Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Advocacy & Safety
Reload this Page >

Nearly Hit a Cyclist - Help?!

Notices
Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

Nearly Hit a Cyclist - Help?!

Old 01-17-21, 07:45 AM
  #1  
BillyBoardman
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
Nearly Hit a Cyclist - Help?!

Hi guys,
I've just registered to the forum to ask for some help!
I live in an area where there are lots (and I mean lots!!) of cyclists - country lanes etc.

Today, I was driving past a cyclist who, when I checked back in the rear view mirror after overtaking, was going crazy gesturing at me.
What happened was - I began pulling over the other side of the road as normal to overtake, and I was going past, I realised the cyclist was pretty much on the white lines in the middle, his handlebars probably just a few inches away from my passenger door mirror.
When checking back, it appears he was avoiding a puddle which I hadn't even seen.

My question is what should I have done differently as a car driver in this situation?!
Or should the cyclist have made some kind of signal that he was going to come into the middle of the road..?

Thanks in advance.
BillyBoardman is offline  
Likes For BillyBoardman:
Old 01-17-21, 07:48 AM
  #2  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,782

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1248 Post(s)
Liked 977 Times in 488 Posts
Where did this take Place?
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 07:51 AM
  #3  
BillyBoardman
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
In Cheshire, UK
BillyBoardman is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 07:53 AM
  #4  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,782

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1248 Post(s)
Liked 977 Times in 488 Posts
Thanks, He may have been a New rider to the roads.
You Did Good not to Hit him,
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 08:11 AM
  #5  
Trakhak
Senior Member
 
Trakhak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 3,417
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 1,237 Times in 720 Posts
From what you wrote, it seems that you began a safe pass by steering to a position on the road more than three feet to the side of where you expected the cyclist to be; simultaneously, the cyclist, either unaware of your presence behind him or expecting you to remain behind him, steered in the same direction and was startled to see that you were passing him. If so, I don't know what more you could have done.

There's no universally understood protocol for drivers passing cyclists in situations like that. As a cyclist, I hope I'd have enough sense to look back and make eye contact with a driver before veering out toward the center line. That said, I've been a bike rider for over 50 years and a driver for nearly as long. I've always thought that I've ridden appropriately cautiously, and yet I'm far more cautious on the bike these days than I was as a teenager.
Trakhak is offline  
Likes For Trakhak:
Old 01-17-21, 08:19 AM
  #6  
mdarnton
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Chicago
Posts: 268

Bikes: nothing to brag about

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked 186 Times in 108 Posts
As a rider I feel an obligation not to do anything sudden and unexpected and have hit potholes to avoid swerving into tight traffic.

It's too easy to get into a mindset where one's first response is to plow on at speed rather than do the smart thing and slow down and that may have been the rider's fault here. If you were in a completely different lane and he swerved into you at the last instant, this is all on him, IMO, just as it would be if a car sideswiped you in the same situation.
mdarnton is offline  
Likes For mdarnton:
Old 01-17-21, 08:32 AM
  #7  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 22,969
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 2,540 Times in 1,782 Posts
Moved here from General Cycling.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 08:45 AM
  #8  
Comfort is King
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 56
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 22 Posts
The cyclist should have either noticed the puddle in advance and taken the lane before you were close, which would have forced you to go wider or wait, or, if the rider didn't notice until it was too late, he should have slowed down, let you pass, then go around the puddle.
Comfort is King is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 09:17 AM
  #9  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 2,805

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 927 Post(s)
Liked 780 Times in 463 Posts
If the cyclist moved over to avoid the puddle during your pass, he may not have known you were there. If this were the case, either he was oblivious or impaired. Did he have a mirror to gauge traffic coming from behind? Did he do a shoulder check before moving over? Was he listening to music so loud that noise of other vehicles was suppressed?

One can hope that he reflects on the incident (as you are doing) and considers how his actions could have been different. Close calls are an incredible motivation to learn.
Moe Zhoost is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 09:58 AM
  #10  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 5,319
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1539 Post(s)
Liked 1,222 Times in 725 Posts
What was the speed difference between you and the cyclist? A safe pass by a car would involve slowing down so as to not be going by the cyclist at high speed. This would also allow the cyclist time to notice the car. Even with ample clearance, passing a bicycle at high speed is dangerous
alcjphil is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 10:12 AM
  #11  
alo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 1,060
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 529 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 255 Times in 185 Posts
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
As a rider I feel an obligation not to do anything sudden and unexpected and have hit potholes to avoid swerving into tight traffic.
I agree. I have ridden through pot holes when someone is coming up from behind.
alo is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 10:43 AM
  #12  
Russ Roth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Shore of Long Island
Posts: 2,128

Bikes: 2010 Carrera Volans, 2015 C-Dale Trail 2sl, 2017 Raleigh Rush Hour, 2017 Blue Proseccio, 1992 Giant Perigee, 80s Gitane Rallye Tandem

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 807 Post(s)
Liked 645 Times in 487 Posts
The cyclist should have learned to bunny hop. If you moved over sufficiently to safely pass him at the time you started passing then you did what was right. That should have left him room to safely maneuver or he should have had the awareness to slow down, swerve the other way or bunny hopped. Living in Albany with its many potholed streets it was easier to bunny hop then risk a car hit.
Russ Roth is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 10:50 AM
  #13  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,235

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Timberjack, Expert TG, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 69 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2899 Post(s)
Liked 1,753 Times in 1,151 Posts
Apologies all around and move on
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 11:02 AM
  #14  
ridelikeaturtle
Senior Member
 
ridelikeaturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 1,224

Bikes: Bianchi Ti Megatube; Colnago Competition; Planet-X EC-130E; Klein Pulse; Amp Research B4; Litespeed Catalyst; Fondriest Squadra Corse; Trek Y11

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 578 Post(s)
Liked 412 Times in 237 Posts
Originally Posted by BillyBoardman View Post
Hi guys,
I've just registered to the forum to ask for some help!
I live in an area where there are lots (and I mean lots!!) of cyclists - country lanes etc.

Today, I was driving past a cyclist who, when I checked back in the rear view mirror after overtaking, was going crazy gesturing at me.
What happened was - I began pulling over the other side of the road as normal to overtake, and I was going past, I realised the cyclist was pretty much on the white lines in the middle, his handlebars probably just a few inches away from my passenger door mirror.
When checking back, it appears he was avoiding a puddle which I hadn't even seen.

My question is what should I have done differently as a car driver in this situation?!
Or should the cyclist have made some kind of signal that he was going to come into the middle of the road..?

Thanks in advance.
We can only speculate... but hey, it's an internet forum!

Thanks for asking this question in this way, it shows you've some level of concern for the cyclist.

Generally, if you treat a bicycle like any slow-moving vehicle, and overtake 1) only when it is safe to do so, meaning a) not around a blind bend, b) over a blind crest of a hill, or c) while crossing an unbroken white line (in the UK & EU, in the US I think this'd be a "no passing zone" unbroken yellow line); and 2) with enough space, at least 1.5m, to allow the cyclist room to avoid obstacles in their path - but this is a *minimum*, and it is much better to overtake like you would any other vehicle and use the entire opposite lane, since you're going into oncoming traffic anyway, just use the entirety of the road, it is safest.

Please remember the cyclist is entitled to use the entire lane; and while encouraged to "stay left" (in the UK & Ireland), this literally means "left of the centre line", and not on the extreme left side of the road. (Again, this is all opposite for the continent and the USA).

I find there is a great discrepancy between what motorists and what cyclists perceive as "close". A motorist may come within centimeters of a cyclist, and think it is perfectly adequate to overtake. In most, if not all, cases, it is not enough space.

What could you have done differently? If possible, look further up the road to see what is oncoming. Use the entirety of the opposite lane to overtake. which allows the cyclist the same amount of space as you would any slow-moving vehicle, such as a tractor. Do it safely, quickly and expediently. Be prepared to be delayed for 30 seconds, it really isn't much time.
ridelikeaturtle is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 12:41 PM
  #15  
majmt 
Full Member
 
majmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tropical Montana
Posts: 327
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 909 Times in 267 Posts
Your concern, going to the effort to even join this forum to ask the question, is quite admirable. You must be a very decent human being.
__________________
Montana, where men are men and sheep are lying little tramps.
majmt is offline  
Likes For majmt:
Old 01-18-21, 04:07 PM
  #16  
South_Aussie
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 12

Bikes: Mid 90's Avanti Pro Series Giro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I have been involved in road design ad road safety for 30+years, and I both drive and cycle. Worst case scenario, you could have (seriously) injured him/her, in an attempt to get to where you were going on time. I am not suggesting you did anything wrong but a cyclist is more vulnerable than the motorists, so any error on either party has the potential for serious injury to the cyclist. My approach would have been to slow down behind him and give him a polite honk on the horn to let him know I was there, and once they cleared the puddle and moved out of the way gone past them. The cyclist also has a role to play though, they should have checked before and indicated that they were moving out into the lane as well. Faced with the same scenario again, its better to be a couple of minutes late.

In Aus we have a "Give cyclists a metre" road rule, where when we pass them we have to give them a metre clearance. In the Adelaide HIlls, where the roads are narrow you can be caught behind them for a few minutes as they struggle uphill and you have to wait for a stretch of road where you can safely pass them. If I am going to be driving on a road which I know is a cyclist route, I always allow extra time for my trip.

The fact that you went to the effort to find and join the forum to ask the question, is in itself an indication that you will do something differently next time. From a cyclist view point - thanks. From a road safety viewpoint, I am sure the emergency services also say thanks.
South_Aussie is offline  
Likes For South_Aussie:
Old 01-18-21, 04:46 PM
  #17  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,747

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX 2x11

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 558 Post(s)
Liked 461 Times in 352 Posts
Originally Posted by BillyBoardman View Post
I began pulling over the other side of the road as normal to overtake, and I was going past, I realised the cyclist was pretty much on the white lines in the middle, his handlebars probably just a few inches away from my passenger door mirror.
When checking back, it appears he was avoiding a puddle which I hadn't even seen.
As with any other vehicle in a lane that you're attempting to pass, all bets are off if that other vehicle's driver decides to go all over the lane in order to avoid puddles, impediments in the road, whatever, just as you're passing. Don't see much you could have done differently, if there were two lanes and you were maintaining reasonable lane control but the other vehicle (cyclist) wasn't.

Life gets hard on those who make sudden moves around other moving vehicles. Can be deadly, of course.

I get why a cyclist might feel a quickly-passing car's driver might have "done something" to the cyclist if it turns out the proximity went down to zip. But if due to one party's rapid and unannounced move in the lane, it's hard to point fingers at the other drivers, and hard to see how things could have been done differently.

I tend to be exceedingly defensive-driving oriented. I always ask the what-if, in case that's what ends up happening. Always safer, to have some sort of plan in case the unexpected goes sideways right in front of us. But in a case of passing alongside another slower-moving vehicle (car, bike, skateboard), it's hard to say whether much could be done at the moment of a sudden change in lane control by another. One thing I do attempt when passing at vastly greater speeds is: slow the heck down, just in case. Wont' cure the proximity itself, as in this scenario, but it'd sure help limit damage to the other party if such lane control were utterly absent.
Clyde1820 is offline  
Likes For Clyde1820:
Old 01-18-21, 05:06 PM
  #18  
ridelikeaturtle
Senior Member
 
ridelikeaturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 1,224

Bikes: Bianchi Ti Megatube; Colnago Competition; Planet-X EC-130E; Klein Pulse; Amp Research B4; Litespeed Catalyst; Fondriest Squadra Corse; Trek Y11

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 578 Post(s)
Liked 412 Times in 237 Posts
Odd that this point needs to be made in a cycling forum, but...

... and I'm going to sound very extreme. In an urban environment, this is all magnified; and I suspect for many here, you may not experience the levels of vehicle traffic that I would in the city of Dublin, Ireland, and the level of danger for cyclists on city streets. It may be somewhat (lol, understatement of the century!) different if you are in, for example, Scottsbluff, Nebraska or Casper, Wyoming.

A cyclist's "lane" isn't the width of the bicycle. It's the entire width of the lane.
A car that is overtaking another vehicle - bicycle or otherwise - must do this in a safe way, and that includes giving the other vehicle enough space.

The way the vast majority of motorists drive is actually very dangerous, and it's only because cyclists do a very good job of avoiding cars that even more aren't killed. This has been normalized by both cyclists and motorists, with the motorist being given all privilege and superiority, due to the dominance of the car in our culture, the obvious negative outcome when a car and bicycle collide, but also very much because of the entitlement of motorists and their belief that anything in their way is "holding them up".

Roads are not just for cars.
Motorists are not entitled to go as fast as they want.

Motorists really need to be forced to reexamine their behavior. This will require a cultural change in enforcement also.

Then again, car use is going to be so severely restricted in the next decade, and bicycle use is going to skyrocket, such that it may not matter either way.
ridelikeaturtle is offline  
Old 01-18-21, 06:54 PM
  #19  
velojym
Senior Member
 
velojym's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Alabama
Posts: 518

Bikes: Konas: Jake the Snake-Fire Mountain-Zing Supreme, Dew Deluxe,Zone Ltd. (frame, needs parts), Surly Long Haul Trucker, Santana Arriva tandem, Montagues: Paratrooper-Fit, Trek 1200, Bianchi Ocelot, Fantom Cross Uno, Bridgestone 200

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 108 Post(s)
Liked 226 Times in 121 Posts
Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
The cyclist should have learned to bunny hop. If you moved over sufficiently to safely pass him at the time you started passing then you did what was right. That should have left him room to safely maneuver or he should have had the awareness to slow down, swerve the other way or bunny hopped. Living in Albany with its many potholed streets it was easier to bunny hop then risk a car hit.
This is an incredibly useful skill. I was in a group riding down a hill in the Ozarks, though I tend to dislike riding in a group with no 'out'. We were on chip 'n seal and the downhill was steep enough that we were getting up some good speed. Oncoming traffic prevented the rider on my left from moving over when we saw the dead armadillo (a BIG one), and we weren't gonna be able to stop quickly enough. I bunched up and hoiked, clearing the roadkill easily enough. I almost said without problems, but I did manage to lose a couple spokes as a result. Still beats hitting the 'dillo at speed.

I don't ride like that in a group anymore. I always try to maintain a way out, but I ride mostly solo these days anyway.
velojym is offline  
Old 01-18-21, 08:34 PM
  #20  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
 
Paul Barnard's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 5,497

Bikes: Lynskey GR300, Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1894 Post(s)
Liked 1,323 Times in 669 Posts
The cyclist was responsible for placing himself too close to you for his comfort.
Paul Barnard is offline  
Old 01-19-21, 09:52 AM
  #21  
bikecrate
Senior Member
 
bikecrate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: LF, APMAT
Posts: 2,739
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 611 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 366 Times in 210 Posts
I've seen this exact thing in real life. Cyclist abruptly swerved to avoid a large puddle as a car was overtaking him. Cyclist did not have a mirror and did not look back first before moving. Cyclist then goes nuts yelling at the driver who was passing him. The only thing I can say to a driver would be to try and be aware of obstacles that a cyclist is coming up on and either wait to pass or take a wider distance around them. However, it is also on the cyclist to be predictable and take responsibility for their own safety.

OP shouldn't beat himself up too much. Nobody got hurt and hopefully everyone learned something.
bikecrate is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.