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  1. #1
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Buzzed Again, Having Second Thoughts

    How frequently do you encounter motorist that give you concern for your safety?

    Two nights ago, commuting home late night (work 3 - 11 pm), empty road, good visibility, bike has 2 lights rear and two in front, with reflective clothing and tires, an white SUV traveling over 55 mph crossed over the white line to buzz me. It felt like this SUV passed within a foot, more likely 2 feet..... could have reached out and touched the vehicle.

    Does this happen to you? Are you overly concerned for your safety? Do you ever have second thoughts?

    I've had this happen before on other roads, plus other road hazing. But geez, why would anyone want to intentionally harass and potentially hurt someone?

    Family and friends frequently tell me I'm crazy and shake their heads. And we all have read the stories about cyclist injured or killed on the road. I wonder, are we an accident waiting to happen, where the odds are stacked against us?

    I don't want to become a statistic, but relying on other people to watch out for me, maybe that is asking to much. Really, I'm placing my well being and longevity in someone else's hands every time I'm riding on the road.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    How do you know that he saw you?

    I had a small car do that to me.

    The car contained on by staying over the White Line.

    I feel that they Never saw me with my Dinnotte Tail Light in the 5 Strobe Pause Mode.
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 04-10-13 at 02:08 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I've read that helmet cam evidence turned in to police often nets negative results for the motorists.

  4. #4
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    I never ride at night. By far, most of the people who I've heard about being killed while riding were riding at night.

  5. #5
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
    I never ride at night. By far, most of the people who I've heard about being killed while riding were riding at night.
    Most night fatalities are bicycles without lights. I personally feel safer being well light on a quiet road at night than being on a busy road during the day.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  6. #6
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    I was really worried about this, and installed a GoPro on my bike.

    But I almost never use it. Maybe I should.

    No question we live in a more violent, coarse nation than we did two decades ago. Or not. Maybe with the Information Highway we just hear about every single item of psychopathology that happens on this planet.

    A few days ago a motorist swerved over the yellow line and was pointing in my direction. As the car got closer, I could tell it was just a woman who was engaged in an animated cellphone conversation. Thank goodness.

  7. #7
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    My morning commute to work is always in the dark and while I have had passing cars come close, I've never felt it was an intentional "buzz" as you've experienced. I've never been actually touched by a car (side mirrors are what I fear most!), but some have come mightly close!

    Life experience wise, the closest I've been to motor traffic was riding through downtown Paris (the City Hall) to have our route books stamped at the start of Paris-Brest-Paris in '91. The cars were coming so close, we cyclists joked that they gave us "4 mm per side" and no more! Scary, but somehow we all made it! Round-abouts in Paris not fun at all on a bicycle . . .

    Rick / OCRR

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    crossed over the line? you mean from the opposite direction? nasty!!!

    55mph? I would not travel that road for a commute.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  9. #9
    fueled by chocolate milk Fishmonger's Avatar
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    This won't help, but I don't ride at night. Morning and afternoon are fine, but I try to be home by 5:30 PM - after that is the only time I have close calls.

  10. #10
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Having second thoughts is good. Letting fear rule your life... well, each of us have to make our own choices. Every time I interact with people I know the potential for harm exists, as does the potential for good. Unfortunately the answer to your question, "...why would anyone want to intentionally harass and potentially hurt someone?", has no easy answer. This was in the news today: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...r-8567296.html I hope it doesn't stop people from wanting to be students, much in the same way I hope your experience doesn't stop you from wanting to be a cyclist.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  11. #11
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Distracted driving is a big problem. Motorhome? There are a lot of people that shouldn't be driving and then they climb into a motorhome with a couple of dogs and a pile of kids. It's scary. You can hear the differance between a car and a truck. Turn your head and see what's coming.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Target fixation most likely.

    We have all seen videos of drunks running into police cars that have pulled someone over in the night.

    An old friend rode double centuries at night in the high desert with the LA Wheelmen in the '80s.
    They chose near full moon nights to do these events and never used reflectors/lights, head or tail because of target fixation.
    The percentage of drunk drivers on the road gets crazy between 12 & 3am. Drunks get target fixation big time, as do those taking mind altering meds or just dog tired.

    My major MUP is 1.5 miles from the apt and I love riding it at dark am or pm but get nervous on the street getting to or from it.

    Best of luck and do not worry those close to you about close calls.

  13. #13
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Ride with a helmet mirror. Get in the habit of scanning it, which will become automatic, and pay attention to sounds, which will tell you of an approaching car. Ride on the white line. You then have lots of room to give yourself another couple feet, plus you have less door risk.

    I ride at night all the time. There are more drunks and tired drivers. So you have to be more careful, which includes not letting a car surprise you as it passes. You want to have seen and be tracking it.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    All of the above and just poor night vision. Prior to having cataract surgery, my night vision was rapidly decreasing. I've never intentionally ridden my bike at night. IMHO it dramatically increases your chances of misadventure.

    A little clearer (maybe)... I know what it's like to have impaired night vision and, as a result, would not ride my bike at night where I may be on the road with people whose vision may be similarly impaired. Plus all the drunks, people on cell phones, screaming kids in the back, etc., etc.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  15. #15
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    I'm not questioning anybody's word, but I'm always skeptical of stories like this. I've been riding since college in 1970 or '71, from 750 to 4000 miles a year, in big cities and rural areas in half a dozen states, and I've had two unfriendly encounters. One was a car full of high school kids who threw a plastic Coke bottle at me, and another was a 30-something guy who thought I was blocking him (I'd moved into the traffic lane to avoid glass, AFTER looking back to see if it was clear). Of course it's possible I've been lucky for 30,000 or so miles, but I just don't believe those "He tried to hit me" stories. Drivers can't ALL have lousy aim.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    . Of course it's possible I've been lucky for 30,000 or so miles, but I just don't believe those "He tried to hit me" stories. Drivers can't ALL have lousy aim.
    I think you've been lucky. Which is great.

    I doubt that the drivers with whom I've had close calls were actually trying to hit me. Run me off the road? Sure. Make me grind to a halt and yield the ROW? Absolutely. These are the ones that definitely saw me. They were being jerks on purpose, and they got off on it. None of them hurt me. The only drivers that have hurt me are the ones that genuinely didn't see me. I still ride at night, but the OP is right that we're taking our lives in our hands. Anything can happen.

  17. #17
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Most night fatalities are bicycles without lights. I personally feel safer being well light on a quiet road at night than being on a busy road during the day.
    Too many drunks and senile little old ladies driving Cadillacs with their brake lights always on for me.

    And I've heard plenty of stories where cyclists were well lighted up and got killed from the guys I used to ride with.....They usually name memorial century rides after them.

  18. #18
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    The road is long and straight leading up to a curve. The SUV crossed over the white line marking the shoulder just before the curve, I was riding on the shoulder. All I really know for sure, is the vehicle passed very close and actually moved left and speed up after passing me. It appeared intentional.

    Well, maybe the people that say riding at night is to dangerous are right. I don't know. My experience has shown the exact opposite, though. I've had more people move way over, giving the impression they see me clearly. I believe this happens since there is less to distract a driver at night versus driving during the day. And during the day, drivers hardly give extra space or move over, plus there's a lot more cars. It appears these drivers don't see me until they're actually very close.

    I have an take-a-look mirror I use during the day, but never wear it at night. I need a bike mounted mirror for night use, think this would work better.

    I do appreciate all the thoughtful replies, thank you.

  19. #19
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
    Too many drunks and senile little old ladies driving Cadillacs with their brake lights always on for me.

    And I've heard plenty of stories where cyclists were well lighted up and got killed from the guys I used to ride with.....They usually name memorial century rides after them.
    Yes, people who do everything right can get hit at night. And yes, people who do everything right can get hit while riding during the day. And yes, people who do everything right can die when a sign at an airport falls on them.

    So, clearly, we should never leave our houses (except, of course, you're better of riding a bicycle than just sitting on a couch all day).

    I guess we're all just screwed.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  20. #20
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Ride with a helmet mirror. Get in the habit of scanning it, which will become automatic, and pay attention to sounds, which will tell you of an approaching car. Ride on the white line. You then have lots of room to give yourself another couple feet, plus you have less door risk.
    In my experience, the asshats who buzz me usually lean on their horns before they do it.

    The short courtesy toot before passing-----they'll usually at least straddle the center line, if not cross over to the other lane.

    The long, obnoxious blast followed by gunning the engine---hang on, and get as far to the right as possible.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Steve Sawyer's Avatar
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    Is there a perception that there is some hostility felt toward cyclists by some drivers?

    If so, is there any thought as to what the reason for the hostility is?

    I drive much more than I bike, and I've never (wait...that's a big word...let me think about that for a minute...nope "never" is right...) had any reason to feel annoyed by any cyclist. I do recall wondering why the pace lines on a local parkway seem to hug the edge of the roadway when they have this wide (8' maybe?) paved shoulder to ride on, but realized eventually that there is probably more debris the farther you are from the road. My concern was more for their safety from the occasional distracted driver who will drift over onto the shoulder, than any inconvenience I felt from their position.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Mountain Mitch's Avatar
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    Last year I was slowly road riding up a hill in my small town. I know at least half the people. A vehicle came around the corner wide and then stayed in my lane to 'buzz' me. I jumped off the bike and stood on the curb. The driver (didn't recognize him but he was local) realized I was a local and shouted out his 'apology' - "just a joke" - and drove off.

    This sort of incident is why I generally ride off road on a mountain bike. Sure you can get hurt but at least it isn't by a huge hunk of metal hurtling along with some careless/drunk/hostile/jerk operator. I have a sense of a bit more control over my fate.

  23. #23
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude;15494995[B
    ]I've read that helmet cam evidence turned in to police often nets negative results for the motorists.[/B]
    It may depend on were you live and local laws.
    But I sometimes ride with my Contour HD cam and I did get video of an SUV buzz me 12" or less! Freezing the video I could see the plate #.
    Ok so I upload HD video to my server and send a link to the local traffic division for that area with details time and my GPS data with my speed, time and location.
    I also provided a photo of the plate and video with time stamp of the time I was buzzed.
    Result was a detective contacted me said he was so glad I had a video cam as he rides also and is also a motor officer, but even with video like I had unless I was actually hit or verbally assaulted nothing could be done!?......
    I asked if he could at least be contacted and warned answer was sorry no.
    So I ask so you need to actually get struck, answer yes then that video would be of great help, if your around do do anything about it.
    I told the officer all I want to do is ride my bike and make it home to see the family and grandkids alive and in one piece, he said he understood fully but as the law is now in my area nothing at all could be done even with my video.
    Said is it not!!!!!
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    I don't ride during the week, preferring not to deal with commuters who are late for work. After two accidents with drivers who cut me off (once landing on the trunk of a car), I've decided to get my exercise on a stationary bike. I do venture out early in the mornings on weekends when bikers are more numerous and I can stay with a group. Much more visible that way. I was lucky not to be severely injured but why push my luck. It's my opinion that for road riders who put on a lot of miles, sooner or later, there will be an incident.
    I also like riding in events but even then I remember a driver who seemed enraged that there were a number of riders on a road who were slowing him down. Most people are courteous but some are aholes. It's not pleasurable worrying about them.
    The trick to life is to keep moving.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sawyer View Post
    Is there a perception that there is some hostility felt toward cyclists by some drivers?

    If so, is there any thought as to what the reason for the hostility is?
    Last night, had a heated conversation with a co-worker. Good thing is, we both eventually calmed down enough to be civil.

    His complaint; that cyclist should never impede the flow of traffic. He thought it was wrong for bicyclist to ride down the center of the street, in town, making him wait for them. He said they should ride on the sidewalk. And that roads where made for vehicle traffic, not bikes.

    I explained; there is a city ordinance preventing bikes on the sidewalk and the sidewalk is for pedestrians. And besides, drivers usually aren't impeded that long. Bicyclist have a right to ride on the road and motorist are required to share the road with them. True, most roads were not built with bicyclist in mind, but times have changed with peoples interest in cycling growing for many reasons.

    I could tell, he still felt entitled and didn't fully buy into the idea of sharing the road. At least maybe he'll think and be more courteous knowing two of his co-workers are avid cyclist.

    If I lived near trails and the mountains, I'd ride a mountain bike more. But I don't, stuck in the city, I ride a road bike and commute to work by bike. At least most days, biking has been safe and rewarding.

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