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  1. #1
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Right Turn and Hit

    I was hit by an SUV (a Toyota Four Runner) this past Saturday. I did not fall, I was not hurt, and my bike doesn't have a mark on it. The driver of the SUV was making a right turn at a light and he didn't see me. We collided!

    Four vehicles were waiting at a traffic light. I eased up on their right side, intending to cross the intersection. The cross street was a one way to my right. When the light changed, the first car proceeded straight across the intersection. I was along side the second vehicle, the Toyota, and I started to cross the intersection myself when the Toyota turned right, directly into me. The left drop on my handle bar hit his passenger door, and my foot hit the plastic step on the side of the vehicle. I turned right, hard, and stayed up. He stopped, opened the passenger window and he and the woman in the passenger seat started profusely apologizing, and worrying that I was okay. I WAS okay, and I made sure they knew that, and that I did not in any way hold them responsible. "No harm no foul?"

    Whew! I was as at much fault as the SUV. I was in his blind spot, I didn't see a turn signal - I couldn't, I was NEXT to the SUV, and I wasn't using my head. I will now!!

    All in all, it was quite a lesson, and I considered it "one learned". Most of all, I WAS LUCKY, and I know it!
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  2. #2
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    At the few traffic lights I need to negotiate, I always take the lane when waiting. I take the same place a car would. Once the light turns green, I proceed and slowly move to the right to allow traffic to pass. That way I know they have seen me, or at least I hope they have. I resist the temptation to ride up the right side alongside the other vehicles waiting at the intersection.
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  3. #3
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    A lucky way to learn a lesson. Congrats on that. Now... never even consider it a possibility that a car is going straight, ever again, no matter what the signal is saying. :-) The safest way across an intersection is to take the lane. They can't turn into you if you do that.
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  4. #4
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I'll echo the "take the lane" comments. I always do that, without fail. Glad to hear you're OK.
    Craig in Indy

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    At the few traffic lights I need to negotiate, I always take the lane when waiting. I take the same place a car would. Once the light turns green, I proceed and slowly move to the right to allow traffic to pass. That way I know they have seen me, or at least I hope they have. I resist the temptation to ride up the right side alongside the other vehicles waiting at the intersection.
    Same here.

    Glad you and the bike were not injured, sarals.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    At the few traffic lights I need to negotiate, I always take the lane when waiting. I take the same place a car would. Once the light turns green, I proceed and slowly move to the right to allow traffic to pass. That way I know they have seen me, or at least I hope they have. I resist the temptation to ride up the right side alongside the other vehicles waiting at the intersection.
    I'll second this.

    I used to ride up the side but lately I have been taking a spot just like a car would with the thinking that if I want them to respect me on my bike I should respect them in their cars.
    We all have to get along together.
    Like BikeWNC said , once the light turns green and we start moving I shift over to the right and continue on.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Garilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kr32 View Post
    I'll second this.

    I used to ride up the side but lately I have been taking a spot just like a car would with the thinking that if I want them to respect me on my bike I should respect them in their cars.
    We all have to get along together.
    Like BikeWNC said , once the light turns green and we start moving I shift over to the right and continue on.
    Exactly. It's irritating to me when I see bicyclists not just running up the right side of traffic, but running the red light. I think one reason I have a hard time ever wanting to join up with a bike club is how much careless behavior I see among many of these bicyclists on surface streets around town and in the parking lots where they congregate (riding in and out between cars, cutting in front of cars without even looking to name two things).

    I take my place in the lane as well.
    Aní though the rules of the road have been lodged
    Itís only peopleís games that you got to dodge ~ Bob Dylan

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    I concur with the other posters, 'take the lane'.

    You were lucky - no damage to you, to them, or your bike. Lesson learned.

  9. #9
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. All I can say is: "Exactly - take the lane". I do, and will, from now on. Like I said in the narrative, that was a huge lesson learned. Someone was making sure I learned it, too, as well as making sure no one was injured in the process. I count myself lucky and educated!

    ~~Sara
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  10. #10
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Thanks, everyone. All I can say is: "Exactly - take the lane". I do, and will, from now on. Like I said in the narrative, that was a huge lesson learned. Someone was making sure I learned it, too, as well as making sure no one was injured in the process. I count myself lucky and educated!

    ~~Sara
    I forgot to mention in first post that I am glad that you didn't have any damage done to you or bike. You were lucky indeed.
    I find riding my bike I really have to look around at everything going on around me and be ready for anything, well as best I can anyway.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    At the few traffic lights I need to negotiate, I always take the lane when waiting. I take the same place a car would. Once the light turns green, I proceed and slowly move to the right to allow traffic to pass. That way I know they have seen me, or at least I hope they have. I resist the temptation to ride up the right side alongside the other vehicles waiting at the intersection.
    +1. I never creep up alongside vehicles at a light or stop sign (well, on some organized group rides, it's pretty hard not to...). And I keep the lane until through the intersection.

    Glad there was no harm/damage!
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  12. #12
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I play it by ear, there is only one traffic light in my town and if approached from one direction you can't take a right there. Depending upon the direction I approach from I might get into the lane and (if approaching from the other way) I filter up the side. I always make eye contact with the driver at the front if I filter up beside them, I always look for turn signals as I slide by cars. I never run red lights.

  13. #13
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Taking the lane is not alway the best option.
    Each intersection, is a new scenario eveytime you go through one.

    I always consider that vehicles Will Turn Right.

    Sara, you have good bike skills to have not gone down with that one.
    So happy you were not hurt.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garilia View Post
    Exactly. It's irritating to me when I see bicyclists not just running up the right side of traffic, but running the red light. I think one reason I have a hard time ever wanting to join up with a bike club is how much careless behavior I see among many of these bicyclists on surface streets around town and in the parking lots where they congregate (riding in and out between cars, cutting in front of cars without even looking to name two things).

    I take my place in the lane as well.
    While we call it "taking the lane," what you're really doing is "getting in line with the cars," at least until you get across the intersection. Always place yourself so that you're where other drivers are expecting to see traffic.

  15. #15
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you were not hurt, sarals! (and glad the bike is ok!)

    I had a near miss with a car turning right a couple of weeks before Christmas. I didnt see a turn signal, but was fortunate enough to notice the car was slowing and turning (no right turn lane, and there was a bike lane).

  16. #16
    Oh! That British Bloke .. ThatBritBloke's Avatar
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    Many years ago I went on a Defensive Motorcycle Riding course ... the principles are exactly the same for bicycles and have helped me avoid "situations".

    As for assertively taking your place in lane when appropriate, ie: take up the space your car would occupy if you were driving it, I always reckon that, if drivers honk or shout at you, it does mean it's probable they've seen you, although that terrible Brasilian incident makes you wonder if it really isn't just a war.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    I'll echo the "take the lane" comments. I always do that, without fail. Glad to hear you're OK.
    Same here - I want the driver to know there is a bike present.

    Glad to hear you and the bike are okay.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Garilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pscyclepath View Post
    While we call it "taking the lane," what you're really doing is "getting in line with the cars," at least until you get across the intersection. Always place yourself so that you're where other drivers are expecting to see traffic.
    I know what it means. I know that when I approach a red light on my bike, if I'm the first person at the light in the right lane, I move a little to the left of my position in the lane (although if I'm a solo cyclist, I worry about a distracted driver not seeing me in the way). I know that if a car is in front of me, I get in the middle of the lane behind them, and as I proceed through the intersection I move to the right again. Meanwhile, while I am at a light, in whatever position I am in, I am constantly looking around me, and if I see an approaching car acting like they don't see me, I move as fast as I can. It's one reason why I don't like riding (or running) with headphones on. I need to hear what is going on around me, I don't feel safe if I am handicapping one of my senses any more than aging is already doing.

    Even though I made a rookie mistake with my SPD pedals, I'm not a novice bicycle rider. Many years ago as an avid road cyclist, I was also on the Urban Area Bicycle Advisory Board for Gainesville, FL and Alachua County, FL. But I am also a motorist way more than I am a bicycle rider, and knowing the rules of the road and the accident statistics in car vs. bike encounters, it does not make me happy when I see bicyclists behaving carelessly while riding.
    Aní though the rules of the road have been lodged
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Whew! I was as at much fault as the SUV. I was in his blind spot, I didn't see a turn signal - I couldn't, I was NEXT to the SUV, and I wasn't using my head. I will now!!
    Taking responsibility for your own actions. Is that even legal anymore?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    Would taking the lane apply to left turns as well. I recently pulled up along side of a pick up truck in a left turn only lane (I was on his right). When the light changed, we both turned left, and I was well to his right. I didn't see a problem with any of this but after making the turn, he put his window down and shouted "if your going to ride on the street stay in the lane". Was I really at fault, I didn't think so.
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  21. #21
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
    Would taking the lane apply to left turns as well. I recently pulled up along side of a pick up truck in a left turn only lane (I was on his right). When the light changed, we both turned left, and I was well to his right. I didn't see a problem with any of this but after making the turn, he put his window down and shouted "if your going to ride on the street stay in the lane". Was I really at fault, I didn't think so.
    Technically, yes you were, although I admit to doing this at times in order to make sure I make it through on the left turn arrow. Essentially, you were sharing a lane (which is legal in some states) and passing on the right (which generally is not). We don't typically get in trouble for that, but most of us see it as making a choice: ride as part of the traffic, or ride the way most drivers want us two: out of the way. IMO, the truck driver was very well educated.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  22. #22
    Senior Member Garilia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
    Would taking the lane apply to left turns as well. I recently pulled up along side of a pick up truck in a left turn only lane (I was on his right). When the light changed, we both turned left, and I was well to his right. I didn't see a problem with any of this but after making the turn, he put his window down and shouted "if your going to ride on the street stay in the lane". Was I really at fault, I didn't think so.
    What if the truck driver had decided he was not supposed to make a left turn at that light and had decided to cut back and go straight? I'm sure you've seen drivers pull that stunt before. Last week while driving my truck I was behind a car signalling to make a left turn, it then changed its mind and started nosing back to the right as if it wanted to go straight, and then I watched this car drive across 3 or 4 lanes of traffic to make a right turn from the left turn lane. If I was beside that car on a bike, or in their blind spot, they probably wouldn't have even seen me, as they were intent on looking at the traffic behind us to see if they had a clear spot.
    Aní though the rules of the road have been lodged
    Itís only peopleís games that you got to dodge ~ Bob Dylan

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  23. #23
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Taking responsibility for your own actions. Is that even legal anymore?
    You mean I could go to jail for that? :~)
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  24. #24
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    Nice recovery from a bad situation Sara. I live in the strange state of OR, so I sometimes don't take the lane at intersections. We are one of two states where, if there is a bike lane, the motorists have to yield to the bike lane when making a right turn and they are not allowed to "take" the bike lane, which is what is done in 48 other states. I hate those intersections and still try to make sure I hit them such that I am in the gap between two cars just in case someone is going to turn right without signaling or looking. I'm amazed at how rarely motorists turn without looking or yielding to a thru cyclist.

  25. #25
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    A lot for a new roadie to take in.
    I don't feel comfortable out there with the cars. I see others doing it, usually the ones in a pack, but I am still timid. I generally ride up on the sidewalk and wait there. I know- it's wimpy. How can I call myself a roadbiker when I do that? All the sidewalks have cutouts, so I don't have to get off the bike to get up on the sidewalk. I am inexperienced. Cars make me nervous because I am a nurse. I see the aftermath of bike versus car. It is never pretty. I don't want to be one of them.

    My favorite rides are on the dedicated bike paths because there are NO cars. I am also very careful going by blind driveways. I have even been known to ride the sidewalks on particularly busy streets that lack a bike lane. It is legal to ride on the sidewalks in California, but I understand it isn't allowed in some states? Luckily, most of the streets around me have bike lanes. Many even have exclusive bike lanes outside of the car parking lane. Those are the absolute best because I know the cars can see me well, I don't have to veer out of the lane to go around a parked car and they are free of road debris and tree roots because they aren't on the edge of the street.


    YES! You were very lucky, thank goodness. Thanks for the reminder. In the mean time- I will continue to be a wimp when it comes to cars. Sidewalks are cool.

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