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Old 01-22-12, 05:55 PM   #1
WPeabody 
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The dilemma of parking lots

Was wondering how bent riders deal with being seen in parking lots, to avoid being backed over as you pass by parked cars, or not get hit when you try to turn out of a line of cars entering the lot, to the bike rack in front of a store, at say, a large mall? I cannot see oncoming cars, so I have to edge slowly out until the driver sees me and likely honks on the horn because I startled them. I also travel in the center of the parking lanes so I have some space when people do back out, but sometimes I get passed by cars in the lane, and there's oncoming traffic.

In spite of high viz clothing, yellow pannier covers, flashing lights and flags, I've had a few close calls, and have to proceed rather slowly, watching for backup lights, but sometimes I'm taken by surprise because I can't see the cars that have drivers in them. Yet, sometimes I have to get through this parking lot to get to where i'm going. I really don't want to leave my trike too far away, such as near the entrance of the lot.
I have to sort of sit up and eyeball everyone, and wave my arms, and yell a few times to get their attention.
Kind of nerve wracking...
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Old 01-22-12, 07:03 PM   #2
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To be honest, I try to stay out of them. But I've almost been T-boned twice in the past two weeks by cars at 4-way stop signs.

Would it be wise to dismount at difficult intersections?
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Old 01-22-12, 07:24 PM   #3
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i always make sure to stop and stand up at intersections so all cars can see me. havent had mine in a parking lot and i dont think i will give it a try. seems like an easy way to create and accident
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Old 01-22-12, 11:18 PM   #4
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It's not really intersections that I have trouble with though, since the drivers are pretty much facing me, and I can see them. It's riding through the parking lot along the lanes, and people suddenly backing out of a spot, and not seeing me. I try to go when it's quiet, and there aren't so many cars, and avoid the lot when it's busy. All the same, I suppose stopping to stand up like a meercat would at least give me an assessment of the lane I'm about to go through. To see which cars have occupants in them, at least.
Or a bullhorn, "Recumbent coming through, please do not squash me, thank you..." The only time I want to draw attention to myself is when I am riding.
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Old 01-23-12, 06:39 AM   #5
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Common sense would tell you to ride in the middle of the aisle, where you're at least a bit more visible and have a little more reaction space. Stick to the main feeders, go slower, and be super-vigilant. The legal speed limit in parking lots can be as low as 5 mph, so you're not obstructing other traffic at that speed. If someone catches you in a dangerous situation, don't be afraid of hollering at them. A loud "Stop! will usually have the desired effect; although you might have to stand up so they can see where the sound came from! With all that said, my lowracer is used mostly on the open road. If you have the luxury of a second 'bent, the taller one might be better for crowded parking lots. I would not rely on a flag, as motorists are just as likely as not to miss seeing it - and besides, it's behind you!
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Old 01-23-12, 11:27 AM   #6
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I also ride in the middle of the aisle. I am nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs the whole time, also. I try to pick the shortest route through the parking lot. I try to pick the aisle with the least activity.
I have found something worse than parking lots in the daytime. That's parking lots at night. Never again if I can help it.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:32 PM   #7
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I try to work the edges only of parking lots. That way you only have traffic coming at you from (hopefully) one side. Plus, I'm quick to take to the super-wide sidewalks too, unless there are a lot of people walking at that time.
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Old 01-23-12, 02:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the input, much appreciated.
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Old 01-23-12, 02:43 PM   #9
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Quote: i always make sure to stop and stand up at intersections so all cars can see me.

The OP has a trike so this advice isn't very useful. I have an Airzounds horn on my trike and am not afraid to use it if I think someone may exit a parking space without looking, or seems to be inattentive. Scanning the cars for brake lights and for someone in the driver's seat helps. If the car is empty, there is no danger.
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Old 01-23-12, 08:00 PM   #10
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Seldom bicycle through/in parking lots but appreciate the OP's concerns. Even in a car, I feel far more at-risk of being involved in an accident in a parking lot compared to the road.
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Old 01-24-12, 10:39 AM   #11
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The Airzounds is starting to sound better and better.
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Old 01-24-12, 03:25 PM   #12
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Well, today I rode down the middle of the lane, where I could see most of the cars were empty, except for the tinted window SUVs. When the backup lights went on in one car, I yelled "I'm behind you, don't back up! Thanks!" That seemed to work pretty well. To be clear, I do have a loud voice, so much so that my son said basic training didn't really phase him because I could yell louder than most drill sergeants, so he was used to it. Ha.
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