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First time biking, already nearly got hit by a cop. Advice for future treks?

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First time biking, already nearly got hit by a cop. Advice for future treks?

Old 07-14-16, 05:50 PM
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RaeK
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First time biking, already nearly got hit by a cop. Advice for future treks?

Today was literally my first time biking and I nearly got taken out by, of all things, a cop. I'm not sure what I did wrong. I was going along just fine, it was a straight shot down the road to the store. I get to the light before my left, I take my time approaching it. There are about a half dozen cars so I signal that I'm needing to get into the lane for a left. No one wants to let me in. I think I see a shot, I go over, and the cop tries to go around/through me, partially in the center lane himself, not because he needs to turn, just not apparently wanting me on the road because he has to slow down for a few beats.

One of my reasons for not having a bike since I moved is a severe anxiety regarding traffic, especially here where I've been nearly hit crossing the street in a crosswalk in plain view. What should I be doing in a case where no one wants to let me cross? Just stop and wait?
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Old 07-14-16, 06:42 PM
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Sounds like a punishment pass by the cop (a too close pass by a jerk driver to let you know how unhappy they are and how worthless their life is).
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Old 07-14-16, 06:48 PM
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I am a very seasoned inner city rider. Yesterday I was trying to make a left. To do so I had to cross two lanes, which is almost never a problem. Apparently there was a road closed or something and there were dozens of cars where I rarely see a few. Anyway I could see no way I could safely get accrost both lanes and turn left. So I gave up trying to make the left and turned right. I went down the street to the parking lot, turned around and caught the very next light. I lost less than a minute and did not cause any drivers to avoid me and I was as safe as I could possibly be. I could go on for hours telling you the things I have learned to be safe on the road, and I learn new stuff all the time, just try to be as safe as you can be all the time.
Originally Posted by RaeK View Post
Today was literally my first time biking and I nearly got taken out by, of all things, a cop. I'm not sure what I did wrong. I was going along just fine, it was a straight shot down the road to the store. I get to the light before my left, I take my time approaching it. There are about a half dozen cars so I signal that I'm needing to get into the lane for a left. No one wants to let me in. I think I see a shot, I go over, and the cop tries to go around/through me, partially in the center lane himself, not because he needs to turn, just not apparently wanting me on the road because he has to slow down for a few beats.

One of my reasons for not having a bike since I moved is a severe anxiety regarding traffic, especially here where I've been nearly hit crossing the street in a crosswalk in plain view. What should I be doing in a case where no one wants to let me cross? Just stop and wait?
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Old 07-14-16, 06:54 PM
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If traffic is heavy or uncomfortably fast, I might ride straight through the light on the right or in the right lane to get through the intersection and then stop and line up on the cross street to go through the intersection when that light turns green. Depending on how the lights are timed, it might even be faster.
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Old 07-14-16, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by L134 View Post
If traffic is heavy or uncomfortably fast, I might ride straight through the light on the right or in the right lane to get through the intersection and then stop and line up on the cross street to go through the intersection when that light turns green. Depending on how the lights are timed, it might even be faster.
Agreed. This method, sometimes called a 'pedestrian-style' left turn, is my fall-back when there's so much traffic that I can't safely make it over to the proper lane for a regular 'vehicular' left turn.

The OPs thread title caught my eye since I just had a close call with a police car earlier today. We were going opposite directions and both stopped for a stop sign. We then both started going at the same time but he surprised me by making a left turn directly into my path (no turn signal). Seems like I've had a higher percentage of close calls with police than with other drivers - but no actual collisions with them yet.
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Old 07-14-16, 07:24 PM
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Cops are people too. It distrust all motorist equally. And just because they appear to be looking at you, doesn't mean they see you.
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Old 07-14-16, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by making View Post
Originally Posted by RaeK View Post
Today was literally my first time biking and I nearly got taken out by, of all things, a cop. I'm not sure what I did wrong. I was going along just fine, it was a straight shot down the road to the store. I get to the light before my left, I take my time approaching it. There are about a half dozen cars so I signal that I'm needing to get into the lane for a left. No one wants to let me in. I think I see a shot, I go over, and the cop tries to go around/through me, partially in the center lane himself, not because he needs to turn, just not apparently wanting me on the road because he has to slow down for a few beats.

One of my reasons for not having a bike since I moved is a severe anxiety regarding traffic, especially here where I've been nearly hit crossing the street in a crosswalk in plain view. What should I be doing in a case where no one wants to let me cross? Just stop and wait?
I am a very seasoned inner city rider. Yesterday I was trying to make a left. To do so I had to cross two lanes, which is almost never a problem. Apparently there was a road closed or something and there were dozens of cars where I rarely see a few. Anyway I could see no way I could safely get across both lanes and turn left. So I gave up trying to make the left and turned right. I went down the street to the parking lot, turned around and caught the very next light. I lost less than a minute and did not cause any drivers to avoid me and I was as safe as I could possibly be. I could go on for hours telling you the things I have learned to be safe on the road, and I learn new stuff all the time, just try to be as safe as you can be all the time.
I have also turned right in order to turn left.
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Old 07-14-16, 08:41 PM
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I wouldn't read too much into it. Maybe he just didn't see you. Cops are the very definition of "distracted driver". They're continually distracted by multiple devices in their vehicles. It's a wonder they're not involved in more accidents, but usually they do pretty well considering their attention must be divided in order to do their jobs.
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Old 07-14-16, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by L134 View Post
If traffic is heavy or uncomfortably fast, I might ride straight through the light on the right or in the right lane to get through the intersection and then stop and line up on the cross street to go through the intersection when that light turns green. Depending on how the lights are timed, it might even be faster.
I'll do that on occasion. It is easy enough to hop the rear end of the bike over and be pointed in the right direction for the next light.

I do have one left turn on a T intersection without a convenient crossing light. I try to plan ahead and pull over into the left lane when traffic is clear... or at times even the left sidewalk (divided/one-way bridge).

If I completely miss it, I'll just pull off to the right, wait for the traffic to clear, then proceed on my way.
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Old 07-14-16, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by making View Post
Cops are people too. It distrust all motorist equally.
Must be a Georgia thing.
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Old 07-14-16, 11:00 PM
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Cyclists and truck drivers (happen to be both) have to play the game a few moves deeper than car drivers. You can't wait for the last minute to get over to the lane you need, you often have to move over much sooner than you would in a car since you can't rely on gaps to form at the proper time (and almost no one wants to let a bike or a truck go in front of them, so you need a gap). If that's too much trouble, then you can always to the pedestrian-left, but that means you're in/near the intersection more than double the time, which is double the exposure to the most dangerous place to be in urban riding.
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Old 07-15-16, 07:07 AM
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Hi, welcome to bikeforums. I invite you to take a look at the commuting forum where there is a lot of discussion about biking in traffic. I also will turn right to turn left in heavy traffic. It's like the New Jersey jug handle left turns for cars. As you bike more in your area you will learn which streets are more bike friendly. SOmetimes a slightly longer alternate route is safer and more scenic.
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Old 07-15-16, 09:14 AM
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I've gone so far as to dismount & cross as a pedestrian waiting for proper traffic signals for pedestrians, etc. there's a bad intersection at the end of the Minuteman MUP in Arlington. just smarter /safer to get off at that point, especially when my 1/2-way turn-around coffee-shop destination is just after the intersection

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Old 07-15-16, 10:28 AM
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You want advice? Here
You are NOT A CAR.
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Old 07-15-16, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I've gone so far as to dismount & cross as a pedestrian waiting for proper traffic signals for pedestrians, etc. there's a bad intersection at the end of the Minuteman MUP in Arlington. just smarter /safer to get off at that point, especially when my 1/2-way turn-around coffee-shop destination is just after the intersection
I'd do it this way, if waiting at the bikeway for a clear shot at the left turn lane doesn't work. I'd rather be in the left turn lane. Failing that, cross with traffic and stop at the through lane on the cross street and wait for the light. Last resort, cross-walk to sidewalk as a pedestrian.
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Old 07-16-16, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I wouldn't read too much into it. Maybe he just didn't see you. Cops are the very definition of "distracted driver". They're continually distracted by multiple devices in their vehicles. It's a wonder they're not involved in more accidents, but usually they do pretty well considering their attention must be divided in order to do their jobs.
I tend to be more wary in anticipating what the driver of a police car will do. There are few times when all of their focus is on driving.
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Old 07-16-16, 06:57 AM
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On double lane roads with lots of traffic (particularly trucks) it can be daunting to get into the left turn lane. When it doesn't feel safe to me, I just go to the light and cross as a pedestrian. Simpler and safer.
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Old 07-24-16, 04:21 PM
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My advice , not what anyone else would tell you, but just try to ride on the sidewalks for the first two or three months, get used to the traffic conditions before trying to "take the Lane"...

Secondly, when you are in the road, don't argue about the right-of-way with Trucks, Buses, or Emergency Vehicles (anything with flashing lights). Let them go first.

My 2
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Old 07-24-16, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by RaeK View Post
Today was literally my first time biking and I nearly got taken out by, of all things, a cop. I'm not sure what I did wrong. I was going along just fine, it was a straight shot down the road to the store. I get to the light before my left, I take my time approaching it. There are about a half dozen cars so I signal that I'm needing to get into the lane for a left. No one wants to let me in. I think I see a shot, I go over, and the cop tries to go around/through me, partially in the center lane himself, not because he needs to turn, just not apparently wanting me on the road because he has to slow down for a few beats.

One of my reasons for not having a bike since I moved is a severe anxiety regarding traffic, especially here where I've been nearly hit crossing the street in a crosswalk in plain view. What should I be doing in a case where no one wants to let me cross? Just stop and wait?
In your case, where is 'here'?

If you live in Portland(Oregon). You are in better shape than if you lived in the DC-Metro region, or in New York City.
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