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Near-Miss: Blocked Sightline Behind Me

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Near-Miss: Blocked Sightline Behind Me

Old 11-14-22, 10:35 AM
  #1  
flangehead
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Near-Miss: Blocked Sightline Behind Me

Don't make my mistakes.

I was in this situation:


Approaching traffic signal with blocked vision to my rear.

The setup: To access a MUP on a quiet Saturday morning, I used a two-lane road for about 1/3 of a mile to reach the traffic signal. When I entered the road I saw a full-size pickup truck headed in my direction but a long ways away. I took the lane and sure enough, that truck reached me about the time I got near the red traffic signal, which does not reliably trigger with bicycle metal. I was watching the truck (black above) for a signal indication but they did not signal (and they can't go straight). I decided to change to the left lane to make the crossing. I signaled my left before the "paint" of the left lane and checked my mirror and the truck was pretty close to me. I then moved left without looking over my shoulder and heard a honk .. a motorist (yellow above) had pulled out from behind the truck to pass to get to the left turn lane. I can't be sure, but I think we both moved left in the portion that had cross-hatched paint. I didn't hear any skidding so I have to assume they did not have any drama avoiding me.

My reflections on this incident:

1. Iíve been accultured (60 years of immersion) to keep traffic moving so that probably motivated me to move left as my guess was the truck would turn right (which it did). I need to put my safety first and consciously work to change my habits.

2. I remember thinking there was no traffic behind the truck, probably because I didnít see it at any time on the 1/3 mile stretch. I have to remember that if I canít see it, I have to assume there is a hazard on the other side.

3. Most of the time I look over my shoulder before changing lanes and I failed to do so this time. Iím not sure Iíd have seen the motorist on my normal quick check, but my bad for not looking.

4. My decision on lane position is often last-minute; in some conditions I would use the crosswalk. In retrospect, staying in the right lane was a safer choice.

Looking back over my near-misses and crashes over 60 years, the majority have been related to some kind of vision issue: blockage, glare, lighting. Anytime I canít see well, the red warning light must come on in my head.

Clearly motorists behaving better (using turn signals, obeying lane markings) would help but in the real world I can only control my own actions.

I welcome other perspectives.
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Old 11-14-22, 11:48 AM
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I'd just be thankful that you didn't get hit. I'd also assume that the person person honking at you was in the wrong as it appears they were passing the other vehicle on a stretch that is a solid yellow line and near a intersection where there should be no passing or use of the lane for oncoming traffic.

Crap happens. Don't beat yourself up for it. Just remember to consider that such might happen and be prepared.
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Old 11-14-22, 12:29 PM
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that close to an intersection, if I'm one of those cars, I just lay back & stay out of the equation
if I was on the bike, I'd pull over & let the traffic pass, or not even get on the road until the traffic passed
I almost got t-boned on my bike, at a road crossing, one time, due to obstructed view. it's a killer

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Old 11-14-22, 12:39 PM
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It's hard to give a precise evaluation without knowing how close the car was when it honked and at what point they went around the pickup. When I'm coming up to a red light I always take the lane and sometimes a car honks their horn, because I know most cyclist continue to FRAP as they come up to a red light, so it probably confuses them a little.

Not only do I take the lane at a red light, but also at a stop signs and those traffic circles. You're just much more visible in those places, when in the center of the lane, otherwise you can easily enter a blind zone with vehicles turning.


All I can say is what I would have done in that situation.


As I approach the red light, I'm constantly checking my mirror for speed of vehicles behind me and based on that, along with the distance to the light is what determines when I take the lane. I will take the lane in front of a car, as long as I'm not unduly slowing them down. I will physically look behind me at least once before taking the lane, but most of my evaluation is done by looking in my mirror.

As the light turns green, I stay in the middle of the lane, until the car in front of me is well clear, you have to be careful here, because they can turn quickly without turning on their turn signal.

**Also, there can be a entrance point that they are shooting for and it's in a position where the vehicle doesn't make a full 90 degree turn Ė maybe they only turn 45 degrees, before suddenly turning the opposite direction to enter the gas station (or whatever is at that corner).

**Actually, from your picture, this scenario seemed to apply to you, since the MUP was catty-corner to the intersection.





.
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Old 11-14-22, 01:22 PM
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there are too too many variables in play to lay down a hard & fast assessment but always remember the bicycler's best move when in a lot of traffic situations is to get to the curb and dismount > i know it aint kool and it is an interruption of your pedaling but you will live to pedal another day
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Old 11-14-22, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I'd also assume that the person person honking at you was in the wrong as it appears they were passing the other vehicle on a stretch that is a solid yellow line and near a intersection where there should be no passing or use of the lane for oncoming traffic.
According to the OP, he and the driver did the same thing.

Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I can't be sure, but I think we both moved left in the portion that had cross-hatched paint..
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Old 11-14-22, 01:24 PM
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Aside from your admission that you should have looked over your shoulder, I'm not sure did make any mistake.

Many times while driving, I look over my shoulder to check my blind spot before making any lane changes. Then when the lane change is complete, I find another car at my tail and I'm wondering where he all if a sudden appeared from. Either I didn't check carefully enough or the other driver was weaving in and out if traffic.

In your case, I'd bet the driver normally doesn't bother to anticipate anybody in front of the vehicle he is passing. That's why school busses have such a tough time with bad drivers when they let school kids off the bus.
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Old 11-14-22, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
According to the OP, he and the driver did the same thing.
Okay, thanks for your more thorough reading and keeping us straight.

Still doesn't really change the results. The honking driver was still the one in the most wrong. The OP was in front and in that case the vehicle behind has to yield to the vehicle or person in front of them. Even when both are where they shouldn't be.
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Old 11-14-22, 01:46 PM
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In Houston you almost ended up being just another Hood Ornament... But this situation presents itself all over the world. I nearly slammed a guy on a moped trying to pass a big rig on a back road. Luckily the rig gave me a tap on the horn and I was able to avoid a mishap.

We all need to stay awake out there... For Sure...
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Old 11-14-22, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Okay, thanks for your more thorough reading and keeping us straight.

Still doesn't really change the results. The honking driver was still the one in the most wrong. The OP was in front and in that case the vehicle behind has to yield to the vehicle or person in front of them. Even when both are where they shouldn't be.
Most in the wrong? They both moved left before they should have. Either way, the driver only honked at him, he didn't hit him.
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Old 11-14-22, 01:53 PM
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Situations can be hard to gauge, depending. Glad it worked out, more or less.

Myself, I ride so slowly and have so little power (due to old injuries) that I simply go the most-cautious way in a situation. In the map shown in the OP, I would keep in the right-hand lane, head across the intersection when it turns green, then (keeping right) I'd angle off onto the indicated MUP. That'd keep me from heading into a left-hand lane with known vehicles approaching, and it'd keep me out of that left lane (which many vehicle drivers abhor).
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Old 11-14-22, 01:56 PM
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We are all guilty of letting our guards down from time to time. It's human nature. When there are blind spots, a move out of lane, through an intersection, etc. isn't a single glance process. It's a process of continual evaluation.
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Old 11-14-22, 02:04 PM
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TBH, nit sure what the point of these post mortems is supposed to be. I don't know that there's a lesson to be drawn from a situation involving fluke timing that you probably couldn't duplicte if you tried. I'd like to think that I'd have been into the left turn lane earlier than you were so that the car behind the pickup would have more than enough warning I was there but, not having been there, I think this is just 20/20 hindsight at best.
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Old 11-14-22, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post

The setup: To access a MUP on a quiet Saturday morning, I used a two-lane road for about 1/3 of a mile to reach the traffic signal. When I entered the road I saw a full-size pickup truck headed in my direction but a long ways away. I took the lane and sure enough, that truck reached me about the time I got near the red traffic signal, which does not reliably trigger with bicycle metal. I was watching the truck (black above) for a signal indication but they did not signal (and they can't go straight). I decided to change to the left lane to make the crossing. I signaled my left before the "paint" of the left lane and checked my mirror and the truck was pretty close to me. I then moved left without looking over my shoulder and heard a honk .. a motorist (yellow above) had pulled out from behind the truck to pass to get to the left turn lane. I can't be sure, but I think we both moved left in the portion that had cross-hatched paint. I didn't hear any skidding so I have to assume they did not have any drama avoiding me.
A mirror can only tell you "NO", only a head check can tell you "YES". Mirror or not, do a head check before movement into other lanes of travel or live (or not) with the consequences.
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Old 11-14-22, 04:48 PM
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I'd like to see a helmet cam view of this ride segment

I have found, that some videos I take are boring &/or not worth sharing, but they often help me retrace my steps & I can ponder what I did & other options. Wifey often asks, why are you watching that more than once. I gave up trying to explain
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Old 11-15-22, 05:22 AM
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I'd also like to see video of this segment, but the next best option is Google Street View, which we could look up if you provide the name of the roads intersecting.
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Old 11-15-22, 09:00 AM
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Patterson Rd and Hwy 6

-mr. bill
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Old 11-15-22, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
long straight road w/ dotted line. I can see ppl going at a good clip, maybe even passing ea. other, with plans for the intersection, perhaps "beating a light". barely any room for bikes, probably not a concern for the local drivers. yeah, anyone on a bike, is gonna be low man on the totem pole

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Old 11-15-22, 09:42 AM
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no shame using the cross walk once you get to the intersection
there's no apparent cycling infrastructure on the roadways (aka we don't matter)




looks like a nice trail in there



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Old 11-15-22, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
This is correct.

Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
... I don't know that there's a lesson to be drawn from a situation involving fluke timing that you probably couldn't duplicate if you tried. ... I think this is just 20/20 hindsight at best.
If you gain nothing that's OK. I encounter flukes from time to time that can kill me so my personal point is to learn what I can from them. Sharing them here helps me do that.

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
...Crap happens. Don't beat yourself up for it. Just remember to consider that such might happen and be prepared.
Yes. And Murphy's Law isn't a joke.. it is right up there with the fundamental laws of physics...

Be careful out there!
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Old 11-15-22, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
If you gain nothing that's OK. I encounter flukes from time to time that can kill me so my personal point is to learn what I can from them. Sharing them here helps me do that.
I don't get why having a bunch of people who weren't there speculate as to how they would have handled it better helps, but if you find benefit from it, who am I to question that? Your process is your process.

I would point out that the "20/20 hindsight at best" quote you excerpted was my valuation of my own opinion on how to handle it and wasn't a shot at yours or anyone else's opinion.

BTW, I think the feature of a situation like that that I find super frustrating is the weight-triggered traffic light. It just adds another complicating factor into lane placement as you need to leave a car enough room to roll over the trigger. I've also been in too many situations where the presence of such a light leaves me with rolling a red as being the only viable solution.
.
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Old 11-15-22, 10:48 AM
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Similar to the OP, some of my car driving tendencies carry over into my cycling.
I like traffic to flow and generally do my best not to impede others.
In his scenario, I probably would mosey over to that right-side crosswalk and hit the button.
On a busy boulevard, it removes you out of harm’s way, especially if the light takes forever to change.
Tailgating vehicles behind other vehicles bothers me more.
On some of my routes, I find myself riding with nary a shoulder. That tailgater may not see me until the last second.
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Old 11-15-22, 12:10 PM
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I think I've spotted the major problem with this intersection--it's the magic road cones. Pull out of this driveway and take a left:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.8133...8i6656!5m1!1e3
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Old 11-15-22, 12:27 PM
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If you take a quick look with your mirror as you move to the left of the truck behind you, you will get a good look at that lane to the truck's left. Car? Stay put on the line of the left side of the truck. Mirrors are perfect for that. No need to turn your head (and possible move further left with the weight change). Yes, in my racing days I worked diligently on never veering as I looked but now that I've broken my collarbone and other stuff, that is much harder.

I say this as a user of the Third Eye Helmet Mirror which has excellent field of view. So does the EVT Safe Zone Bicycle Helmet Mirror. Both are better than my car mirrors. (Except my right rear is a huge blind spot. Cars don't fit in it if they are close but bikes do.)
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Old 11-15-22, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
BTW, I think the feature of a situation like that that I find super frustrating is the weight-triggered traffic light. It just adds another complicating factor into lane placement as you need to leave a car enough room to roll over the trigger. I've also been in too many situations where the presence of such a light leaves me with rolling a red as being the only viable solution.
Yeah, weight-triggered traffic lights would be very frustrating ... if such a thing existed.
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