Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Left Hook Near Miss

Reply

Old 12-18-18, 10:23 PM
  #1  
flangehead
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 93

Bikes: Co-op ADV 1.1; Novarro Arriba

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Left Hook Near Miss

I had a near miss today that reinforced my caution about passing motor vehicles on the right when there is a reasonable possibility something might happen.

The setup is in the picture. This is on my normal commute, and I use the shoulder on this portion except at the infrequent intersections, when I take the lane. At this right turn, my normal route is in yellow.. I take the lane about 300 feet before the intersection. Iím able to do this 98 times out of a hundred. However, on occasion, traffic conditions are such that Iím not able to negotiate a lane change, and my bail-out option is in red.

That happened to me tonight. Traffic was moving briskly and I wasnít able to move into the lane. I signaled for a right turn when the car that just passed me slowed to a stop.. so I did too. Sure enough, a Toyota 4Runner made a left turn in front of me. (He was gaming the system. The left turn light southbound has traffic, so he turned left into the strip center then immediately went eastbound on the same road I take. Grumble.)

It is tempting to use the right shoulder to pass slower vehicles, and I do it in the portion of the road where there is a bar ditch to the right and nothing else. My risk is a sudden door opening (to nowhere) or a sudden turn into the bar ditch.. neither impossible, but neither very likely either.

But my practice of not passing on the right when there is a possible risk paid out today.


Picture on left is normal route with bailout in red. Picture on right is today's near miss.
flangehead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 12:10 AM
  #2  
madpogue
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 2,018
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 271 Post(s)
Is that a shoulder, or is it a bike lane? If it's a shoulder, why not just take the right lane the whole way? What's the speed limit there?
madpogue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 12:48 AM
  #3  
flangehead
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 93

Bikes: Co-op ADV 1.1; Novarro Arriba

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
This segment is about a mile long with 3 foot shoulder and 45 mph posted speed limit. There is only one intersection (with a traffic light) besides what is shown. The road transits a reservoir; no residential or commercial on the edges, just a bar ditch, deer, possum and raccoons. Taking the lane full length would bunch up motorists and increase my hazard at this time of day.
flangehead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 01:25 AM
  #4  
acidfast7
EU > USA
 
acidfast7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 7,930

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 769 Post(s)
Yeah, that's very risky. I ride in a very traffic dense and always blend in with the traffic going. If I'm using the road I should only go where the cars can go or how else would I expect a car to see me.

I wouldn't be riding on that shoulder and would be in the traffic in the left lane.

Personally, I would find an alternate route as that is hazardou but sometimes that's unavoidable.

Here, even the bike lanes get used up and often I'm riding in between parked cars and moving cars like this video (but that's the only way onto/off the Western half of the island, except for ferry and hovercraft). I do trust British drivers more than US driver because a greater percentage of them cycle themselves.

acidfast7 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 01:25 AM
  #5  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 20,594
Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7343 Post(s)
We all do it some. Get passed by 50 cars that buzz ahead and stop at the light. Then we pass on the right.

From your photo, cars had stopped to leave the driveway clear due to the light ahead, I think. That is always a dangerous situation on a multi-lane road when 1 or 2 lanes are stopped and a third "lane" isn't stopped. Well, not quite a lane, but you get the picture.

Drivers or cyclists must always use caution when passing stopped cars.

Glad you survived.
CliffordK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 01:34 AM
  #6  
acidfast7
EU > USA
 
acidfast7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 7,930

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 769 Post(s)
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
We all do it some. Get passed by 50 cars that buzz ahead and stop at the light. Then we pass on the right.

From your photo, cars had stopped to leave the driveway clear due to the light ahead, I think. That is always a dangerous situation on a multi-lane road when 1 or 2 lanes are stopped and a third "lane" isn't stopped. Well, not quite a lane, but you get the picture.

Drivers or cyclists must always use caution when passing stopped cars.

Glad you survived.
Should really have a yellow box junction there.

acidfast7 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 12:12 PM
  #7  
madpogue
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 2,018
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 271 Post(s)
Actually, in most states here, the yellow box would just signify what's already the law at any intersection of public roads. Stated in plain English, if the traffic congestion doesn't allow you to get _through_ the intersection, you're required to stop before going _into_ the intersection. 'Course, the yellow box should extend into the crosswalks, because it's also illegal to stop over the crosswalk if the block ahead is backed all the way up. But I'd be willing to bet most drivers have no idea of this (which, of course, violates the agreement they signed when they got their license, but I digress...), so a marking like this is probably a good idea at every intersection, even if it just "codifies" what every drivers should already know.

Doesn't apply, of course, to mid-block private driveways. So it's unclear if it would apply in this case. The aerial shots make it unclear whether the thoroughfare to the right is to a private business lot, or if that's a public street / frontage. If it's just going into a private lot, then the owner of the property MIGHT be able to petition for a "DO NOT BLOCK DRIVEWAY" sign (the closest thing we'd have to the yellow-box marking).

A three-foot shoulder is a dangerous place to ride, in any event. Even if (assuming north is up in the aerials) northbound traffing is moving along at a full clip, southbound traffic waiting to turn would not expect northbound traffic excempt in the two lanes. And with two lanes in the northbound direction, bike traffic should be able to use the right lane. Esp. if the lane is slow/stopped, being out in the lane, where you're visible, is much safer than the shoulder.

'Course, the "elephant in the room" is the question of legality of southbound traffic turning left there. According to the aerial, there's a solid yellow stripe in both directions, and the area between the northbound and southbound lanes, where the southbound car was presumably waiting to turn, is hashed off as "not a traffic lane". This SHOULD mean that ultimately, there is no legal left turn from the southbound lane into that road/driveway/whatever. That still doesn't make riding the shoulder a good idea.

Bottom line - terrible infrastructure. Inadequate (well, zero) accomodation for bicycles, obviously inadequate signage, and at best poor surface markings.
madpogue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 12:21 PM
  #8  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 21,543

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2597 Post(s)
nothing to do with your left hook situation, but I have used the shoulder the whole length of that kind of situation. why do you take the lane at all?
rumrunn6 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 12:44 PM
  #9  
madpogue
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 2,018
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 271 Post(s)
The shoulder is not a traffic lane.
madpogue is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 02:43 PM
  #10  
flangehead
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 93

Bikes: Co-op ADV 1.1; Novarro Arriba

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Clarifications:

1. The entrance where the left hook occurred is not a street; it is the strip mall entrance aka "private driveway".
2. There are double solid yellow lines on the left side of both the northbound and southbound portions. However, I believe in Texas it is legal to turn across a double yellow to access a private driveway. (Cutting through the strip mall is a violation of Texas Sec. 545.423 (b), as if that mattered in the least...)
3. As I noted, I take the lane as I approach intersections so I am clearly visible and to prevent right hooks. In fact, I had exactly the same situation occur when I was in the middle of the right lane, with daytime running lights and doing about 15 mph. Had to do an emergency stop. It was, in fact, a closer call than this event. (The driver was looking directly at me and knew they wouldn't get hurt. It is people like that which give motorists a bad reputation. But at least they stopped at the dry cleaners.)
4. It is hard to see in the pictures but the shoulder is wide enough that I get 3 foot clearance from most vehicles. It is safer for me to have vehicles passing than bunching up which can result in someone doing something stupid, and I'm the most likely victim of stupid. Particularly at busy times like when this happened, vehicle speed is low due to traffic so the closing speed on me is pretty low.. 10-20 mph passing me.. and I have a mirror. There are the 2 times out of a hundred when the speed is relatively high and they are packed together so tightly that I can't reasonably negotiate my way into the lane.. that's when I use my bail-out. (I didn't mention that the shoulder narrows and for some reason accumulates more debris from the private driveway to the traffic light. Staying on it doesn't feel good at all.)

Interesting how we all habituate to our environment. Watching the Portsmouth Stamshaw Road video puckered me up.. I was seeing door prizes the whole way and random blind crossers.. <shivers>

Anyhow, I appreciate when others share their experiences because I use it to re-think what I do and adjust my habits. Thanks!
flangehead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 02:54 PM
  #11  
acidfast7
EU > USA
 
acidfast7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 7,930

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 769 Post(s)
Originally Posted by flangehead View Post

Interesting how we all habituate to our environment. Watching the Portsmouth Stamshaw Road video puckered me up.. I was seeing door prizes the whole way and random blind crossers.. <shivers>
usual crap around these parts.

aye, you right ol' ****! no indicator either the bellend.

acidfast7 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-18, 03:48 PM
  #12  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,114

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 52 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2297 Post(s)
I'd be doing exactly the same thing there, shoulder mostly and taking a lane before the intersection if I could. Good instinct, it can be surprising how often a car stopped at an intersection can be hiding a danger. From any direction really, sometimes it's a bike or pedestrian that you don't see until he crosses in front.
wphamilton is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service