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First Bad Experience

Old 09-26-05, 02:56 AM
  #1  
cradduck
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First Bad Experience

I am riding home from work three days ago and I come to an intersection that I have to take on my route home. On my way to work I turn right at this intesection so no big deal, but on my way home I pretty much have to make a left-which is the scary part. I dislike this intesection enough that when I get to it on my ride home I will usually unclip and walk my bike through the cross walk both directions to make that eventual left turn toward home.

So the light turns green and the little walking man lights up. I glance over my left shoulder to make sure I'm safe and start to take that first step off the curb. No soon do I step off the curb that some dumb@$$ woman driving her subaru tries to take the curb like a Forumla One driver. There was no way that she didn't see me because I could see her checking me and my birdie in her review. I continue on from the first lane and into the second and just as I am lowering my arm a large truck turns RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME into the third lane. Just as the truck cut in front of me I could hear another lady scream from inside her car (she ended up pulling over to make sure I was ok- she had thought the truck was going to hit me). The truck could have taken the first lane behind me or waited ten seconds and have whatever lane he/she wanted.

The remaining 10 miles home was miserable. My legs were shaking enough that they didn't want to work properly. Are people really that homacidal? I felt like my life was endangered for no good reason at all.

I swear they should pass a law that if endanger a pedestrian or cyclist and you are at fault that you should be beaten, have your car impounded and your licence taken away, and issued a Huffy to commute on.
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Old 09-26-05, 03:00 AM
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I apologize, I managed to repost on accident. Title had a typo and I tried to stop it.
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Old 09-26-05, 04:21 AM
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well.... glad to hear everything turned out ok for ya. could have been alot worse from the sound of it. it really makes my blood boil when i hear about stuff like this.

you really have to be almost "paranoid" when you ride... same as being on a motorcycle. maybe one day, the vehicle of choice will be two wheeled...

the huffy idea sounds like a good one to me. lol

ride safe,
Rich
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Old 09-26-05, 04:57 AM
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Yup, you were lucky. I bet you learned a couple of things today too.

Here are some I picked up from reading your post:

1) Never assume that a driver will act in a predictable way - the lady in the Suburu. You can have the right of way and still get hit - right, but creamed anyway.

2) When crossing a street, one of the greatest dangers is the traffic which is turning and may turn into you - the truck, for example.

3) Riding on sidewalks is dangerous (I think that is what I understand from your post). Drivers do not look on sidewalks for pedestrians or bicyclists. They are focused on the road. If you do take the sidewalk, remember that entering the street from the sidewalk is very dangerous and you have to double and triple check the traffic.
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Old 09-26-05, 05:12 AM
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Reminds me of Cambridge . Been on both sides of the coin as pedestrian and driver. The lights make no sense. Oncoming vehicles can have a green light as well as pedestrians running parallel; things become a mess when vehicles are turning in the intersection and as a pedestrian you think all traffic has a red light. It probably doesn't. It may even have a green arrow indicating an "all clear" to go left even when pedestrians are given the go ahead to cross. Being in our own worlds we are usually thinking about one or the other, not both. From the sounds of it you really got hosed. Too bad we dont have eyes on the backs of our heads. Be safe bullet.
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Old 09-26-05, 01:47 PM
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Scary. Glad you are all right.

I also had my first near-death experience this past week. After a year-long hiatus from commuting, I started again about a month ago. So, I was riding along a 4-lane (2 lanes each way) not-to-busy, city street. I hear a car behind me and look back to see the driver move from my lane to the inside lane to avoid me. As they drive by (two younger guys), the one in the passenger seat hollers something undecipherable out the window and gives me the thumbs-up. So, I'm trying to figure out whether they were being obnoxious or if they were sincerely supporting cycling, when this woman turns left right in front of me. I slam on the brakes and slide on some gravel and my bike comes to a stop inches away from the back of her car. I actually hit her car with my hand to stop my momentum, but she didn't even stop. She briefly braked, but then just went right on. Hmmph!
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Old 09-26-05, 02:08 PM
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There's some real nutjobs behind the wheels these days. Maybe you should investigate that intersection for traffic accidents/fatalities and if it's higher than average, ask your local assemblyman to have traffic engineers put a separate light for right turns there.
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Old 09-26-05, 02:17 PM
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Yow, that sounds hair-raising. Be prepared to take registration numbers and description and report these turkeys. The woman who stopped would have been good as a second witness.
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Old 09-26-05, 05:08 PM
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I was riding in the "bike lane" and a guy made a right turn in front of me. Tacoed my front wheel, bent my fork, and wrecked my handlebars, and I remember watching the trunk of his car pass below me. I landed in the street. Ouch. Cops came, I got a ride home, an insurance guy showed up to fix the bike, and that was it. (I wasn't hurt--rubber bones, I guess) I'm sure the driver spent some time in the courthouse finding the right window to pay the fine. BUT...

Despite the fact I could have been killed, I kind of felt sorry for the guy. He just didn't see me. He wasn't looking. He had his wife and kids in the car, and I'm sure he was driving on autopilot.

He was miserable the whole time the cops were grilling him. He had a "U.S. Air Force" bumper sticker on his car, and some Navy enlisted men driving by saw the situation and figured out what happened and really gave him a hard time. They were funny as H$&& and the cop didn't seem to mind them ragging on him.

So, two comments: 1) I don't trust the "bike lane". I don't think I am particularly safe there. 2) Too bad I almost had to get killed to teach just one driver that there are bikes on the road, too. But getting humilated in front of your wife and kids "Hey fly-boy! You probably can't fly any better than you can drive!" must of hurt him more than the crash hurt me. I still laugh when I think about it.
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Old 09-26-05, 05:18 PM
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I am going to have to promise myself to take the plate numbers next time. I think I was putting a whole lot of brain power into just walking the rest of crosswalk.

That actually sounds like a good idea, ivo. I know that there have been plenty of accidents at that interection, I see new piles of broken glass and debris every time I ride through that area.

I was going to ask what happens when you report people, but I am sure that varies quite a bit depending on where the offense took place.
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Old 09-26-05, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheels4
well.... glad to hear everything turned out ok for ya. could have been alot worse from the sound of it. it really makes my blood boil when i hear about stuff like this.

you really have to be almost "paranoid" when you ride... same as being on a motorcycle. maybe one day, the vehicle of choice will be two wheeled...

the huffy idea sounds like a good one to me. lol

ride safe,
Rich
Naa, a Huffy is to good for em, let them use those Razor scooters that were popular a few years ago!
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Old 09-26-05, 07:16 PM
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You know, if anything, riding my bike has made me a better driver. I wish states would force A-holes like that to bike a week or two just to see what it's like. Maybe they would be more observant the next time they drive a car.
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Old 09-26-05, 08:13 PM
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that sucks. i'm glad you're okay though. here's a way of looking at it: you had two different kinds of close calls that scared you silly without actually doing any harm. it does really suck, but i'm almost glad about some of my own close calls now. they made me enormously more aware (and i hope safer because of it) without actually making me pay any serious price for the knowledge. obviously it would be better if there were nothing we HAD to be aware of, but until then it still seems to me like a pretty good deal.
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Old 09-26-05, 08:27 PM
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Will you have to change the way you handle this intersection? Or ws this an isolated incident?

A lot of people say it's more dangerous being a pedestrian than either a cyclist or motorist. (If I'm reading it right, you actually were walking at the time of the near miss?) I used to walk in the city a lot, and I had a few close calls similar to yours. Glad you're OK.
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Old 09-26-05, 11:20 PM
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I think that I am going to make sure I cross that intesection differently. I was thinking about it today and I think that if I cross the intersection left and then up the cars closest to me would ALL have a red light and I would be able to see parralel traffic coming toward me and plan accordingly.
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Old 09-27-05, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by tokolosh
you had two different kinds of close calls that scared you silly without actually doing any harm. it does really suck, but i'm almost glad about some of my own close calls now. they made me enormously more aware
I feel the same way about power tools. I've had a few close calls where I suddenly stop and turn off the tool, then sit down shaking, thinking "I just about took off a couple of fingers there." - makes you be really more aware and cautious, and think about what you're doing in the future. Adrenaline is a great memory aid.
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Old 09-27-05, 08:22 AM
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People just seem to be acting crazier lately. Riding home last Thursday, I was riding through a construction zone right behind the car in front of me. From behind I hear someone yelling "Get the F*%^ off the street!" I look back at a car full of teenagers, and yes, he was yelling at me. So although if I had not been on the road they would've just been stuck behind the car in front of me, he was enraged enough to yell at me. It's a helpless feeling when a huge car with an angry driver is behind you and you really have no place to go. Their windows were down so I couldn't resist when they got into the left turn lane at the next light and I was going straight, and I hollered that they should be yelling at the cones or the stoplights. I wasn't holding them up. Then, this morning, a car pulled around to pass me near an intersection, then immediately turned right directly in front of me. I can't understand risking someone's life to save 3 seconds. My favorite story of stupidity actually happened to my wife. She was riding when a truck marked with the logo of a local air conditioning company pulled beside her and the passenger made some disgusting comments and an obscene gesture with his tongue at her. It really freaked her out, but the company's name and phone number were right on the side of the truck. I hope they fired that jerk.

I once read about a program (maybe somewhere in Michigan) where bicyclists and pedestrians could report idiotic behavior by motorists, and the motorist would be sent a letter in the mail with some highlights of laws and rules for sharing the road.
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Old 09-27-05, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuter
From behind I hear someone yelling "Get the F*%^ off the street!" I look back at a car full of teenagers, and yes, he was yelling at me.

As I read this (and recall my own youth), I'm slowly developing a resolve to ensure that when my daughter reaches driving age, her vehicle will be able to accomodate no more than one other passenger.

Something about kids in groups that drives them to top one another in outrageous and dangerous behavior...
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Old 09-27-05, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by cradduck
I am going to have to promise myself to take the plate numbers next time. I think I was putting a whole lot of brain power into just walking the rest of crosswalk.
I know the feeling. I was nearly creamed by a New Belgium Brewery delivery driver last month and I was too shaken up to look for tags. (New Belgium responded positively, though, so good on them.

I carry a small digital audio recorder to help me remember information if I need to.
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Old 09-27-05, 03:26 PM
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Riding on sidewalks is dangerous (I think that is what I understand from your post). Drivers do not look on sidewalks for pedestrians or bicyclists. They are focused on the road. If you do take the sidewalk, remember that entering the street from the sidewalk is very dangerous and you have to double and triple check the traffic.
A truism
But there are places where that's where you are, on a sidewalk, due to road design.

At the start of my PM commute, I ride a 'bike path' that is actually a sidewalk along a very busy feeder road. At the 'T' intersection, I press a walk sign, cross on the cross walk, turn left on a sidewalk again, and one block later, enter a sidestreet to continue. You just can't queue on the road at this point. At the light, the right-hand turners are vicious -- even when the light is red and he ped light is 'go'... they just turn without even pausing. I don't even challenge it; I look over my shoulder until I make eyecontact, nose my bike a little to send a signal, and then go. If I just go and ALMOST get whacked... it just wrecks my day emotionally... it IS NOT WORTH CHALLENGING THESE NUTCASES... it has more to do with the design of the intersection, but it's just not worth standing up for my ped rights at this corner if it's too dangerous.

The presence of MORE bikers will change driver's habits. More bikers will mean more bikers are behind the wheel at times. A biker that drives will respect biker rights.

I feel that the best thing to do is ride safely, ride like a vehicle when needed, and obey rules of the road. As incensed as it gets me at times, I find spitting, hurling epithets, and general abusiveness only serves to make me... less happy. And it probably illustrates to drivers that some bikers are creeps too (just like them).

I advocate for taking the high road.
Don't stoop to road rage neandrathal
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Old 09-28-05, 06:54 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Sigurdd50
A truism
But there are places where that's where you are, on a sidewalk, due to road design.

At the start of my PM commute, I ride a 'bike path' that is actually a sidewalk along a very busy feeder road. At the 'T' intersection, I press a walk sign, cross on the cross walk, turn left on a sidewalk again, and one block later, enter a sidestreet to continue. You just can't queue on the road at this point. At the light, the right-hand turners are vicious -- even when the light is red and he ped light is 'go'... they just turn without even pausing. I don't even challenge it; I look over my shoulder until I make eyecontact, nose my bike a little to send a signal, and then go. If I just go and ALMOST get whacked... it just wrecks my day emotionally... it IS NOT WORTH CHALLENGING THESE NUTCASES... it has more to do with the design of the intersection, but it's just not worth standing up for my ped rights at this corner if it's too dangerous.

The presence of MORE bikers will change driver's habits. More bikers will mean more bikers are behind the wheel at times. A biker that drives will respect biker rights.

I feel that the best thing to do is ride safely, ride like a vehicle when needed, and obey rules of the road. As incensed as it gets me at times, I find spitting, hurling epithets, and general abusiveness only serves to make me... less happy. And it probably illustrates to drivers that some bikers are creeps too (just like them).

I advocate for taking the high road.
Don't stoop to road rage neandrathal
We both agree that in general, riding the sidewalks can be dangerous. However, as you pointed out, sometimes the sidewalk is safer than riding in really heavy traffic.

The big risk of riding the sidewalk is crossing over driveways and at intersections. Just be cognicent of these risks and be careful.
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Old 09-28-05, 07:14 AM
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We both agree that in general, riding the sidewalks can be dangerous. However, as you pointed out, sometimes the sidewalk is safer than riding in really heavy traffic.

The big risk of riding the sidewalk is crossing over driveways and at intersections. Just be cognicent of these risks and be careful.
Spot on
I think SPEED is key. When I am passing thru these types of areas, I slow waaaaaaaaay down (reaction time).
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Old 09-28-05, 08:39 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by cradduck
I think that I am going to make sure I cross that intesection differently. I was thinking about it today and I think that if I cross the intersection left and then up the cars closest to me would ALL have a red light and I would be able to see parralel traffic coming toward me and plan accordingly.
The only trouble with this is that your second crossing will start on the right-hand-side of drivers turning right-on-red. These drivers often do not look right, where you will be approaching, as they are scanning for a traffic gap on their left. This situation is the most common type of car-cyclist collision in the city where I live.

Are there multiple right-turn lanes where you were crossing before? That would be a serious design problem for a crosswalk facility.

I recommend you walk your bike in the crosswalks if you are concerned about being seen and mentally registered - and legally recognized - as a pedestrian.
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