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Doesn't seem real

Old 09-19-13, 03:22 AM
  #1  
subwoofer
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Doesn't seem real

I'm trying to make sense of an incident in the last 12 hours that has left me shaken.

Last night I was out after dark on the pedal bike riding up to a local viewpoint. The route requires a short section <1mile on a single carriageway road. It is not street lit, so requires a reasonably bright light on the front of the bike.

Trying to take a balanced view, the light I have is bright and has a wide spill. It would not look like a normal bike light, possibly appearing to be a motorbike. As I ride and wobble along, the beam will be moving about (just to try and give a complete picture). All the cars I pass have never flashed me or otherwise complained, and only once has one driver slowed slightly when passing which they may have done anyway. If the light were a problem, oncoming traffic would flash their lights and I would switch it down or off.

So here I am riding along the road and a big transit van (the longer and taller type) is coming towards me at a good speed, about 50m in front of me it suddenly and purposefully swerved at me and missed me by inches. It almost doesn't seem real and I can't work out what happened. The driver did not flash me, or slow down, or shout anything out of the window, all he did was narrowly miss hitting me head-on, at speed. WHAT the BLEEP!!!!

As I say it still doesn't seem real and I'm not sure what to make of it.
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Old 09-19-13, 04:38 AM
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You've stated the objective facts quite well. And just happy that you were not injured.

I wouldn't conjecture too much as you can't really say what occurred on the drivers' side other than veering into your path and giving you a bad surprise. That said - it always makes you wonder.
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Old 09-19-13, 05:58 AM
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could have been anything. Might have been falling asleep.
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Old 09-19-13, 06:20 AM
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I've had that happen once when it was very clearly a teenager getting his thrills by trying to terrify me.

In two other cases, based on the "OMG!" expressions I saw on the driver's faces as they nearly killed me, I suspect it was them messing around with a phone/radio/etc and drifting over the center line.
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Old 09-19-13, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
could have been anything. Might have been falling asleep.
Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
I've had that happen once when it was very clearly a teenager getting his thrills by trying to terrify me.

In two other cases, based on the "OMG!" expressions I saw on the driver's faces as they nearly killed me, I suspect it was them messing around with a phone/radio/etc and drifting over the center line.

Thanks to the full moon behind me I could see clearly he was not falling asleep or fiddling with a phone, it was a deliberate swerve at me. I'm beginning to suspect he thought it would be funny to drive me off the road into the ditch as I did end up on the last inch or two of tarmac.


Just popped out for a bit to eat and had to cross the road. The two lead vehicles (from each direction) were big vans just like the one that swerved at me last night. I did hesitate for a moment before stepping out onto the road!
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Old 09-19-13, 07:04 AM
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I have had that happen once where I knew it was intentional. I always figured that holding your line was the best approach.
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Old 09-19-13, 07:50 AM
  #7  
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I agree, hold your line but make escape plans. there may be a true psycopath or two out there, but all but a tiny fraction are just idiots.

If it happened a lot, I guess I would A) ride with video (I do anyway), and B) start carrying a few 1" diameter steel ball bearings in a bar bag. One of those flipped in front of a windscreen should properly express my displeasure.
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Old 09-19-13, 10:00 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
I'm trying to make sense of an incident in the last 12 hours that has left me shaken.

Last night I was out after dark on the pedal bike riding up to a local viewpoint. The route requires a short section <1mile on a single carriageway road. It is not street lit, so requires a reasonably bright light on the front of the bike.

Trying to take a balanced view, the light I have is bright and has a wide spill. It would not look like a normal bike light, possibly appearing to be a motorbike. As I ride and wobble along, the beam will be moving about (just to try and give a complete picture). All the cars I pass have never flashed me or otherwise complained, and only once has one driver slowed slightly when passing which they may have done anyway. If the light were a problem, oncoming traffic would flash their lights and I would switch it down or off.

So here I am riding along the road and a big transit van (the longer and taller type) is coming towards me at a good speed, about 50m in front of me it suddenly and purposefully swerved at me and missed me by inches. It almost doesn't seem real and I can't work out what happened. The driver did not flash me, or slow down, or shout anything out of the window, all he did was narrowly miss hitting me head-on, at speed. WHAT the BLEEP!!!!

As I say it still doesn't seem real and I'm not sure what to make of it.
Did the driver cross over the double yellow line?
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Old 09-19-13, 10:08 AM
  #9  
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I am convinced that at night, bike lights attract drunk or drugged, even sleepy drivers. If they are looking at a light and wondering what the heck it is, they will drift towards it. You will never have an explanation or get that fear completely out of your mind. Happy to hear that you did not get hit. I was hit back in June and now I am chicken. I am working through it though...
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Old 09-19-13, 11:10 AM
  #10  
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What do they call it, target focus? I think he was drowsy (might not have shown in his face) and subconsciously turned towards the light.

Do you wear any reflective clothing?
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Old 09-19-13, 11:12 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
Thanks to the full moon behind me I could see clearly he was not falling asleep or fiddling with a phone, it was a deliberate swerve at me. I'm beginning to suspect he thought it would be funny to drive me off the road into the ditch as I did end up on the last inch or two of tarmac.

I suppose that eliminates the possibility that the driver was looking elsewhere. However, just because you can see the driver's face doesn't mean you can know what is going on inside his little brain. It's still possible that his mind was so totally occupied that he wasn't really "all there". Not likely, just possible. I've had the same thing happen. It's unsettling for a bit, but, like gas, it passes.

There are some messed up people out there who should not be allowed to operate dangerous tools. Unfortunately, as a society we permit them to do so, often even after they have killed innocent people. Once a decade or so you will encounter one of these folks when he/she is having one of those days. Enjoy the thousands of days in between these encounters.
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Old 09-19-13, 11:16 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Number400 View Post
I am convinced that at night, bike lights attract drunk or drugged, even sleepy drivers. If they are looking at a light and wondering what the heck it is, they will drift towards it. You will never have an explanation or get that fear completely out of your mind. Happy to hear that you did not get hit. I was hit back in June and now I am chicken. I am working through it though...
It's called target fixation. And it's why there are many motorcycle deaths hitting lone object in an area.

It's worse the more impaired someone is.
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Old 09-19-13, 11:37 AM
  #13  
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My hit in June was due to a motorcyclist's target fixation. I was standing still and nothing to the right/left of me and there he was wide eyed and locked up on the brakes and wham. I road raced motorcycles for 10 years and know all about that little mistake. Look where you want to go and never look at what you don't want to hit. Works on a bike too.
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Old 09-19-13, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
I agree, hold your line but make escape plans. there may be a true psycopath or two out there, but all but a tiny fraction are just idiots.

If it happened a lot, I guess I would A) ride with video (I do anyway), and B) start carrying a few 1" diameter steel ball bearings in a bar bag. One of those flipped in front of a windscreen should properly express my displeasure.
That was a HA trick. But it can be considered assault.

Gravel would be much harder to prosecute.
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Old 09-19-13, 12:18 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
Thanks to the full moon behind me I could see clearly he was not falling asleep or fiddling with a phone, it was a deliberate swerve at me. I'm beginning to suspect he thought it would be funny to drive me off the road into the ditch as I did end up on the last inch or two of tarmac . . .
Your powers of observation are truly astounding. Oncoming traffic. At night. You were not only able to see beyond the headlights to see the driver by moonlight but saw in such detail that you are able to tell what the driver was thinking and doing.
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Old 09-19-13, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
Your powers of observation are truly astounding. Oncoming traffic. At night. You were not only able to see beyond the headlights to see the driver by moonlight but saw in such detail that you are able to tell what the driver was thinking and doing.
Did you see how bright the nearly full moon was last night? I was easily able to read by the moonlight in my area... in fact it was so bright I had to close the bedroom curtains to get some sleep.
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Old 09-19-13, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Did you see how bright the nearly full moon was last night? I was easily able to read by the moonlight in my area... in fact it was so bright I had to close the bedroom curtains to get some sleep.
Yes, the moon was also bright and beautiful here, maybe even brighter than the usually quoted 0.25-0.30 lux. In comparison an deeply overcast day is 40 lux. A cloudy day provides 10,000 - 25,000 lux.

If the OP would have been very close to the driver with eyes adjusted for darkness it would have taken only ordinary powers. At a distance, faced with his own and the oncoming vehicle lights, peering through a windshield, looking at a bailout situation his powers become extraordinary. I, in sad comparison, would not have been able to tell what driver was doing or not doing or thinking or not thinking even in the full light of day.
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Old 09-19-13, 01:43 PM
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If I were you, I would probably go buy a few lottery tickets, you seem likely to win.

I am glad you're still here but without a doubt it is only by a stroke of good luck.
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Old 09-19-13, 02:31 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
Yes, the moon was also bright and beautiful here, maybe even brighter than the usually quoted 0.25-0.30 lux. In comparison an deeply overcast day is 40 lux. A cloudy day provides 10,000 - 25,000 lux.

If the OP would have been very close to the driver with eyes adjusted for darkness it would have taken only ordinary powers. At a distance, faced with his own and the oncoming vehicle lights, peering through a windshield, looking at a bailout situation his powers become extraordinary. I, in sad comparison, would not have been able to tell what driver was doing or not doing or thinking or not thinking even in the full light of day.
Oh no doubt the OP has special powers... to be able to tell what someone is thinking...

I just mentioned it was a bright moon.
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Old 09-19-13, 02:46 PM
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I still remember an incident as a kid, age 13 or 14, walking to the local news stand with my two younger brothers. We were walking on the shoulder near the grass and some dolt aimed his sports car at us, screeching tires clear across the shoulder and his front tires in the grass. It was deliberate and he was laughing - I do remember seeing his face and it sticks with you, so I for one believe OP about it.

Just a vehicle bully, tough guy but not tough enough to get out of his car. That's how I look at it.
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Old 09-20-13, 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I suppose that eliminates the possibility that the driver was looking elsewhere. However, just because you can see the driver's face doesn't mean you can know what is going on inside his little brain. It's still possible that his mind was so totally occupied that he wasn't really "all there". Not likely, just possible.
Very true, I only said "I'm beginning to suspect he thought it would be funny to drive me off the road into the ditch as I did end up on the last inch or two of tarmac." Suspect is not 'know'

Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
It's called target fixation. And it's why there are many motorcycle deaths hitting lone object in an area.

It's worse the more impaired someone is.
Thanks for the suggestion, however in my experience target fixation is usually a gradual drifting, not a deliberate swerving over at the 'target'.

Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
Your powers of observation are truly astounding. Oncoming traffic. At night. You were not only able to see beyond the headlights to see the driver by moonlight but saw in such detail that you are able to tell what the driver was thinking and doing.
Not astounding at all. Full bright moon, my own bike light's spill, single vehicle coming at me on an otherwise deserted road.

Have you ever been in real danger or had a traumatic experience? Well, when you do, it is amazing what you can take in and strange how time seems to slow down (probably a rush of adrenaline).

I never said I knew what he was thinking.

Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
Yes, the moon was also bright and beautiful here, maybe even brighter than the usually quoted 0.25-0.30 lux. In comparison an deeply overcast day is 40 lux. A cloudy day provides 10,000 - 25,000 lux.

If the OP would have been very close to the driver with eyes adjusted for darkness it would have taken only ordinary powers. At a distance, faced with his own and the oncoming vehicle lights, peering through a windshield, looking at a bailout situation his powers become extraordinary. I, in sad comparison, would not have been able to tell what driver was doing or not doing or thinking or not thinking even in the full light of day.
A strangely aggressive challenging post. I never said I knew what he was thinking. What is your point?

Originally Posted by genec View Post
Oh no doubt the OP has special powers... to be able to tell what someone is thinking...

I just mentioned it was a bright moon.
It does not take a mind reader to 'understand' a clearly aggressive posturing of this driver's actions. There was no drifting, no vagueness in the movement of the vehicle, it was an obvious, direct, violent swerve at me, the type which would only otherwise be explained by swerving to avoid hitting something, however, there was absolutely nothing else, no animals, people, obstacles, blind spots, nothing to provide another explanation.

There is a suggestion that 90% of communication is not verbal, with body language speaking volumes. Though of course this is only theory, the same principal can be applied to any observation of another person and their actions.
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Old 09-20-13, 07:09 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Number400 View Post
My hit in June was due to a motorcyclist's target fixation. I was standing still and nothing to the right/left of me and there he was wide eyed and locked up on the brakes and wham. I road raced motorcycles for 10 years and know all about that little mistake. Look where you want to go and never look at what you don't want to hit. Works on a bike too.

Hope you've healed up..

To the OP:
Sorry didn't mean to suggest what you report is target fixation, replying to other threads. With 220k miles on Motorcycles, most of that what I'd call "Combat Commuting"... I firmly believe that many people out there are taking out their frustrations, hostilities and aggression on soft targets.

I saw this the other day:
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/0...ists-among-us/

I had one guy in a customized Scion, with personalized plates drive like he was in the streets of San Francisco in rush hour traffic to catch up with me on my motorcycle. Crossing double lines, cutting people off. Then swerve into me and force me off the road. I pulled over. Took off my helmet and walked back to his car. I was furious. I was about to beat him senseless. I left... still furious...

So yes, people use their cars as a means to express their aggression they are too pathetic to channel in constructive ways...
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Old 09-20-13, 09:09 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
. . . A strangely aggressive challenging post. I never said I knew what he was thinking. What is your point? . . .

My point is that, your protestations to the contrary, all the information you have about the driver's thought process lies in your imagination.
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