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Two Seconds

Old 05-19-19, 06:40 AM
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Paul Barnard
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Two Seconds

Standing in my front yard this morning I saw an uncomfortably close call. There's an older (55-60ish) fitness nut that runs and cycles past my house on a near daily basis. When he bikes, he rides an older steel bike, and he keeps a fast pace. This is a residential area with a lot of stop signs. I find it a miserable place to try to get in a good fitness ride. Nonetheless this guy does it.

I have never seen him stop for a stop sign. In fact he rarely slows for them much at all. I rarely stop for a stop sign in the neighborhood, but I slow enough that if a car is coming I can stop. I have always felt like at the speed he travels he is not expecting cars to be coming and couldn't react in time if one was coming.

I saw him approaching the stop sign in front of my house. It's a T intersection. Vehicles on the perpendicular road have no stop. A jet was flying overhead at the time. He set up for the right turn by swinging wide into the oncoming lane. I am guessing he was doing 17-18 MPH. A Toyota Tacoma was approaching the intersection at a 90 degree angle. The cyclist's view of the Tacoma was obscured by my neighbors house. By the time the cyclist saw the Tacoma, he was into the intersection. The Tacoma braked. The rider did as well and I could tell from the awkwardness of his reaction he was caught off guard. He wobbled and rode all the way across the perpendicular road into that oncoming lane. Had the truck been two seconds earlier there is no doubt in my mind this would have been a crash. The cyclist doesn't wear a helmet.

Our roads are concrete and cars traveling at the speed limit make a good bit of noise. I suspect the cyclist uses his ears when approaching the intersection. I do as well, but never rely on them exclusively. What if a bike is coming? In this case I think the jet flying overhead obscured his hearing. I guess there are several safety lessons here. If you are going to roll a stop you need to be prepared to stop in the event another car is coming. Even early on a lazy Sunday morning you can't count on no other traffic being present. While your ears can give you useful information, there are obviously times they can't tell a complete story.

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Old 05-19-19, 07:30 AM
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Electric cars have snuck up on me as they make significantly less noise as well.
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Old 05-19-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Even early on a lazy Sunday morning you can't count on no other traffic being present.
I've biked to work most days for 27 years. In my 30s I felt as invincible as I did as a kid in Chicago. (Truth be told, I should have ended as a smudge on Lincoln Avenue back in the late 1960s). But some time in my 30s, enough close calls taught me to not "out ride my brakes" and always "leave an out" and to always "expect the unexpected".

And when I discovered bikeforums in the mid 2000's I learned strategies and attitudes for safer riding.

Whatever satisfaction I've lost from not biking with total abandon is somewhat made for up by the satisfaction and smugness of knowing I am biking smarter than the average, more casual cyclist. It's kinda ego-centric, but it keeps me safer.

@Paul Barnard thanks for sharing. It's this kind of story and reminder that helps us all ride more safely. And thank goodness it didn't end worse or that you had to witness anything like that.
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Old 05-19-19, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BK84 View Post
Electric cars have snuck up on me as they make significantly less noise as well.
I have to remind myself sometimes. Electric cars, some scooters and bicycles won't make much noise. The roads in my neighborhood are rough concrete, so the tire slap is pretty pronounced. I guess that's what he is relying on.
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Old 05-19-19, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I've biked to work most days for 27 years. In my 30s I felt as invincible as I did as a kid in Chicago. (Truth be told, I should have ended as a smudge on Lincoln Avenue back in the late 1960s). But some time in my 30s, enough close calls taught me to not "out ride my brakes" and always "leave an out" and to always "expect the unexpected".

And when I discovered bikeforums in the mid 2000's I learned strategies and attitudes for safer riding.

Whatever satisfaction I've lost from not biking with total abandon is somewhat made for up by the satisfaction and smugness of knowing I am biking smarter than the average, more casual cyclist. It's kinda ego-centric, but it keeps me safer.

@Paul Barnard thanks for sharing. It's this kind of story and reminder that helps us all ride more safely. And thank goodness it didn't end worse or that you had to witness anything like that.
Good strategy. The problem is with enough traffic that "out" is not always there to be found. Same with driving. You can leave space in front of you and so ****** will move in to fill it.

I love it when someone ways "just stay out of the door zone" as it there's no other cars or traffic around you. People on your right won't move out of the way or look out for you if a car or truck forces you in that direction. Riding is dynamic and sometimes you only have as fraction of a second to choose the lesser of two evils.

In the case above, they individual is middle-age so its not likely he will take to any suggestions. And if he's been riding for a while that you'd be telling him anything he doesn't already know. Hopefully, this near accident experience will be enough to teach him better.

BTW, that wasn't' a personal comment aimed at you. Rather, a general statement base on a general perspective that a good segment of cyclist have.
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Old 05-19-19, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
BTW, that wasn't' a personal comment aimed at you. Rather, a general statement base on a general perspective that a good segment of cyclist have.
That's whatI figured, but this being an internet forum, it never hurts to make sure there's no room for misinterpretation.
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Old 05-19-19, 01:41 PM
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Always with this, "The cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet."
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Old 05-19-19, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
"leave an out"
Sage advice. Always try to have a place to bail if needed. Sadly, whenever I think about that, I look to see a barbed wire fence along the side of the road.
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Old 05-19-19, 02:02 PM
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Tacoma was coming from cyclist's left, correct?

Some people think it's safe to run stop signs or red lights that they'd stop for if they were in their car. I have never understood this. I ride my bike the exact same way I would drive my car, WRT stop signs, red lights, and signalling (mostly, it's harder to signal on a bike in some situations). Never gotten tickets on either.
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Old 05-19-19, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Tacoma was coming from cyclist's left, correct?

Some people think it's safe to run stop signs or red lights that they'd stop for if they were in their car. I have never understood this. I ride my bike the exact same way I would drive my car, WRT stop signs, red lights, and signalling (mostly, it's harder to signal on a bike in some situations). Never gotten tickets on either.
A cyclist is "out in the open" with a 360 degree bird's eye view of traffic including sound. So for all practical purposes he can see (down the road in all directions) and hear a lot more than someone sitting in a virtually soundproof chamber.

Not that I'm justifying running stop signs and red light mind you. Just pointing out that there is some sense behind it in some instances. Even if it is still technically illegal and potentially dangerous to do so.
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Old 05-19-19, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Always with this, "The cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet."
Well, maybe the Tacoma driver wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
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Old 05-19-19, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
Well, maybe the Tacoma driver wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
Was the Tacoma painted in hi-viz colors with reflector strips?
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Old 05-19-19, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Was the Tacoma painted in hi-viz colors with reflector strips?
Possibly hi viz briefs.
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Old 05-19-19, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Tacoma was coming from cyclist's left, correct?

Some people think it's safe to run stop signs or red lights that they'd stop for if they were in their car. I have never understood this. I ride my bike the exact same way I would drive my car, WRT stop signs, red lights, and signalling (mostly, it's harder to signal on a bike in some situations). Never gotten tickets on either.
Correct
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Old 05-19-19, 03:54 PM
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Pretty silly, unnecessary situation.

Myself, I try hard to avoid being struck by 4000lb vehicles. Not riding foolishly. Not anticipating that no cars will be around. Not swinging wide, for any reason. Not disregarding traffic signals and signs, as they're there for good reason.

Can't count the number of times I've nearly wiped a fast-moving pedestrian or cyclist off the map while crossing (on the green light) through an intersection, where the other was in full disregard of the traffic light's red/stop condition.

Wouldn't want to be that person, hauled from underneath a vehicle and separated from the metal via Jaws-Of-Life by a group of firemen tasked with cleaning me off the roadway.
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Old 05-19-19, 04:02 PM
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I was about to cross a busy highway yesterday, at a 2 way stop sign. Glanced over to my left and saw 2 cars coming , so I looked down for a second and waited for them to pass. Was about to cross the highway when at the last second I noticed two smaller darker vehicles approaching, that been obscured by the first two cars.

Had I merely slowed down, rather than stopped, I might not have seen the second two cars, pulled out in front of them, and been dead. One small mistake like that is all it takes to end a life, always look twice or even three times.
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Old 05-19-19, 04:51 PM
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It's as if the five tenets of the Smith System for defensive driving apply to bicycles, too.
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Old 05-19-19, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Standing in my front yard this morning I saw an uncomfortably close call. There's an older (55-60ish) fitness nut that runs and cycles past my house on a near daily basis. When he bikes, he rides an older steel bike, and he keeps a fast pace. This is a residential area with a lot of stop signs. I find it a miserable place to try to get in a good fitness ride. Nonetheless this guy does it.

I have never seen him stop for a stop sign. In fact he rarely slows for them much at all. I rarely stop for a stop sign in the neighborhood, but I slow enough that if a car is coming I can stop. I have always felt like at the speed he travels he is not expecting cars to be coming and couldn't react in time if one was coming.

I saw him approaching the stop sign in front of my house. It's a T intersection. Vehicles on the perpendicular road have no stop. A jet was flying overhead at the time. He set up for the right turn by swinging wide into the oncoming lane. I am guessing he was doing 17-18 MPH. A Toyota Tacoma was approaching the intersection at a 90 degree angle. The cyclist's view of the Tacoma was obscured by my neighbors house. By the time the cyclist saw the Tacoma, he was into the intersection. The Tacoma braked. The rider did as well and I could tell from the awkwardness of his reaction he was caught off guard. He wobbled and rode all the way across the perpendicular road into that oncoming lane. Had the truck been two seconds earlier there is no doubt in my mind this would have been a crash. The cyclist doesn't wear a helmet.

Our roads are concrete and cars traveling at the speed limit make a good bit of noise. I suspect the cyclist uses his ears when approaching the intersection. I do as well, but never rely on them exclusively. What if a bike is coming? In this case I think the jet flying overhead obscured his hearing. I guess there are several safety lessons here. If you are going to roll a stop you need to be prepared to stop in the event another car is coming. Even early on a lazy Sunday morning you can't count on no other traffic being present. While your ears can give you useful information, there are obviously times they can't tell a complete story.
Did he at least wave to you?
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Old 05-19-19, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I have to remind myself sometimes. Electric cars, some scooters and bicycles won't make much noise. The roads in my neighborhood are rough concrete, so the tire slap is pretty pronounced. I guess that's what he is relying on.
That's bad but there is also the cat that beat a poor lady senseless with the Bird she was on. Another hazard.
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Old 05-19-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Good strategy. The problem is with enough traffic that "out" is not always there to be found. Same with driving. You can leave space in front of you and so ****** will move in to fill it.

I love it when someone ways "just stay out of the door zone" as it there's no other cars or traffic around you. People on your right won't move out of the way or look out for you if a car or truck forces you in that direction. Riding is dynamic and sometimes you only have as fraction of a second to choose the lesser of two evils.

In the case above, they individual is middle-age so its not likely he will take to any suggestions. And if he's been riding for a while that you'd be telling him anything he doesn't already know. Hopefully, this near accident experience will be enough to teach him better.

BTW, that wasn't' a personal comment aimed at you. Rather, a general statement base on a general perspective that a good segment of cyclist have.
For the most part you control what's in front of you to a certain extent but behind you is totally different .was coming home from work one night and me and the bike were highy visible and got struck from behind . It was a hit and run driver left me in bad shape broken neck and neck fusion surgery .I have rode that same road home for a few years now and kept asking myself what I might of did wrong but guessing it was a hit and run more than likely a drunk driver as there are a few bars in the area so as safe as you can be you don't really have to much control of your rear . Although I did buy some mirrors that go on the handlebars at least now I can monitor the rear a little bit.
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Old 05-19-19, 05:46 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Standing in my front yard this morning I saw an uncomfortably close call. There's an older (55-60ish) fitness nut that runs and cycles past my house on a near daily basis. When he bikes, he rides an older steel bike, and he keeps a fast pace. This is a residential area with a lot of stop signs...

I have never seen him stop for a stop sign. In fact he rarely slows for them much at all...

I saw him approaching the stop sign in front of my house. It's a T intersection...A Toyota Tacoma was approaching the intersection at a 90 degree angle. The cyclist's view of the Tacoma was obscured by my neighbors house. By the time the cyclist saw the Tacoma, he was into the intersection. The Tacoma braked.

The rider did as well and I could tell from the awkwardness of his reaction he was caught off guard. He wobbled and rode all the way across the perpendicular road into that oncoming lane. Had the truck been two seconds earlier there is no doubt in my mind this would have been a crash. The cyclist doesn't wear a helmet....

I guess there are several safety lessons here. If you are going to roll a stop you need to be prepared to stop in the event another car is coming. Even early on a lazy Sunday morning you can't count on no other traffic being present. While your ears can give you useful information, there are obviously times they can't tell a complete story.
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I've biked to work most days for 27 years. In my 30s I felt as invincible as I did as a kid in Chicago..... But some time in my 30s, enough close calls taught me to not "out ride my brakes" and always "leave an out" and to always "expect the unexpected".

And when I discovered bikeforums in the mid 2000's I learned strategies and attitudes for safer riding.

Whatever satisfaction I've lost from not biking with total abandon is somewhat made for up by the satisfaction and smugness of knowing I am biking smarter than the average, more casual cyclist. It's kinda ego-centric, but it keeps me safer.

@Paul Barnard thanks for sharing. It's this kind of story and reminder that helps us all ride more safely. And thank goodness it didn't end worse or that you had to witness anything like that.
So often on these threads about calamities or near misses, I post about my mindset that I believe gives me that extra edge.
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
In all fairness, I don't think there's anyone who's been riding for a long time, who hasn't at some time (or many times) ridden in that zone where the only thing separating us from disaster is favorable alignment of the stars. (Note the "us" rather than "him")

We all take chances and make mistakes, but fortunately life is"organized" with plenty of forgiveness. In my experience the difference between disaster and "whew, that was close" is millimeters and microseconds, and not anything we can take credit for.
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I am a safety professional by trade...Safety is a tough sell. Especially to older folks who are often fairly entrenched in their ways. To a large degree, I am marketing boating safety...
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I try to keep safe with certain aphorisms in my head that come to mind to alert me when I encounter a situation where unseen dangers may lurk, such as Like a weapon, assume every stopped car is loaded, with an occupant ready to exit from either side.” or“Don’t ride over an area (such as puddles or leaves) when you can’t see the road surface

…I was hit from behind by a “distracted” (? inebriated) hit and run driver on an otherwise seemingly safe and peaceful route. By good fortune, I’m alive and relatively unimpaired.

Over the past few months I have come to realize that my safety aphorisms (link), collected over the years by personal or vicarious experience, are my way of actively aligning the stars in my favor, to anticipate those unseen and otherwise unanticipated dangers.

FWIW, for my own information at least, my other aphorisms beside those above [include]:


  • You don’t have the right-of-way until the other yields it to you (learned from my teacher in driver’s ed
Those are all I remember for now, and they all pop-up in my mind as I encounter the situation.
Whether my advice is good is debatable, but as I posted to a now-closed thread, about mine or other suggestions
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
In the past I have offered IMO several useful suggestions about cycling, particularly for winter and urban cycling, to multiple repetitive threads. They are usually lost in the morass of often scores of replies, both in agreement and dispute with mine.
and not just in knowledgeable discussion, but even in non sequiturs such as
Originally Posted by goldensprocket View Post
Did he at least wave to you?

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-20-19 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 05-19-19, 06:06 PM
  #22  
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It's really mysterious, and uncanny, how two moving objects can reach a given intersection at the exact same instant.

The guy in the OP was lucky, sounds like the timing was a little off this time, it won't be next time.
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Old 05-19-19, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
but also in non sequiturs such as
Look, the fact that you can't communicate on the forums like a normal person is no excuse for you not understanding a long-standing BF joke. Please pay attention in the future.

I now return you to your obsessive underlining, quoting, re-quoting, re-re-quoting and posting as if those compulsive exercises lend any credence to the pap that emanates from your keyboard.
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Old 05-19-19, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
It's really mysterious, and uncanny, how two moving objects can reach a given intersection at the exact same instant.
And even more astounding is when it happens in a wide open space with unlimited paths. I recall this one instance where I was the sole person on the block of sidewalk with another person across the street on the other sidewalk walking in the opposite direction. He managed to cross the street to run into me. I said those odds must have been pretty astronomical and he agreed.
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Old 05-19-19, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
So often on these threads about calamities or near misses, I post about my mindset that I believe gives me that exrtra edge.Whether my advice is good is debatable, but as I posted to a now-closed thread, about mine or other suggestions and not even in knowledgeable discussion, but also in non sequiturs such as
I can parse your posts just fine. Erm, usually.

To the OP it's asking for trouble to blow through a blind intersection.

Last month I came to the four way stop near my house, it's a 35mph zone on the main (somewhat busy) road and I was on the 25mph side street. I usually slow up and roll through. Visibility is limited looking right until you're at the stop sign.

A vehicle had rolled up to my left so I put my foot down and made a complete stop. As I did this some lunatic in a compact car flew through the intersection from my right disregarding the stop sign and doing well over 35mph

That was the first time I'd seen something that reckless around here for a few years.
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