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Close call today

Old 05-17-18, 12:22 PM
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RubeRad
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Close call today

Don't know how instructive this would be to others, but I thought I'd share just in case.

See the pic, I was in the bike lane, there was a big truck to my right in one of the right-turn only lanes for the Interstate entrance ramp. Maybe not quite an 18-wheeler, but definitely a tractor/trailer.

When the light turned green, we both started forward. I quickly thought 'Jeez this guy is getting awful close, he must be starting leftish to make a really wide right turn'. And then he keeps getting lefter and lefter. Fortunately I stopped and let him pass because he (totally illegally!) crossed the bike lane to proceed 'straight' under the freeway!

I cannot fathom what was going through his mind. I know we made eye contact because while the light was red I dismounted my bike to take my jacket off, and I was turned and facing him. Maybe he thought that in that eye contact he communicated his crazy plan to me? How does he not (a) wait for me to go past before illegally changing lanes? (b) wait for car traffic that has right of way for the lane he's illegally changing into? (c) roll down the window and say 'hey man, I'm going over there so watch out', (d) give a honk or something?

What a great present for Bike to Work Day!

Well anyways, it's lunch, time to go get my bike and see how many others are joining me for a ride to Chipotle's, my company agreed to buy lunch for cyclists today!


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Old 05-17-18, 12:33 PM
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What was going thru his mind? He didn't know that was a right turn only lane and you took the wrong lane.
Take just a little more time and be safe. Often times in this kind of intersection I will pull to the curb, jump the light just a bit and beat out the drivers in the right turn lane to cross the intersection. I also don't like stopping in the lane, first in line at an intersection...don't know if the driver coming from behind will really stop.
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Old 05-17-18, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I cannot fathom what was going through his mind. I know we made eye contact because while the light was red I dismounted my bike to take my jacket off, and I was turned and facing him. Maybe he thought that in that eye contact he communicated his crazy plan to me? How does he not (a) wait for me to go past before illegally changing lanes? (b) wait for car traffic that has right of way for the lane he's illegally changing into? (c) roll down the window and say 'hey man, I'm going over there so watch out', (d) give a honk or something?
A reasonable and rational person could and would have done any of those things. The problem is we cannot expect everyone behind the wheel to be either.

Glad there was no incident.
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Old 05-17-18, 01:41 PM
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With those 29+ on your Krampus you can just ride right over a tractor trailer
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Old 05-17-18, 02:10 PM
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haha, I was planning on riding Krampus for BTWD, taking my son on a trail ride to school on his MTB, but I tried to wake him up at 6:30 and he wussed out. Said he was too tired. (It just occurred to me, I should have pulled out the oldest cycling pun in the book!) So I just rode my regular commuter, the CrossCheck.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
What was going thru his mind? He didn't know that was a right turn only lane and you took the wrong lane.
Take just a little more time and be safe. Often times in this kind of intersection I will pull to the curb, jump the light just a bit and beat out the drivers in the right turn lane to cross the intersection. I also don't like stopping in the lane, first in line at an intersection...don't know if the driver coming from behind will really stop.
**********
The OP was in the bike lane, which is clear from both the picture and the narrative.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:15 PM
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Not to get to political on this but he could have been thinking he's an independent contractor paid by the load and needs to cut as many corners as he can to try and make a living. There was an accident like that here a few years ago where a guy like that drove around the railroad crossing gates in a truck like the one Rube described. The train hit him, the intersection was closed for a long time and his lack of insurance made things worse.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
What was going thru his mind? He didn't know that was a right turn only lane and you took the wrong lane.
?Wrong lane? I was in the bike lane!

Often times in this kind of intersection I will pull to the curb, jump the light just a bit and beat out the drivers in the right turn lane to cross the intersection.
That would be worse, for this intersection. The two right turn lanes are very busy with drivers who have been conditioned through years of practice to roll that stoplight, focusing only on beating the car next to them up the ramp to the interstate.

I've waited in that spot in the bike lane for the green light basically every day for going on 6 years now (somehow I very rarely catch it green). It's never been a problem before. The only spot I normally worry about is a couple hundred yards back when the right-turn lanes develop, and I have to jump those lanes to 'stay' in the bike lane. There, I watch my mirror and physically turn around to double-check, and cross when there's a giant space between cars. If there's no space, I err on the side of caution and pull over and stop until there is a space.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
**********
The OP was in the bike lane, which is clear from both the picture and the narrative.
Notice also, beyond the intersection, where the bike lane resumes its natural position at the curb, protected by the buffer of zebra striping. That's where I was headed.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:22 PM
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Awesome you weren’t ground up by the truck. Trucks can make their own rules, nothing you can do about it. It’s like hiking with grizzlies, but different.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:24 PM
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It reminds me a lot of this Russian video.


Turn-only lane, with a new lane appearing on the other side of the intersection. Truck goes straight through, and the cyclist wasn't quite as lucky as you were.

In your photo:


With all those white stripes, there is another lane appearing just beyond that. So, the truck merely had to go straight (much like the truck in the Russian incident), through the white striped area, while you were expected to cut to the right.

The road could use a lot better markings. Perhaps GREEN bike path paint, and a solid curved line on the pavement clearly indicating an obligatory right turn.

I'm glad you were ok.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Well anyways, it's lunch, time to go get my bike and see how many others are joining me for a ride to Chipotle, my company agreed to buy lunch for cyclists today!
Total of 10 out to Chipotle, including the president. It was cool to have some high-level corporate participation; hopefully we can grow next year. It was a nice <4mi round trip. Perfect weather (then again, in San Diego, that's every day)
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Old 05-17-18, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It reminds me a lot of this Russian video.
Dang, that's scary! Fortunately my situation was starting from a red light, so less momentum involved and more time to react.

With all those white stripes, there is another lane appearing just beyond that. So, the truck merely had to go straight (much like the truck in the Russian incident), through the white striped area, while you were expected to cut to the right.
You're right, I forgot about that. That's why he didn't have to worry about car traffic. And he probably didn't conceive that I was planning to "cross" in front of his intended path.

The road could use a lot better markings. Perhaps GREEN bike path paint, and a solid curved line on the pavement clearly indicating an obligatory right turn.
Yeah, there is an intersection very close to there that recently added solid green bike path paint to mark where a right-turn-only lane develops and bikes have to cross it. And I would love to have that a couple hundred yards back in this situation as well. But in this case, up at the actual intersection, regular traffic is legally right-turn-only bound for the freeway, so it's not normally a problem. Solid white lines 'enforcing' the right-turn-only wouldn't hurt, but they probably wouldn't help either. This guy obviously knew he was being forced onto the freeway and didn't want to do it, so he made his illegal move.

I have only my oldest kid driving right now, but I taught him, if he's ever in a situation where he has to make an unwanted turn or exit, vs making a sudden maneuver, just take the turn and then take time to safely figure out how to get back.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:36 PM
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glad you saw him coming & for your intuitive reaction. eye contact (alone) is dangerous. it's been my experience that when a motor vehicle driver makes contact with a cyclist, they think (to themselves), "well I let them know I'm here, so now I can do whatever I want"
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Old 05-17-18, 02:36 PM
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Truck was in the wrong lane. Not OP. Common enough occurrence, but usually you wait until there is a gap in order to merge back into the through lane. Truck driver probably thought, it's just a cyclist. He can wait or slow down...if he knows what's good for him.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
glad you saw him coming & for your intuitive reaction. eye contact (alone) is dangerous. it's been my experience that when a motor vehicle driver makes contact with a cyclist, they think (to themselves), "well I let them know I'm here, so now I can do whatever I want"
That's funny, that's exactly what I think after I make eye contact. There's a lesson to be learned in there...
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Old 05-17-18, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Truck was in the wrong lane. Not OP. Common enough occurrence, but usually you wait until there is a gap in order to merge back into the through lane. Truck driver probably thought, it's just a cyclist. He can wait or slow down...if he knows what's good for him.
As Clifford pointed out, there's a new right lane developing after the intersection, which is probably what he was aiming for. I guess he either ignored me, or expected me to go straight out from where I was and split the lanes on the other side?
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Old 05-17-18, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Total of 10 out to Chipotle, including the president. It was cool to have some high-level corporate participation; hopefully we can grow next year. It was a nice <4mi round trip. Perfect weather (then again, in San Diego, that's every day)
Chipolte sponsored some event I helped in, and they brought burritos for all the volunteers. Awesome as that was, I found out I could put one in a water bottle cage on the way home as I did my part to help with the leftovers.
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Old 05-17-18, 05:47 PM
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He probably had no idea you were even in a bike lane and either did not know he was in turn lane or didn't care. I have had trucks do basically the same to me while I was in a car before, they often just bully their way through.

That bike lane setup seems awful to me, I have never seen one like that. It not only doesn't line up with the other side in any way but it has no indicator lines of any kind to mark out what path you are supposed to be taking across the intersection. Since truck drivers come from all over, often mexico, he's probably never seen this goofy form of bike lane either.
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Old 05-18-18, 07:27 AM
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Shakespeare, in Henry IV, Part One, 1596:
Falstaff: 'The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.

The truck was in the wrong. If you were unhurt, you did the right thing. Glad you're okay.
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Old 05-18-18, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
What was going thru his mind? He didn't know that was a right turn only lane and you took the wrong lane.
I don't know if you, responding to the OP, think OP was in the wrong lane, or if perhaps you were meaning that the driver was thinking that OP was in the wrong lane.

In any case, any day we get to live is a good day. Glad there was no incident, OP. Ride on.
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Old 05-18-18, 08:23 AM
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On another note, what happened when that big truck took over that lane that a bunch of other cars were supposed to be in? It looks like there were two lanes of cars to your left that went straight and that the truck would have just smashed into the furthest right lane of cars going straight? How did that end up?
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Old 05-18-18, 09:14 AM
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I realize I caused some confusion. I consider the bike lane to be "THE WRONG LANE" for any biker at that intersection. As I said before, I would have gone to the curb to the right. I often do this at a busy intersection in the interest of my personal safety.
Carry on
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Old 05-18-18, 09:27 AM
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That must have been a very nerve wracking experience!
Glad that you are safe and that stopping was enough to keep you that way. I dont think you had any room on your left either because of traffic going straight.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:03 AM
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I wouldn't have expected that either, so thanks for bringing the situation up. I'm going to add it to my rule of not being beside a truck in an intersection, including the right side now. If it can be avoided.
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