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Your basic careless motorist rant, redux

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Your basic careless motorist rant, redux

Old 06-02-08, 09:44 PM
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RT
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Your basic careless motorist rant, redux

I know this has been uttered many a time throughout the life of this forum, but it needs to be said again.

Motorists are becoming more and more careless and reckless.

I've been commuting hardcore this season for a couple of months, and have already exceeded last year's total of bonehead moves by drivers of cars. We're talking eye contact, intent conveyed, riding line established. It's like they look right through me, which is hard, because Swede (my bike) is shiny blue and yellow. Yellow bar tape, yellow Candy-C's, yellow seat. Headlight. White helmet. Yellow and blue Thule jersey. Plaid madras.

You need to be blind to miss me.

Tonight, this 50-something lady pulled up to the exit of a grocery store parking lot, looked DIRECTLY AT me, then proceeded to roll out in my line. I locked my discs and skidded to within a foot of her door and gave her my best Chewbacca impression, followed by a calm "Please watch where you're going." I'm pretty sure I shocked her with the mix of volume, surprise and incoherence followed by a polite, lucid message.

Not ten minutes later, an almost identical situation, although this time I had the walking man in my favor at an intersection. They had a stop sign, which they did not obey.

I don't understand. It would be easy to blame gas prices, but there's no scientific correlation 'twixt the two. It's almost like motorists lost the capacity to reason over the winter. Can anyone corroborate my experience with their own?
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Old 06-02-08, 10:03 PM
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they seem to come in pairs, don't they?
I had 2 people not look at their blind spot on the same right hand side with no signal lane change on the same day and less than 5km from each other. I reacted with a "Careful!", but I figured I should have said "check your blind spot and signal your intentions", but what can I say, I was a bit tired and dehydrated at that point.

I think it was the sunny weather we had on that day. I wouldn't chalk it up to just "drivers", sunny days after some rather chilly, cloudy and rainy weeks seems to put people's minds in a sort of "daze" mode no matter what they're doing.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:08 PM
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The odd thing was, I was not in her blind spot - I was directly in her line of sight, approaching from her left, perpendicular to her. I think perhaps motorists are not looking for anything outside the shape of an automobile. I can completely agree with the 'daze.'
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Old 06-02-08, 10:14 PM
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Meanwhile, the motorists where I live are great ... to a fault, actually.

And nope, you can't blame gas prices ...prices are about $1/gallon higher than where I live compared with where you live.
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Old 06-02-08, 10:28 PM
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expect the worse, hope for the best.
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Old 06-03-08, 12:20 AM
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Man i had a cop car sort of do this to me the other day. That damn porker was pulling out of a McDonalds drive thru eating his big mac. He sees me on my lane, looks down and chomps on his burger and carelessly creeps from the driveway out into the street to merge into the lane without even looking. ******* cuts me off and I swerved in his direction and barely stop quick enough to keep me T-boning him. I scream really loud and plant my foot right onto the driver side window as if i slammed into him scaring the crap out of him causing him to drop his big mac on his lap. He rolls down the window and told him some colorful things as well as explaining him a big mac is the last thing he needs to be eating. He saw the crazy in my eye and apologized. I let him off with a warning.
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Old 06-03-08, 12:29 AM
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I let him off with a warning.
rofl.
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Old 06-03-08, 04:43 AM
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The main road I'd commute on has plenty of traps like this one, but in the urban grid I fortunately have many alternate routes to avoid this. I also find that time of day even 20 to 30 minutes can affect traffic volume and risk greatly.
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Old 06-03-08, 04:49 AM
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Thanks for all of the validation, as well as the humorous cop story. I guess my frustration is that all things being equal, motorists are more careless. I always ride like no one sees me. If I didn't, I would have plowed into this car. Last season, same route, I rarely came across people who look right through me.
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Old 06-03-08, 04:58 AM
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I suspect we'd get some reduction from the introduction of public service segments on TV. A key one is explaining the difference between seeing required for guidance and seeing required for recognition. For guidance, the driver just needs to see the big objects. For recognition, needs to focus on the road. Most people easily do guidance (relatively few run into parked cars and trees). Relatively few really look at the scene. Moving people closer towards relying on recognition really helps. I've had people do the "look through me" trick when I've been in a pickup truck! Some are really zoned.
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Old 06-03-08, 06:33 AM
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Well, clearly it's not a matter of "suddenly unaware of cyclists where they used to be aware of them". It's some level of distractibility, of not being all there, which can be personal or it can have wider causes. There's a lot of stuff going on now that's making people crazier than usual. It's the start of summer, which normally means people are happy and relaxed, but then you get graduations and weddings and all that foolishness, which should be happy occasions but that also cause a lot of stress and distraction. Also, I think a lot of people are not so sure they'll be able to enjoy the summer in the ways they used to -- the cost for nearly any kind of vacation has gone up, sometimes dramatically; nobody's making any more money; jobs are less secure; nobody's got more time off. So, people's heads are not fully in the game called life.
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Old 06-03-08, 07:15 AM
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I was actually hit by a car yesterday. The kid driving it was apparently totally oblivious and just plowed right into me from behind. It's unbelievable to me that anyone can drive that carelessly, if for no other reason that than your own car is a very expensive piece of hardware that you don't want banged up.
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Old 06-03-08, 08:52 AM
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I drive a big RED crew cab dually for work. I had a cellphone yakking bimbo swerve out of her turning lane into the side of it...told the cop she didn't see it! Drivers in the US seem to totally oblivious to what goes on around them a high percentage of the time. Best one I have seen recently, guy over shoots the white line at the red light, backs up, leaves it in reverse....light turn green and he floors it...right into the car behind him I know it wasn't funny for the poor guy that got slammed, but it just goes to show what stupidity and carelessness lurks in traffic.

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Old 06-03-08, 10:04 AM
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My brother is a paramedic/fireman. Last fall they had a person rear-end a full-sized fire truck. It was parked on the road with full lights on and road flares, in the middle of a car fire scene with cop cars with lights running. The truck weighs a LOT, and had all brakes set. The car hit it hard enough to drive it forwards about 4 feet, and it took 2 months in the shop for repairs.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
I drive a big RED crew cab dually for work. I had a cellphone yakking bimbo swerve out of her turning lane into the side of it...told the cop she didn't see it! Drivers in the US seem to totally oblivious to what goes on around them a high percentage of the time. Best one I have seen recently, guy over shoots the white line at the red light, backs up, leaves it in reverse....light turn green and he floors it...right into the car behind him I know it wasn't funny for the poor guy that got slammed, but it just goes to show what stupidity and carelessness lurks in traffic.

Aaron
I wonder....since (usually) insurance companies say that rear-ending someone is the fault of the driver behind, was the guy who got slammed found at fault in this case? The one and only time I hit another car while driving, the other driver was backing up in the right lane of a freeway. Yes, I was found at fault.

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
My brother is a paramedic/fireman. Last fall they had a person rear-end a full-sized fire truck. It was parked on the road with full lights on and road flares, in the middle of a car fire scene with cop cars with lights running. The truck weighs a LOT, and had all brakes set. The car hit it hard enough to drive it forwards about 4 feet, and it took 2 months in the shop for repairs.
Back when I took driver's ed they told us to pull to the shoulder and turn on the hazard lights if we had a breakdown. I hear they no longer tell people to use the hazards because other drivers will sometimes stare at the hazard lights and drive right into the back of the car. I wonder if that wasn't what happened in your brother's case--driver was staring at the hubbub and...BANG.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:24 AM
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I guess if I think about it people have been driving a little crazier but it surprises me that this makes the boards. Drivers at least in Philly are always have been and will in my expectation always be crazy. Yesterday a guy made a right turn across three lanes of traffic on Broad street.
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Old 06-03-08, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by chingon77 View Post
Man i had a cop car sort of do this to me the other day.
For me it was an ambulance. Pulled a left turn in front of me. I missed his rear bumper by about a foot. If I'd have broadsided him at least the medical attention would have been prompt.
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Old 06-03-08, 12:22 PM
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I had someone pull out in front of me when I was driving a car once, because he was rubbernecking an ambulance running lights and sirens in the other direction. Didn't even look at me. Luckily I was slowed down quite a bit but not stopped since it was a seven-lane road and I was in the far lane away from the ambulance and there was hardly any traffic.
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Old 06-03-08, 12:49 PM
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cellphones, text messaging, GPS systems to fiddle with, IPod with 10,000 songs available via random access instead of 5 radio stations, in dash DVD player, etc...
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Old 06-03-08, 01:14 PM
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I still blame MTV...the generation that grew up on MTV was taught that they needed to be inundated with entertainment every minute of every day. So, as a result, they wind up being 'in the zone', which they need to be OUT OF when they are on the roads....
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Old 06-03-08, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Toddorado View Post
I always ride like no one sees me.
I drive like nobody can see me, too - my car is dark grey and you'd be amazed how many people try to merge into me. Luckily my dad taught me to drive defensively, which he boiled down to the instruction, "always assume the other drivers, pedestrians, and yes, cyclists, will do THE stupidest possible thing at any given moment. That way, you're pleasantly surprised if they do act reasonably, but you're prepared to react fast if they don't." Works quite well in the car and on the bike, I've found.

ATAC49er, I agree about the constant need for entertainment. My friends can't believe I don't own any personal music player, portable DVD, or games system. I can't believe they need all that stuff! Then again, I do get a bit twitchy if I have to wait somewhere or take the bus, and I don't have a book with me
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Old 06-03-08, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ATAC49er View Post
I still blame MTV...the generation that grew up on MTV was taught that they needed to be inundated with entertainment every minute of every day. So, as a result, they wind up being 'in the zone', which they need to be OUT OF when they are on the roads....
Hey, that's me, music or shows all the time.
Never watched MTV or it's equivalent though.

But I am totally focused on driving or riding when I'm doing those activities.
Cell phone? pull over. can't pull over? zone out cell phone and give single word answers.
You can absolutely count on me to get you from point A to B and even C in one piece.
part of the reason I always get the short end of the stick at bars and having to drive friends around to places.
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Old 06-03-08, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by murphstahoe View Post
cellphones, text messaging, GPS systems to fiddle with, IPod with 10,000 songs available via random access instead of 5 radio stations, in dash DVD player, etc...
It took 19 replies and we have a winner. This has been my theory, and while motorists didn't suddenly become unqualified drivers, all things are equal except for these. Cell phones, GPS, iPods were all around last year, but they are settling in as regular appliances in today's automobiles, which is wrong. If we as a group (cyclists) weren't as aware as we are, there would be a lot more trouble.
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Old 06-04-08, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Meanwhile, the motorists where I live are great ... to a fault, actually.
Likewise. As evidence I offer yesterday, at a 4-way stop. I'm waiting for the motorist who arrived at the intersection before me to take her turn. We make eye contact. Then she waves me through. I gesture back, "No, no - it's a four way stop, and it's your turn. Please go."

She waves again.

I wave again.

We look at each other.

We both roll our eyes and start into the intersection simultaneously. Brakes on both our parts. I grin, track-standing, nod, and wave. She pulls on through, and I go on my way.

Nice lady. I wonder if she would have been so nice for another auto, and how long it would have taken them to negotiate the intersection.
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Old 06-04-08, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Toddorado View Post
The odd thing was, I was not in her blind spot - I was directly in her line of sight, approaching from her left, perpendicular to her. I think perhaps motorists are not looking for anything outside the shape of an automobile. I can completely agree with the 'daze.'
More and more I think it's simply a matter of people refusing to yield. It's "I'm first" and "you can't do anything to inconvenience or delay me." Everyone assumes that they have right of way in all instances.

When you parallel park you have to wait for all the cars go by. They used to stop and let you park. Cars never stop for ppl in a crosswalk anymore. A local neighborhood has taken to installing an orange flag system where you pull a flag out of the rack and put it back in on the other side, just so you can cross.
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