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Close Call-Double and Triple Check

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Close Call-Double and Triple Check

Old 04-21-24, 06:54 AM
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Close Call-Double and Triple Check

I was nearing the end of my ride a few days ago. I come off of the levee along the green line with an arrow, cross the road and continue along the green line with the arrow. Westbound traffic can be pretty heavy on weekday afternoons, so if I can maintain my momentum and not stop, it makes crossing easier. As a begin my descent, I always check and double check to find my gap an select a speed that allows me to comfortably hit the gap in traffic if it's possible.

I did that. I am big on multiple checks, so as I was about at the point where I was committed to entering the roadway, I checked back over my shoulder again for eastbound traffic. Much to my surprise there was a a car coming, and I had to get on my brakes pretty good to be stopped at the red line. I was upset with myself. I don't know how I could have missed seeing that car had it been coming down the main road. All I can think is it came from where the orange Xs are and accelerated briskly, as they'd likely have to do to hit one of their gaps. There were two cyclists standing across the road from the levee access path, probably waiting to walk their bikes across. I was mentally processing what they were doing, so they may have had more of my attention that they should have.

I habitually take those last possible chance glances, and they have saved me several times. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but it never hurts to have a reminder.

Have your last chance glances ever saved your bacon?


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Old 04-21-24, 09:08 AM
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Have your last chance glances ever saved your bacon?
Many times. And not just while cycling.
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Old 04-21-24, 09:39 AM
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Great message to remind us cyclists. We will always lose in a collision with a vehicle.
Brings back a bad memory of cycling within a crosswalk at a four-lane boulevard.
Fairly busy spot with big rigs and cars, with the crossing necessary to continue on a dedicated bike trail.
Two opposing large trucks stopped for me, along with one car. That covered three of the four lanes.
Some idiot decided not to stop during my 3mph crawl within the crosswalk. I failed to give it my usual extra look.
The 40mph motorist clearly saw everybody else stopped. Scary that I dodged getting centerpunched by a few seconds.
That occurred around ten years ago. Sometime afterwards they installed a stoplight just for crossers.
I shudder to think someone did not enjoy my "good luck," necessitating the traffic light.
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Old 04-21-24, 02:52 PM
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If I understand correctly, you were planning to cross two lanes traffic dynamically rather than stop and go pedestrian to get to the other side?
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Old 04-21-24, 03:03 PM
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I’ve had enough close calls to know that motor vehicles can appear unexpectedly. It can be high speed, blind spot, failure to register in my brain.. doesn’t matter why/how, thanks for the good reminder!
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Old 04-21-24, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt
If I understand correctly, you were planning to cross two lanes traffic dynamically rather than stop and go pedestrian to get to the other side?
Yep.
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Old 04-21-24, 07:24 PM
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"Westbound traffic can be pretty heavy on weekday afternoons, so if I can maintain my momentum and not stop, it makes crossing easier. As a begin my descent, I always check and double check to find my gap an select a speed that allows me to comfortably hit the gap in traffic if it's possible."

I don't mean to be personally critical of you but I think if you have an intent to scoot across a busy road without stopping while looking for "the gap" on your approach, you are reducing your safety margins because your mind becomes more focused on achieving your goal and less focused on the fact that large fast dangerous metal objects are driving towards you. In situations where you are pre-occupied with a task with a time constraint, you are far more likely to not spot a threat. And that means, with the brief glance(s) you give, you literally don't see the car. It's just how our minds work. I've done it many times...
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Old 04-21-24, 09:23 PM
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I'm not sure if a last-second glance has saved me on a bike or not. But I know for sure, I've been surprised by seeing a car at the last moment that just wasn't there before. In one case it was a FedEx truck. Not that it was a close call, but just turning left and halfway around the turn, there was a FedEx truck coming that seemed to have materialized out of thin air. It just wasn't close enough to be a close call. But it still spooks you.

In the case of the OP, seeing traffic coming up from that angle is tricky. And clearly there's really nothing else to do but slow down and give yourself more time to actually see things. Of course, slowing down is not helpful to hitting that gap. I have regular spots along routes that I have learned to give extra attention to. Sometimes actively saying to myself, "look at the road, see the pavement, see that there is no car on the pavement". This is true whether riding or driving.

It's just so easy to go through the literal motions of looking, but not actually seeing.

This is also a good example of why drivers often don't "see" cyclists. And we need to ride as if we are invisible at times. Here's a situation where someone didn't see a car and a car is a lot larger thing to see than a cyclist. Our brains are tricky things and can easily make these mistakes.
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Old 04-21-24, 10:02 PM
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Got used to double checks on German autobahn before going into passing lane, both lanes in same direction. Look in left mirror. Wait a few seconds, look again. If car has closed significant distance, they are moving FAST. Stay in lane until passed. Then repeat, and still put on left signal at least 5 seconds before moving into left lane, and make that move gradual, like over 4 seconds. Very rarely (here in USA), someone might be in my blind spot, honked, and my slow move prevented contact. Also, I added stick-on small rectangular convex mirrors to lower inboard of both outside mirrors, to eliminate blind spots, an additional safety measure. Once past vehicle in right lane plus a couple hundred feet, promptly move back to right lane, keep the passing lane open.

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Old 04-22-24, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by redshift1
"Westbound traffic can be pretty heavy on weekday afternoons, so if I can maintain my momentum and not stop, it makes crossing easier. As a begin my descent, I always check and double check to find my gap an select a speed that allows me to comfortably hit the gap in traffic if it's possible."

I don't mean to be personally critical of you but I think if you have an intent to scoot across a busy road without stopping while looking for "the gap" on your approach, you are reducing your safety margins because your mind becomes more focused on achieving your goal and less focused on the fact that large fast dangerous metal objects are driving towards you. In situations where you are pre-occupied with a task with a time constraint, you are far more likely to not spot a threat. And that means, with the brief glance(s) you give, you literally don't see the car. It's just how our minds work. I've done it many times...
I appreciate that response.
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Old 04-22-24, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer
I'm not sure if a last-second glance has saved me on a bike or not. But I know for sure, I've been surprised by seeing a car at the last moment that just wasn't there before. In one case it was a FedEx truck. Not that it was a close call, but just turning left and halfway around the turn, there was a FedEx truck coming that seemed to have materialized out of thin air. It just wasn't close enough to be a close call. But it still spooks you.

In the case of the OP, seeing traffic coming up from that angle is tricky. And clearly there's really nothing else to do but slow down and give yourself more time to actually see things. Of course, slowing down is not helpful to hitting that gap. I have regular spots along routes that I have learned to give extra attention to. Sometimes actively saying to myself, "look at the road, see the pavement, see that there is no car on the pavement". This is true whether riding or driving.

It's just so easy to go through the literal motions of looking, but not actually seeing.

This is also a good example of why drivers often don't "see" cyclists. And we need to ride as if we are invisible at times. Here's a situation where someone didn't see a car and a car is a lot larger thing to see than a cyclist. Our brains are tricky things and can easily make these mistakes.

It's possible that the car came out from one of the orange X's and wasn't on the main road at first and second glance. The incident reminded me that final glances are a must. The previous poster was right on. My focus needs to be on threats not gaps.
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Old 04-23-24, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard
......

Have your last chance glances ever saved your bacon?
Of course. I'm only here because of a combination of good reflexes, sensitive peripheral vision and pure dumb luck (mostly the latter).

We often discuss the various reasons that drivers may not see us, bit it's easy to forget that it cuts both ways. It's easy to miss an approaching car at first glance, or to misjudge it's speed or distance, so "measure twice, cut once" is good advice even if you're not a carpenter.
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Old 04-24-24, 07:07 AM
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I can relate. I had one of these moments a few months ago when I rode on a segregated bus-only lane that was adjacent to a snow-covered bike path. I thought, the bus lane is cleared of ice and snow, so why not, and it's 6 am. No buses are running this time, right? Sure enough, I see a bus coming from behind me as I approach a left-hander turn. I thought I'd maintain some speed by cutting the corner, while at the same time keeping an eye on my mirror for the rear-approaching bus. Yep, you guessed it. There was a bus coming opposite direction. I'd just saw it in time to get out of the way. I was lucky, and stupid! That could have ended very badly.
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Old 04-24-24, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
I can relate. I had one of these moments a few months ago when I rode on a segregated bus-only lane that was adjacent to a snow-covered bike path. I thought, the bus lane is cleared of ice and snow, so why not, and it's 6 am. No buses are running this time, right? Sure enough, I see a bus coming from behind me as I approach a left-hander turn. I thought I'd maintain some speed by cutting the corner, while at the same time keeping an eye on my mirror for the rear-approaching bus. Yep, you guessed it. There was a bus coming opposite direction. I'd just saw it in time to get out of the way. I was lucky, and stupid! That could have ended very badly.
So you jumped clear just before those 2 buses had a head on collision?
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Old 04-24-24, 08:03 AM
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Paul, this one scares me. In any maneuver in traffic where you may well be betting your life, you also have to account for all the usual what ifs. What if you suddenly pop a tire? What if your chain comes off or breaks? What if your foot slips off the pedal? What if you hit a pothole or somehow struggle to stay upright? It honestly sounds to me that you are betting your life that all these things (that do happen from time to time) will not happen to you during that crossing.
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Old 04-24-24, 09:01 AM
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That exit path is poorly designed as well. It would seem that it should be longer and then hook to the left so that it is square with the road on the other side of the street.
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Old 04-24-24, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
So you jumped clear just before those 2 buses had a head on collision?
Two-lane bus lanes. No head on.
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Old 04-24-24, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
Two-lane bus lanes. No head on.
I actually got that on the 2nd read, when I factored your left turn. But I couldn't get rid of my first mental picture.
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Old 04-25-24, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by boozergut
That exit path is poorly designed as well. It would seem that it should be longer and then hook to the left so that it is square with the road on the other side of the street.
It's coming off of an elevated levee, there's not much of a way to have it run perpendicular to the levee, as it would be too steep.
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Old 04-30-24, 01:20 PM
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funny thing about cars. they appear out of nowhere
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Old 04-30-24, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
funny thing about cars. they appear out of nowhere

Not when we do our job.
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Old 04-30-24, 04:20 PM
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Like they say in football... keep your head on a swivel at all times
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Old 04-30-24, 04:21 PM
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Oftentimes we get too relaxed. I fell really bad on a pothole using a trail that I went on a million times. It was because I stopped keeping my head on a swivel.
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Old 05-01-24, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard
Not when we do our job.
I don't know. there have been many situations where I check & check again & use 2 mirrors & still, whoa where did that car come from? also their speed is an issue. we can check & double check all we want but in the blink of an eye, there's a car. no fault of ours
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Old 05-01-24, 01:24 PM
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Ya look, Ya check, Ya look again... And then...



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