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Terrifying close call yesterday

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Terrifying close call yesterday

Old 02-26-20, 04:42 AM
  #1  
subgrade
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Terrifying close call yesterday

Had a really close one yesterday evening... I escaped being run over by just a hair. I would probably still be shaking if it didn't happen at such low speeds.

A semi trailer had stopped at an intersection, waiting for left turn (his turn signal blinking, I specially paid attention to that). As I also needed to turn left (aiming for the sidewalk diagonally across the intersection, so I wasn't really going to be next to the semi), I passed the semi on the right and stopped a few meters in front of it to let the opposing traffic pass, just like the semi was doing.

At some point the driver of the semi must have changed his mind and decided to go straight ahead instead of turning left (allowed option there). I realized I must still be in his frontal blind spot as I heard the roar of his engine right behind me and coming nearer...I probably hadn't ever pushed my pedals this hard from a standing start, as I realized my only option was to get going and slip back to the right. Of course, my chain skipped under the load (I was in a fairly tall gear, one step below my usual cruising gear), and split second later I felt a nudge on my rear wheel. Luckily enough the semi changed gear then which allowed me to increase the distance a little bit and get off his path.

No physical harm done to me or the bike. The semi driver probably at no point realized I was there at all.

Moral of the story: ALWAYS keep safe distance from large vehicles, in any direction, even if they're not moving at the moment.
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Old 02-26-20, 05:14 AM
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It sounds like a tough spot being in an optional left turn lane. And, a reason why lane splitting and filtering to the front isn't always the best. Nonetheless, make sure wherever you put the foot down, you are visible.

In many cases, I like to pull forward to the middle of the crosswalk if I'm not in the way of pedestrians. Anything to give a little more visibility.

Oh, also keep in mind, vehicles may not turn on turn signals, or forget theirs are blinking. Or, even if he had turned the signal on, he may have realized he was a block off from the destination, or turning at that spot was problematic.
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Old 02-26-20, 05:51 AM
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Holy crap glad you are ok! There's no way he would've known you were there, and two meters infront is not far enough up to see you, especially on the passenger side! Always stay behind a tractor trailer or other large truck.
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Old 02-26-20, 06:29 AM
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None of us were there to see it, but maybe his turn signal was blinking because he had just changed lanes.

As cyclists we all need to be alert all of the time, and do whatever we need to do to stay safe.
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Old 02-26-20, 08:15 AM
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subgrade Glad you're okay.
Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
...Always stay behind a tractor trailer or other large truck.
I usually stay "in line" with traffic for left turns...but every situation is different. One danger of following a large truck across an intersection for a left turn is that oncoming traffic may not see you, and if the light changes, or oncoming traffic already has a green, a foolish driver in an oncoming car may try to squeeze past the end of the truck as closely as possible...and of course that's where you are. That would be one reason why turning along the right side of the truck might be a choice one would make.

Originally Posted by alo View Post
...maybe his turn signal was blinking because he had just changed lanes.

As cyclists we all need to be alert all of the time, and do whatever we need to do to stay safe.
Yes...something to consider!

This post reminds me specifically of the first left turn of my commute home. It's at a light and the left-turn lane is separated from the through-lanes by lines that make a bike-sized gap. I have seen other riders use it, but I am always worried about a left-turning driver swinging wide to the right while looking left. On the other hand, I have been behind a truck and been a surprise to an oncoming car who jumped the green.
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Old 02-26-20, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
my chain skipped under the load (I was in a fairly tall gear, one step below my usual cruising gear), and split second later I felt a nudge on my rear wheel
thanks for sharing but I don't understand, what caused this nudge? the truck striking you? the bike's drive train?

yeah, stay away from trucks & buses, they're killers
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Old 02-26-20, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
thanks for sharing but I don't understand, what caused this nudge? the truck striking you? the bike's drive train?

yeah, stay away from trucks & buses, they're killers
Yep, the truck touched my rear wheel
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Old 02-26-20, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
Yep, the truck touched my rear wheel
yikes!, better go buy a lottery ticket!
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Old 02-26-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
Yep, the truck touched my rear wheel
That's terrifying. My number 1 rule is don't be beside a truck (or bus) at an intersection. I'll have to revise that with "or directly in front".
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Old 02-26-20, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
yikes!, better go buy a lottery ticket!
Yikes indeed!
Wow, glad you're OK. Semi v bicycle has a pretty predictable outcome.
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Old 02-26-20, 10:29 AM
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I'm confused on why you pulled up beside the semi. Where weren't you behind him waiting to turn after him?
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Old 02-26-20, 11:31 AM
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This might be a helpful video based upon my understanding of events https://www.bikeleague.org/content/intersection-positioning
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Old 02-26-20, 12:08 PM
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You are very fortunate. what I have taken to doing most of the time these days is to just take the lane and get in line like any other vehicle. Not in any kind of a hurry to make the light. Whenever it' my turn, it's my turn.
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Old 02-26-20, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by debade View Post
This might be a helpful video based upon my understanding of events https://www.bikeleague.org/content/intersection-positioning
The end of the clip inspires a lot of confidence!!!

Tip:
If you need to cross over railroad tracks,
be sure to do so at a 90° angle,
to prevent puncturing your tire.
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Old 02-26-20, 12:52 PM
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reminds me of this one from last year (warning - no happy ending)

oh gosh - Cement Truck Hits Bicyclist, Serious Injury Reported
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Old 02-26-20, 03:19 PM
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Thanks for the reminder. I'm taking bad risks lately.
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Old 02-26-20, 05:40 PM
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Pulling up beside a tractor trailer is not a good idea, in any situation. Glad you escaped unscathed.
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Old 02-27-20, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mitkraft View Post
I'm confused on why you pulled up beside the semi. Where weren't you behind him waiting to turn after him?
Hope this schematic helps. I'm the thingy inside the blue circle.

If the semi would indeed have been making the left turn, we both would start simultaneously (with the likelihood of me doing a slight jump start), and I'd have completed my move long before him - that's why I pulled up in front of him.


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Old 02-27-20, 10:37 AM
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I wonder how @joeyduck is doing
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Old 02-27-20, 12:06 PM
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Yeah, that's kinda what I thought from what you were describing. You had absolutely no business being beside that vehicle regardless of what type it was. You were another vehicle, on the road, turning left. Unless there is a double turn lane the only appropriate place for you is in the turn lane behind whatever vehicles are in front of you. Just because you intended to enter the sidewalk after making the turn does not give you the right of way to jump into the intersection in any manner other than what would be appropriate for another vehicle. Otherwise you should have been in the crosswalk on the left side of the road and proceeded through based on the pedestrian signal.

Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
Hope this schematic helps. I'm the thingy inside the blue circle.

If the semi would indeed have been making the left turn, we both would start simultaneously (with the likelihood of me doing a slight jump start), and I'd have completed my move long before him - that's why I pulled up in front of him.


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Old 02-27-20, 12:15 PM
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I agree with Mitkraft . Mixing travel modes tends to make you unpredictable for other road users. Unpredictable road users cause accidents. I'm glad you didn't have to pay more than a pair of underwear for this one.
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Old 02-27-20, 04:07 PM
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Similar threats to motorbikes
Defensive driving makes one aware of the unpredictability of others at all times
I ride Like I am James Bond
Everyone in the movie is trying to kill me
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Old 02-27-20, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by bikebikebike View Post
Similar threats to motorbikes
Defensive driving makes one aware of the unpredictability of others at all times
I ride Like I am James Bond
Everyone in the movie is trying to kill me
oh yeah


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Old 02-27-20, 04:33 PM
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I am not promising that I am going to sit at #6 from the corner in that situation, I'll definitely filter forward if time permits, but if I am turning left I am going to be on the left side of the lane and in the #2 position. I never line up with the #1 car even if I KNOW they are turning. I am going to use them as a shield as I make my turn behind them. The #3 car has definitely seen me because I have been just in front of them for some time. It doesn't matter what the #1 car/truck/bus thinks. There is often a handy bicycle symbol to the left side of a mixed use lane like that for when there aren't any other cars around. I used to think that you put your front wheel on it but actually you position your bottom bracket so it goes over the edge of the sensor loop. Works everytime now that I know to position the BB over the line and not the wheel rim.
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Old 02-27-20, 04:51 PM
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Why exactly do you believe its ok to "filter forward" and basically cut in front of a bunch of cars waiting at a light only to have them get frustrated at the need to pass you (after already having done so in many cases)? The cars aren't going to be in your way if you wait behind them but you sure as heck are going to be in theirs if you cut in front. I can see the case for not coming to a complete stop at stop signs in deserted intersections but I just can't see the mentality that thinks filtering forward is anything other than being a jerk.

Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I am not promising that I am going to sit at #6 from the corner in that situation, I'll definitely filter forward if time permits, but if I am turning left I am going to be on the left side of the lane and in the #2 position. I never line up with the #1 car even if I KNOW they are turning. I am going to use them as a shield as I make my turn behind them. The #3 car has definitely seen me because I have been just in front of them for some time. It doesn't matter what the #1 car/truck/bus thinks. There is often a handy bicycle symbol to the left side of a mixed use lane like that for when there aren't any other cars around. I used to think that you put your front wheel on it but actually you position your bottom bracket so it goes over the edge of the sensor loop. Works everytime now that I know to position the BB over the line and not the wheel rim.
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