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Not a city rider so not sure what I did wrong but could use some feedback

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Not a city rider so not sure what I did wrong but could use some feedback

Old 06-12-16, 09:47 PM
  #1  
hilltowner
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Not a city rider so not sure what I did wrong but could use some feedback

I live and ride in a fairly rural part of Mass. so don't get much practice riding on busy streets but for a week recently I was in Cincy and blessed with the loan of a sweet Trek 720. I was putting it through its paces up near the U.C. campus on a couple of one way parallel streets. I crossed from one to another and pulled out into traffic alongside a Subaru Outback. The driver looked at me before we entered the traffic stream and I was actually out and turning before him so I was pretty sure he was aware of my presence but a moment later he was braking, pulling right and aiming for a parking space. The total distance we traveled was about 50-60 feet. Not technically a right hook but more like a right squeeze. I braked, but not fast enough to avoid contact with the right rear fender of his car. I was able to bring the bike to a stop and as he moved forward fell to my left since I had been leaning that way to counter the push I was getting from the car.

I'm not sure how I could have avoided it but since, of the two of us, he was the only one who knew his intention to grab a parking space I was essentially relying on him using his judgement knowing of my presence to his immediate right to get his space without cutting me off but obviously that was a naive assumption. There were a number of witnesses to the contact and many inquired after my well being. The driver, on the other hand, just got out of his car, stared at me for a second and saying nothing, turned away and went into a restaurant. Perhaps he was trying to avoid any indication that he was at fault. He certainly gave me that impression. Was I being schooled for ignorant riding?

Here is a Google image of the spot. I'm the red line he's the yellow. What should I do differently next time?

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Old 06-12-16, 10:54 PM
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use a U-lock on his windshield?
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Old 06-13-16, 05:39 AM
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I don't have a complete picture of what happened, but here are two scenarios that I do, but one common thing I do is take the lane from a stop at a sign, light or even a yield sign. Hopefully one of these covers what happened to you.

Since we cyclists are much faster than cars from a stopped position I like to be in front and take off (in the middle of the lane) and as the speed increases, then I move (FRAP) over.

However, if I'm in a long line and moving to the front is not an option (or if I'm feeling weak that day), I get in line and start off at the same speed as the traffic, but you must be very mindful that you cannot stop as fast as cars, so you gotta always have your hands on the brake and never look for signals, since many motorists don't use them, then I FRAP at an appropriate speed.

Although, you gotta always be looking out for cars coming from behind (in your mirror) for doing an un-signaled turn, I do this basically by monitoring speed of the vehicle. And if my speed puts me close to a car in front, I take the lane and prepare to brake.
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Old 06-13-16, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
I live and ride in a fairly rural part of Mass. so don't get much practice riding on busy streets but for a week recently I was in Cincy and blessed with the loan of a sweet Trek 720. I was putting it through its paces up near the U.C. campus on a couple of one way parallel streets. I crossed from one to another and pulled out into traffic alongside a Subaru Outback. The driver looked at me before we entered the traffic stream and I was actually out and turning before him so I was pretty sure he was aware of my presence but a moment later he was braking, pulling right and aiming for a parking space. The total distance we traveled was about 50-60 feet. Not technically a right hook but more like a right squeeze. I braked, but not fast enough to avoid contact with the right rear fender of his car. I was able to bring the bike to a stop and as he moved forward fell to my left since I had been leaning that way to counter the push I was getting from the car.

I'm not sure how I could have avoided it but since, of the two of us, he was the only one who knew his intention to grab a parking space I was essentially relying on him using his judgement knowing of my presence to his immediate right to get his space without cutting me off but obviously that was a naive assumption. There were a number of witnesses to the contact and many inquired after my well being. The driver, on the other hand, just got out of his car, stared at me for a second and saying nothing, turned away and went into a restaurant. Perhaps he was trying to avoid any indication that he was at fault. He certainly gave me that impression. Was I being schooled for ignorant riding?

Here is a Google image of the spot. I'm the red line he's the yellow. What should I do differently next time?

Well, now you know why city riding sucks.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:36 AM
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He saw you in the sense that the light reflecting from your body was visible to his eye, but the parts of his brain that controlled his actions did not acknowledge your presence. Not much you can do about it except ride defensively. And, by the way, it can happen anywhere. More than once, while riding in rural settings, I have had people pass me and then pull over in front of me to check out a garage sale. I even nearly got doored while riding through Yellowstone N.P. Dude passed me then pulled over to the right and swung open his door to get out of the car to see what someone believed to be a moose up on a hill. Despite seeing me with his eyes , to his mind I didn't exist. Neither did the moose.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:58 AM
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Some of the nicest folks live in rural Massachusetts. General courtesy, "good day", letting cyclists have the right of way are usually standards. Welcome to the urban world of jerks. This kind of stuff goes on by the minutes, and repeated thousands of times here in NYC on a daily basis. He caused you to get hurt (?), walked away without a whiff which is pro forma for aggressive car jerks. Take him to court for damages. Let see if he thinks twice about just walking away the next time he cuts someone off.
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Old 06-13-16, 08:13 AM
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With the motorist showing that much lack of concern, and there were several witness to the collision, I would have reported the incident to the law enforcement agency, that had jurisdiction of the area, at that time.
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Old 06-13-16, 08:25 AM
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You didn't really do anything wrong, it's his job to make sure he can move right safely.

That said, two things can help you defensively...

1) Don't pace cars to the right. They are stupid and will do stupid things at the stupidest time possible. YOU must expect this. Accelerate ahead or drop back. Cars passing you is OK. But when you are at the same speed, that is when you need to be most cautious. Of course be aware that they may pass you and then cut you off too.

2) Ride wide around parallel and nose in parking spots along the road. Just take the lane. We've got these on S. Congress. There's a ton a bicycle traffic, but cars will just shoot for a spot if they see one or back out right in front of you. Expect stupid and position yourself accordingly.
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Old 06-13-16, 08:36 AM
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hilltowner
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
You didn't really do anything wrong, it's his job to make sure he can move right safely.

That said, two things can help you defensively...

1) Don't pace cars to the right. They are stupid and will do stupid things at the stupidest time possible. YOU must expect this. Accelerate ahead or drop back. Cars passing you is OK. But when you are at the same speed, that is when you need to be most cautious. Of course be aware that they may pass you and then cut you off too.

2) Ride wide around parallel and nose in parking spots along the road. Just take the lane. We've got these on S. Congress. There's a ton a bicycle traffic, but cars will just shoot for a spot if they see one or back out right in front of you. Expect stupid and position yourself accordingly.
Thanks everyone for the comments. I'm still on the steep side of the learning curve for city riding. This is all good advice.
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Old 06-13-16, 08:47 AM
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I'm not completely sure what you did, let alone did wrong, but any time a car passes in an unnecessary rush I start slowing down to get a little room in case they pull something.
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Old 06-13-16, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
You didn't really do anything wrong, it's his job to make sure he can move right safely.

That said, two things can help you defensively...

1) Don't pace cars to the right. They are stupid and will do stupid things at the stupidest time possible. YOU must expect this. Accelerate ahead or drop back. Cars passing you is OK. But when you are at the same speed, that is when you need to be most cautious. Of course be aware that they may pass you and then cut you off too.
Given that you are absolutely correct with respect to the bolded, I am not sure that your first sentence is accurate. The o.p. most definitely did do something wrong. Its ok to say that, even if he seems to be a nice, upstanding and likeable o.p. Wrong is wrong and can get you killed, and there is no "learning curve" when the stakes are that high. There is absolutely zero chance I would be involved in that kind of situation on a loaner bike or my own for that matter. And I didn't have to have close calls to teach me important life lessons.
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Old 06-13-16, 09:52 AM
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driver apparently had 'target fixation'...fighter pilots have been known to fly into what they were aiming at.

driver's focus was on getting the parking space, not you.

either take the lane in front of a vehicle or fall in behind.
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Old 06-13-16, 09:58 AM
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Two wheelers don't register with some four-wheelers. Same with motorcycles -- I had at least as many near misses riding a motorcycle. And most of the times I was struck by a car was from behind while stopped at an intersection -- fortunately all at slow speed, and every time the driver swore they didn't see me. They weren't trying to run the light or the stop sign, they were trying to nose up to the line and actually seemed to regard me as invisible.

I think there are three major factors at play here, in terms of time-flow:
  1. Two wheeled vehicles are almost invisible amid the clutter and multiple distractions of an urban and some suburban environments (along with mobile devices and other distractions). They really don't see us. (There are studies that confirm this.)
  2. They see us and take us in among the myriad distractions, but we don't register as a threat so we're relegated to a lesser priority, along with pedestrians, animals and other soft objects that can't do them much harm or damage their vehicles. I don't believe this is a conscious, deliberate decision to do us harm. It's a split second decision based on their perceptions of threats to themselves, to their vehicles and risk of financial losses in terms of personal harm, vehicle damage, insurance and legal liability. We simply don't rank high enough on their instantaneous threat perception decisions.
  3. Given enough time -- a few moments -- most people's empathy and sense of civic duty will kick in and they will consciously choose to accommodate us. This doesn't come naturally to many folks and it usually requires a conscious choice, which can take more than a split second.


I just assume I'm invisible. If we make eye contact, I still assume they will forge ahead with their own intentions unless I see clear hand signals from them waving me ahead. If I don't see such unambiguous signals, I brake and take evasive maneuvers. At intersections where there's any doubt, I'll take both feet off the pedals, wave the car ahead, or stand there with my arms crossed or off the handlebar to clearly indicate I'm not going anywhere until the car clears the intersection.

When I was much younger and cycle commuted in urban areas I had a short fuse and very little patience for inattentive or rude drivers. I just don't sweat it much anymore.
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Old 06-13-16, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Given that you are absolutely correct with respect to the bolded, I am not sure that your first sentence is accurate. The o.p. most definitely did do something wrong. Its ok to say that, even if he seems to be a nice, upstanding and likeable o.p. Wrong is wrong and can get you killed, and there is no "learning curve" when the stakes are that high. There is absolutely zero chance I would be involved in that kind of situation on a loaner bike or my own for that matter. And I didn't have to have close calls to teach me important life lessons.

I meant specifically he did nothing wrong as illegally breaking the laws of the road.

In a perfect world where auto drivers were paying attention, that would be sufficient.

I can see that you would consider "not driving defensively" enough as "wrong", but I try to not take that approach.
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