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Near-Miss: Shoulder and Stagnant Traffic

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Near-Miss: Shoulder and Stagnant Traffic

Old 08-20-22, 06:54 AM
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Near-Miss: Shoulder and Stagnant Traffic

Don't make my mistakes.



Yesterday I wanted to make a left turn at this traffic light on a state highway. The light was in the flashing-red mode, so traffic was backed up all over. I was approaching from a MUP bridge that is barrier-separated on the bridge segment. My thought was that I'd filter over to the left lane so I could U-turn and proceed to my destination. I've merged onto the shoulder here many times before. However, I'd gotten lazy/complacent about checking for traffic on the shoulder. This time as I merged in and angled to filter, I saw a car behind me on the shoulder, cheating the traffic. Near-miss: a few seconds different timing and I would have been hit.

I didn't have situational awareness. A good reminder to myself that I have to check any possible threat direction.

As an aside, a lot of our traffic lights were out due to thunderstorms. People don't handle these well, particularly where there are more than two lanes of traffic with left turns. Speeds are low so a serious injury is unlikely, but everyone's a bit unpredictable so there's a greater chance of a collision. In retrospect, a route selection with less traffic lights would have been wise.
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Old 08-20-22, 08:17 AM
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I think that's a mistake we all make from time-to-time. But it is important to remind yourself not to become complacent. I like to think I'm good at identifying mistakes I make on the road, especially the ones that don't cause a problem or a close-call. I always review stupid things I do and say, what if I did that in this situation.....

It's important to always evaluate all your actions on the road and to be able to self-criticize and admit when you were at fault. Too many people blame others and make excuses for things that were, in part, (if not totally) their fault.

However, that situation reminds me of when I ride in school zones, I always take the lane, because I can easily do the speed limit and I love it when someone comes up behind me (I'm watching them in my mirror) because they're speeding in the zone. It brings me great satisfaction to slow them down.

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Old 08-20-22, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike
I think that's a mistake we all make from time-to-time. But it is important to remind yourself not to become complacent. I like to think I'm good at identifying mistakes I make on the road, especially the ones that don't cause a problem or a close-call. I always review stupid things I do and say, what if I did that in this situation.....

It's important to always evaluate all your actions on the road and to be able to self-criticize and admit when you were at fault. Too many people blame others and make excuses for things that were, in part, (if not totally) their fault.
I think this is very true. It's a bit like the old saying "If you think everyone is an A-hole, then you're the A-hole." I too, try to analyze the situations where at first I thought "what's the stupid driver doing". As likely as not they were doing something wrong, but as likely I'm the one handling it wrong. And often it's not until I get home and think on it a bit, I realize how I could have handled things better, even if the driver was in the wrong.

To the OP's point, yes we have to be aware and you will now make sure to look before dropping from the path onto that shoulder. Just becasue a car shouldn't be there, doesn't mean it won't be.

Where I live. many of the MUPs cross large streets with wide medians which allow you to cross half the road at a time. I still look both ways on each segment. It's not out of the question that some knucklehead would be driving, or riding a bike, the wrong direction. I've yet to have it happen, but it's a reasonable possibility. This is one of dozens of the types of little things we all must be aware of.

It's not often, but I'm still learning things on my regular routes. Just the other day, I stopped where a MUP crosses a road. But I was going to turn right onto the road's bike lane. I decided to come to a complete stop, catch my breath, and take a drink while I was at it. I noticed a car stopping as if I were going to cross. I thought, "why is this fool stopping". I waved him on, and it was only then I realized, this MUP crossing was a crosswalk. Many or perhaps most MUP crossings in my city are not marked as crosswalks. Cars are required to stop at crosswalks when someone appears to be wanting to cross. But they do not have to stop at MUP crossings that are not marked as crosswalks. So, this driver was doing the right thing, and I was confusing the situation by where I chose to stop. Not a danger, other than potentially someone rear-ending the car that stopped, but I'll make a point to not do that at that, or similar, locations again.
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Old 08-20-22, 09:54 AM
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I've merged onto the shoulder here many times before. However, I'd gotten lazy/complacent about checking for traffic on the shoulder. This time as I merged in and angled to filter, I saw a car behind me on the shoulder, cheating the traffic. Near-miss: a few seconds different timing and I would have been hit.
Good reminder.

I still hear the voices of my two driving school instructors in my head, nearly 50yrs later. Always assume the other guy's going to attempt the silliest maneuver at the worst possible moment. I often find myself giving them a silent nod, in thanks for the defensiveness and caution they instilled in me. Has saved my bacon countless times, as a runner, cyclist and driver.

While I occasionally fail to verify, it's rare. My very life's on the line. I much prefer to be patient in such instances, simply given the force of such impacts and the distance required for such vehicles to slow/stop prior to striking me. No "do-overs" on the road.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:40 AM
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I try to remember that there are two things keeping me from becoming a statistic: (1) Me following the safety laws of the road, and (2) everyone else following the safety laws of the road. Since I can not control the latter, the best I can do is to watch for those who are not doing so. Assuming someone won't be driving/riding somewhere can lead to trouble. Of course it's not fullproof, and as work4bike said, we all make that mistake on occasion.
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Old 08-20-22, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by flangehead
Don't make my mistakes.

... This time as I merged in and angled to filter, I saw a car behind me on the shoulder, cheating the traffic. Near-miss: a few seconds different timing and I would have been hit.

...
I wonder if the driver cheating the traffic recognizes his mistake too.
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Old 08-20-22, 06:48 PM
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flangehead Glad it didn't end badly. Good reminder for all of us...thanks for posting.
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Old 08-20-22, 07:03 PM
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i have not faulted in your manner with traffic, however, I automatically seek a different area to cross when a signal is not operating normally. It could mean pedaling a few blocks or nearly a mile before i find a crossing area with less risk.
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Old 08-20-22, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4
I wonder if the driver cheating the traffic recognizes his mistake too.
I'd wager to say, no. Most drivers are quick to place blame onto other's & will omit themselves of any wrong doing. "Oh, I didn't see you on your bicycle with bright lights, you came out of nowhere!"
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Old 08-20-22, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul
I'd wager to say, no. Most drivers are quick to place blame onto other's & will omit themselves of any wrong doing. "Oh, I didn't see you on your bicycle with bright lights, you came out of nowhere!"
I wouldn't be surprised if drivers like this would complain to politicians to keep cyclists from riding on shoulders.
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Old 08-21-22, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4
I wouldn't be surprised if drivers like this would complain to politicians to keep cyclists from riding on shoulders.
if you're thinking it, it's probably already been done...
some people really suck.
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Old 08-22-22, 04:49 PM
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I make a habit of looking in any direction that a vehicle, be it auto, motorcycle, e-bike or bicycle, may be coming from. Even on one way streets. We all drop our guards. I have found that I am most likely to drop my guard when I am physically exhausted. I have worked to mentally program myself that exhaustion=increased risk=increased need to focus on my surroundings.
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