the day without the heat and humidity.
    Dave

  10. #10
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Kerlenbach,
    Glad you lived to ride another day and post your store here as a reminder that we all need to ride very defensively. We don't need any more fatality statistics here in FL.

    SloSpoke Jim

  11. #11
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    I had that happen on my 300k brevet last week. The guy squeezed the car he was passing enough that I didn't have to get completely off the road. Glad you're ok.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Glad you didn't get hit. It might be time to start carrying a large bag of ball bearings on the handlebars.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  13. #13
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    Frankly that road sounds very dangerous. It's too bad that this car ignored the great danger they put you in. I'll remember this post when I am on a similar road. I usually look to the side to see what kind of bail out prospects there are. Sometimes the side of the road drops off or has so many trees that it wouldn't be a reasonable option.

  14. #14
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I do my best to cycle only where there are wide shoulders.. Sometimes, there are so many jerkwads they don't really care if they kill someone or not.. You did say, there was a line of cars.. So there were witness' present.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






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  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I'm doing alot of driving at present and look in envy at the cyclists out doing exactly what I want to do. Only problem is that I have come across 2 in the last month that were not as fast thinking as you. One was a hospital case- and after making sure that his bike was being taken care of- I went on my way as I came to the accident about 30 minutes late. The other was a rider like you that was not quick enough to get off the road. His bike was wrecked But he was OK. Good thing to note was that the Police were on scene and reading the driver his rights as they put him in the back of their car. The cyclist was swearing as he now had to make a statement and would miss his club ride that night. I managed to contact my LBS and they contacted the club to let them know he would be a no-show.

    Ridiculous part is that both these accidents happened on Straight- wide open roads and the cyclists were not at fault. If this is happening in the UK where cyclists do get some respect- I would hate to meet some of your drivers.
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  16. #16
    Randomhead
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    I've had this happen recently. Didn't get off the road though. Happened so quick that there was no point anyway. Small car, headed to somewhere in a park in a hurry. The stupid thing about the passing in my case is that there are packs of cars and the guy was going to have to slow down again in 20 seconds. Road really should be no passing in any case.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post

    So how was your Saturday ride?
    Hazy, hot, humid, hilly. Heat index 112, plus or minus.

    We had one minor issue with traffic, fortunately not of the magnitude you described. Some numb nuts, who had to wait five seconds to pass, blew around us waving his fist and screaming.

    I believe it always pays to be aware of the bail-out areas when traffic is heavy. That's why bridges on busy roads scare me. No bail-out except over the side.

  18. #18
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
    That's why bridges on busy roads scare me. No bail-out except over the side.
    The only thing to do there is to get in the middle of the lane. Don't give the drivers the slightest encouragement to try to pass you.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  19. #19
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    The only thing to do there is to get in the middle of the lane. Don't give the drivers the slightest encouragement to try to pass you.
    Yup. Moving away from the curb also makes you more likely to be noticed. The San Diego cycling community lost a superb rider and gentleman to a head-on with a motorist overtaking oncoming traffic, in a scenario very much like yours. In this case, there was a shoulder, and Hans was dutifully riding it to be polite to motorists going in his own direction.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  20. #20
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Really glad for your quick reflexes.

    I continue to hear bad things about cycling in Florida, with the greater Miami area being deadly for cyclists. It's all hearsay, is there anything to it?
    "The People will believe what the Media tells them they believe". George Orwell.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    As thompsw points out, the shoulders on this road are level with the road, so a quick exit from the road is not too hard. In the ditches just past the shoulder, though, we find this:



    So it's not too wise to get too far off the road.

  22. #22
    Senior Member RepWI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    Unfortunately, people see what they look for. He looked for oncoming cars and didn't see any. You may have been invisible as he wasn't expecting you. Or he saw you but misjudged your distance and speed.
    This is why I run my P7 three mode flashlight on strobe during the day.

    Newer cars are now engineered to have their lights turn on with the key. This, so other drivers see the car approaching.

    Not a bad idea if we cyclists adopt that tactic.

    Glad the OP is safe.

  23. #23
    DoubleTrouble cgallagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
    As thompsw points out, the shoulders on this road are level with the road, so a quick exit from the road is not too hard. In the ditches just past the shoulder, though, we find this:



    So it's not too wise to get too far off the road.
    Nice gator shot.
    Two blondes walked into a building-You think one of them would have seen it.
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  24. #24
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
    - usually when that happens they see me and pull back in. Not this idiot.
    Just curious....do you ride with a blinkie on the front during daylight hours?
    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."

  25. #25
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    I'm glad you got out of the way in time. Here in Ct we have had idiots like this take oncoming cars in the face as well.

    I've been spending more time on the road this year and a couple of near misses have led me to blinking front lights. I'm running a Planet Bike Beamer 5 at present, not as bright as some here have but I've noticed some improvement in my visibility.

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