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How to minimize chance of getting rear ended while slowing down behind a bicycle??

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How to minimize chance of getting rear ended while slowing down behind a bicycle??

Old 09-25-12, 04:11 PM
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common man
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Need driving advice: how to slow down behind bike without getting rear ended??

I live in a suburb of Philadelphia which has narrow roads with low visibility. I rarely see cyclists but I see enough that every time I drive I try to be prepared in case someone is there. I prefer to slow down behind the cyclist until I can see far ahead and then I pass by moving past the solid yellow line and half way into the opposing lane (which should be totally clear before I go). There are some people with reflexes and skills to squeeze between the yellow line and the cyclist and just pass or people who can go on the other side of the road while an opposing car is coming and come back just in timeÖbut I am not one of them (unfortunately).

My problem is, when I slow down behind a cyclist, I am afraid of getting rear ended by a tailgating car. I have no problem following the yellow speed signs (which are not limits but suggestions) but nobody follows that and so I feel peer pressured to speed up even though I am in no hurry. If I follow the yellow speed limit signs, there will be a chain of cars behind me and people honking. Obviously if I get into trouble with a road hazard ahead, those guys honking arenít going to be helping.

Iíve seen some videos of people passing on youtube but those are often multi lane roads which are easier to handle IMO. Iíve never seen videos where a car slows down behind a cyclist and waits for a clear sight to pass.

Here are some screen shots from Google maps of the roads that I am talking about



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Old 09-25-12, 04:29 PM
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Don't slow abruptly, and put some space between you and the cyclist in front of you.

Whether you slow for a cyclist, another car, to turn, a hazard, etc., the cars behind you can deal with it without hitting you. If you are held up behind a cyclist, the cars behind you will see that.

Based on the pictures you've posted, the lane is too narrow to "share" with a cyclist -- you need to cross over the yellow line when you pass.

If people are queued up and honking when you are driving the speed limit, you either have a bad speedometer, or you're driving in Philadelphia. Except when you get on the freeway and they go 55 in the fast lane.
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Old 09-25-12, 05:47 PM
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I've neer had that concern.

But doing what I do for unexpected slowing on the freeway is what I'd do if I did. Slow by pumpinf the brakes. That way the brake lights behind have several instances of coming on instead of one that is easier to miss.
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Old 09-25-12, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by common man View Post
My problem is, when I slow down behind a cyclist, I am afraid of getting rear ended by a tailgating car. I have no problem following the yellow speed signs (which are not limits but suggestions) but nobody follows that and so I feel peer pressured to speed up even though I am in no hurry. If I follow the yellow speed limit signs, there will be a chain of cars behind me and people honking. Obviously if I get into trouble with a road hazard ahead, those guys honking aren’t going to be helping.
Turn on your left flasher as if you were going to turn (after all, you will be moving to the left in order to pass the cyclist). This provides a visual cue that you will be slowing down for some reason, even if the driver behind you can't see the cyclist.
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Old 09-25-12, 07:12 PM
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If you don't think the car behind you is going to see you slow, put on your flashers (hazard lights, ie, both sides flashing) as you slow.
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Old 09-26-12, 09:06 AM
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Depending on the lane width, putting your left tires on the double yellow line will leave the right side of your car 4-6 feet to the left of the white line and leave plenty of room for an oncoming car in the opposing lane.

When I'm riding I absolutely despise drivers who hang behind me when there is plenty of opportunity to safely pass.
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Old 09-26-12, 11:20 AM
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Slow down with plenty of warning and you won't get rear-ended (unless the other driver isn't paying attention, but there's nothing you can do about that). Those roads look narrow enough that you'll need to move into the other lane in order to give a cyclist enough space, so you're doing the right thing by waiting until it's safe to pass.
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Old 09-26-12, 12:28 PM
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I agree, turn on the hazard lights as you approach the cyclists. At least you are warning them that somethings up.
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Old 09-26-12, 12:37 PM
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Good golly, folks! Why don't we just put pillows on the front of our cars and be done with this? Daves_Not_Here is correct: apply the brakes (attention getting!). The pussification of this country has got to stop. Heck, my parents would have serious jail time for the stuff they let me do when I was a kid (long time ago -- think "no seatbelt laws"). The fact that brake lights are observed should clue anyone behind you into the fact that there is some sort of "hazard" in the road, be it a bike or a raccoon.
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Old 09-26-12, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bandit1990 View Post
Good golly, folks! Why don't we just put pillows on the front of our cars and be done with this? Daves_Not_Here is correct: apply the brakes (attention getting!). The pussification of this country has got to stop. Heck, my parents would have serious jail time for the stuff they let me do when I was a kid (long time ago -- think "no seatbelt laws"). The fact that brake lights are observed should clue anyone behind you into the fact that there is some sort of "hazard" in the road, be it a bike or a raccoon.
I have to laugh at this as frankly it was somewhat hilarious... however consider this... this is the country that added the extra third stop light as apparently two were not enough for some motorists. Obviously the pussification continues.

Oh BTW... I tap my brakes a couple of times to wake up those folks that are busy on cell phones behind me.
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Old 09-26-12, 12:57 PM
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As a cyclist in that situation I will sit up straight, follow a straight line, slow a bit and wave the car on by. That way I am controlling the situation more.

If I am a driver and the situation is getting out of control behind me, I will tap the horn to try to make the cyclist know I will pass WHEN it is as safe as possible for me, the cyclist, and cars behind me. I try not to drag things out too long as I know drivers behind might swerve to the right to see around and inadvertently hit the cyclist.
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Old 09-26-12, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I have to laugh at this as frankly it was somewhat hilarious... however consider this... this is the country that added the extra third stop light as apparently two were not enough for some motorists. Obviously the pussification continues.

Oh BTW... I tap my brakes a couple of times to wake up those folks that are busy on cell phones behind me.
Genec,
I've always regarded your input as valuable and pertinent to the conversation. My post was more in jest and aggravation than anything important, but the fact remains that "we" (bike riders) look for the most innnane topic to grab and hold on to. I relly think brake lights would be a good signal to slow down.
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Old 09-26-12, 01:02 PM
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And yes....we have become pussified. Hah!
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Old 09-26-12, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bandit1990 View Post
Genec,
I've always regarded your input as valuable and pertinent to the conversation. My post was more in jest and aggravation than anything important, but the fact remains that "we" (bike riders) look for the most innnane topic to grab and hold on to. I relly think brake lights would be a good signal to slow down.
Consider that this country did add a third brake light... and it really makes you wonder... were folks just not paying attention to the two that already existed?

I don't know how young you are, but that third brake light came about in about the mid '80s.
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Old 09-26-12, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Consider that this country did add a third brake light... and it really makes you wonder... were folks just not paying attention to the two that already existed?

I don't know how young you are, but that third brake light came about in about the mid '80s.
Mid-80's I was trying to adjust to the climate at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Obviously, there are no brake lights on the freakin planes! But we did have a robust cycling club at the time. Problem was that you could ride 30+ miles and never encounter a car.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Consider that this country did add a third brake light... and it really makes you wonder... were folks just not paying attention to the two that already existed?

I don't know how young you are, but that third brake light came about in about the mid '80s.
My impression is that use of a third brake light started in Europe (Sweden, maybe?) and resulted in a very statistically significant reduction in rear-end collisions. It spread through Europe and eventually to the US (but was delayed in the face of stiff opposition from the automobile industry).

I think this is just one of the factors that has contributed to a gradual decline in traffic accidents and fatalities over the last 20 years.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:39 PM
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My point exactly, Sir. Brake lights signal a problem ahead, and therefore cyclists/motorists should be aware.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
My impression is that use of a third brake light started in Europe (Sweden, maybe?) and resulted in a very statistically significant reduction in rear-end collisions. It spread through Europe and eventually to the US (but was delayed in the face of stiff opposition from the automobile industry).

I think this is just one of the factors that has contributed to a gradual decline in traffic accidents and fatalities over the last 20 years.
The real issue is that the third brake light was new and unusual, so it helped then... but now we are all used to them... do they continue to help? And have collisions really decreased? It is hard to find that stat. As far as deaths, airbags have been installed in all new cars... so is it lights or airbags that tend to decrease deaths?
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Old 09-26-12, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike View Post
As a cyclist in that situation I will sit up straight, follow a straight line, slow a bit and wave the car on by. That way I am controlling the situation more.

If I am a driver and the situation is getting out of control behind me, I will tap the horn to try to make the cyclist know I will pass WHEN it is as safe as possible for me, the cyclist, and cars behind me. I try not to drag things out too long as I know drivers behind might swerve to the right to see around and inadvertently hit the cyclist.
That is definitely not the message that I get when, as a cyclist, someone taps the horn. I associate horn with "MOVE OUT OF MY WAY" and it's definitely stressful.

If someone is hanging out behind me and not passing, that I interpret as "I'm waiting for a safe place to pass". I am perfectly fine with this. Them following behind me doesn't affect me at all, and I'd rather they were overly cautious than have them buzz me too close. I would rather not wave them on, because the last thing I want is a stressed-out driver doing something that they're uncomfortable with doing. What's wrong with letting them wait until they've got what they consider a big enough gap? I usually give them a smile and a thank-you wave when they do this.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
... As far as deaths, airbags have been installed in all new cars... so is it lights or airbags that tend to decrease deaths?
Yes.

I don't think traffic fatality reductions are due to a single factor, but rather to a combination: airbags, center brake lights, ABS, tire technology, daytime running lights, road design, DUI reduction, demographics, economy, culture, seat belt usage, teenage driving restrictions, etc.

My impression is that both collision and fatality rates have been falling over decades and that these trends appear to be sustaining.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:59 PM
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One thing I thought was neat on the brake lights topic is some commercial vehicles, motorcycles and cars have a 3-hit flash before the brake lights go steady. Almost a strobe action for the same reasons listed. Honestly if they made a reasonable priced retrofit I would consider adding it to my vehicle.

Agreed completely with CHarbucks. If someone wants to lag I respect that. Horns here are rarely taken as a pleasant thing and I myself find the urge to gesture back hard to resist. Perhaps that is why Euro/Japanese horns are so small compared to the American types(I have two horns on my jeep).
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Old 09-26-12, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by common man View Post
I live in a suburb of Philadelphia which has narrow roads with low visibility. I rarely see cyclists but I see enough that every time I drive I try to be prepared in case someone is there. I prefer to slow down behind the cyclist until I can see far ahead and then I pass by moving past the solid yellow line and half way into the opposing lane (which should be totally clear before I go). There are some people with reflexes and skills to squeeze between the yellow line and the cyclist and just pass or people who can go on the other side of the road while an opposing car is coming and come back just in time…but I am not one of them (unfortunately).

My problem is, when I slow down behind a cyclist, I am afraid of getting rear ended by a tailgating car. I have no problem following the yellow speed signs (which are not limits but suggestions) but nobody follows that and so I feel peer pressured to speed up even though I am in no hurry. If I follow the yellow speed limit signs, there will be a chain of cars behind me and people honking. Obviously if I get into trouble with a road hazard ahead, those guys honking aren’t going to be helping.

I’ve seen some videos of people passing on youtube but those are often multi lane roads which are easier to handle IMO. I’ve never seen videos where a car slows down behind a cyclist and waits for a clear sight to pass.

Here are some screen shots from Google maps of the roads that I am talking about



Slow down, just enough that, if you do have to slam on the brakes, you won't skid into the back of the cyclist.
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Old 09-27-12, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
Yes.

I don't think traffic fatality reductions are due to a single factor, but rather to a combination: airbags, center brake lights, ABS, tire technology, daytime running lights, road design, DUI reduction, demographics, economy, culture, seat belt usage, teenage driving restrictions, etc.

My impression is that both collision and fatality rates have been falling over decades and that these trends appear to be sustaining.
My impression is that collision rates have not decreased... and in fact there are more fender benders and rear end collisions than ever before. Now I can't find a stat that shows this as these are strictly insurance industry stats... but my belief is based on the fact that I see more and more "collision repair centers" around. If anyone is in the insurance industry... perhaps you can confirm this.
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Old 09-27-12, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
My impression is that collision rates have not decreased... and in fact there are more fender benders and rear end collisions than ever before. Now I can't find a stat that shows this as these are strictly insurance industry stats... but my belief is based on the fact that I see more and more "collision repair centers" around. If anyone is in the insurance industry... perhaps you can confirm this.
I'm peripherally aware of the collision repair industry -- rule of thumb in that industry is that on average, every car is engaged in a fender bender requiring repair services every 7 or 8 years. I believe that the proliferation of collision repair centers is due primarily to steady demand (12% of all cars must be repaired each year) combined with ability to pay due to ready availability of funds from insurance companies. There are a growing number of repair centers that specifically cater to insurance companies rather than to the general public.

That said, someone who is actually in the industry would know better than me.
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Old 09-27-12, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
I'm peripherally aware of the collision repair industry -- rule of thumb in that industry is that on average, every car is engaged in a fender bender requiring repair services every 7 or 8 years. I believe that the proliferation of collision repair centers is due primarily to steady demand (12% of all cars must be repaired each year) combined with ability to pay due to ready availability of funds from insurance companies. There are a growing number of repair centers that specifically cater to insurance companies rather than to the general public.

That said, someone who is actually in the industry would know better than me.
Well if there is that steady a clientele at collision centers, then apparently cars are still crashing into each other on a fairly regular basis... although deaths from such injuries have gone down. So this speaks to the fact that "accidents" are not much on the decline... but they are more survivable.
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