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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 04-14-12, 04:13 PM   #1
vic303
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Sometimes its not the driver's fault...

Sometimes it is the cyclist's fault, and today it was my turn to have a brainfart that just about got me squished like a bug...I had a rockhauler (18wheeler) on my tail thru a narrow section of two lane road, so I was owning the lane. I knew just ahead, past the bridge over the creek, there was a stub road that had a stop sign on my right where I could pull over to let the rockhauler past. On my left was southbound traffic that has no traffic control if they wish to stay on the main road I was on, or if they wish to merge off left to the stub road.

I got past the bridge, and pulled over going 15-20 probably, and visually fixated on the rockhauler and the traffic to my left...THAT was my near-fatal mistake! I never saw the small blue pickup coming from the right out of the shadows and trees. It is kind of a blind intersection. At the point he entered my vision, he was maybe 10ft away! He was fortunately stopping for the stopsign in front of him, and I screeched to a halt, broadside beside him (in the stub road southbound lane mind you...). His eyes were quite wide as he looked at me. I shrugged and made an apologetic gesture, and waved him on. Fortunately, no southbound traffic tried to occupy my spacetime continuum whilst I tried to get my heart rate down, and my brain back focused on what had just about happened.

Stupid stupid ME! It's called target fixation, and I was clearly too concerned with the rockhauler (who had tried earlier to pass me unsafely). Thank God, He looks after mad dogs and Englishmen...seeing as how I am a little bit of both!

Y'all be careful out there, ok?
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Old 04-14-12, 04:37 PM   #2
billydonn
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Glad you are okay... and point well made.
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Old 04-15-12, 10:17 AM   #3
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It happens to all of us, when you ride you've got your radar on 1000%, all it takes is a tiny bit of "let down" and "!@#$ happens"! Glad you came out unscathed, were all human and not perfect, all we can do is the best we can and hope to live to ride another day!
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Old 04-15-12, 12:12 PM   #4
Banded Krait
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Vic303,

Thank you for the informative post--in this way we can learn from your experience. I am glad you did not get into an accident. Your situation was very understandable--it had to be very stressful having a large 18-wheeler crawling up your a**, and of course you were looking for the first opportunity to pull over.
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Old 04-15-12, 02:21 PM   #5
Bikey Mikey
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Yeah, I try to constantly remind myself not to get tunnel vision and keep awareness of all the surroundings....doesn't always work.
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Old 04-17-12, 01:21 PM   #6
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hmmm ... thanks for sharing. I'm teaching my son to drive and I think I've learned something to pass on to him, the part about target fixation. thanks
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Old 04-17-12, 01:46 PM   #7
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Glad you can point that out because there are plenty of bike riders that think they are always right....because they are on a bike.
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Old 04-17-12, 09:27 PM   #8
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Great post.

We really ought to talk more about our near-misses (near hits?) -- it helps breed safety awareness.

I know the next time I focus on the big vehicle behind me, in the back of my mind I'll be thinking of this post, and hopefully that will help me maintain awareness of the ENTIRE situation around me, not just the biggest, nearest threat.

My $0.02

-Tom in SoCal
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Old 04-17-12, 09:38 PM   #9
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A couple of days ago I was entering a road - two lanes of a four lane road, and was fixated on the black car coming in the lane into which I planned to turn.

Well, that black car turned into my street, and I entered the lane, totally missing the other black car in the center lane. When I did turn, he was right there. No, not a near miss, but I kicked myself for not noticing the other car, and if I had turned a bit wide, it would have been a near miss or ????. Shook me up a bit.
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