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Commuting past the Hospital...

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Commuting past the Hospital...

Old 01-10-14, 07:24 AM
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Tractortom
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Commuting past the Hospital...

I live in a VERY small town, out in the middle of nowhere in South Florida, and my commute is on the ONLY marked bike lane in this small town. It runs right past the local hospital, and I have found that to be the most dangerous part of my commute. Today, as I was passing, like happens several times a month, someone in a car came past me in the traffic lane, and just as I was even with the rear bumper, made a right hook into the entrance to the hospital lot. I jammed brakes on my long wheel base recumbent and missed the car by inches, and then got to thinking about what the problem is. I know that the folks can see me in my bright colored jersey and helmet, and I run two BRIGHT tail lights, one flashing and one on steady, along with a flashing headlight. This is the only marked bike lane it town, and they just don't treat it like a traffic lane! I have had folks, flashing right, pull up to the parking lot entrance and stop, and wait for me to pass in front of them, which I will not do! I'll stop in the bike lane and wave them in, no way I'm crossing in front of a car flashing right...

It has to be a problem with education of the drivers. I would much rather have them come past me and ease right into the bike lane and make the turn, or ease in behind me, and then make the turn (like a very few of them do). The other thought is that most drivers don't consider how fast I'm going, figuring that a bike is very slow, where past the hospital I'm usually traveling between 16 and 18mph.

What are your thoughts and tips about a dangerous place like this?
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Old 01-10-14, 07:46 AM
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My first thought is nobody will ease into the bike lane. Almost always they will either zoom past and zip thru or they will stop and wait for you to pass before turning. In the latter case I usually do pass after nodding and making sure they see me.

My second thought is find another route and avoid the hospital altogether. My commute is mostly on bike paths but I cut thru a couple of neighborhoods in some places to avoid certain intersections.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:00 AM
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Damn drivers....I'm with locolobo. Is there an alternate route? There's a few intersections here in Grand Rapids that I avoid like the plague because it just ain't worth it, even if it adds to my commute time.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
I have had folks, flashing right, pull up to the parking lot entrance and stop, and wait for me to pass in front of them, which I will not do! I'll stop in the bike lane and wave them in, no way I'm crossing in front of a car flashing right...
I fully understand the problem with right hooks.

I ride my bike as I drive my truck. Like a vehicle. I'm not a pedestrian or something in between. I'm a vehicle and act like it. I don't stop my truck and wave anybody around me and if a vehicle is stopped waiting for me I don't stop my bike and wave them on. I ride like the vehicle that I am.

If you stop to and wave someone on when they are obeying the law you are not acting like a vehicle. What are the drivers supposed to do?? Guess what in the hell does this damn bike rider want me to do???

Do what you're supposed to do and biking, like most things in life, will go smoother.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
I live in a VERY small town, out in the middle of nowhere in South Florida, and my commute is on the ONLY marked bike lane in this small town. It runs right past the local hospital, and I have found that to be the most dangerous part of my commute….

It has to be a problem with education of the drivers. I would much rather have them come past me and ease right into the bike lane and make the turn, or ease in behind me, and then make the turn (like a very few of them do). The other thought is that most drivers don't consider how fast I'm going, figuring that a bike is very slow, where past the hospital I'm usually traveling between 16 and 18mph.

What are your thoughts and tips about a dangerous place like this?
I work in a hospital, and pass by two other busy ones on my early morning commute in urban and suburban Boston. I was trying to figure out what made the hospital entrance different than any other businesses. I doubt there are hordes of life-threatening emergencies being transported on your route.

Of course all us cyclists would like drivers to do the right thing, but I have no expectations, and I personally imagine (rhetorically) that their only reason not to hit us, is so they won’t scratch their car.

A safety concept in medical care is “universal precautions,” that is, treat all patients as if they have a serious contagious disease, not just the patients who you know do have one. So I recommend that you have to take the highest precautions at all times on the road both in front of this hospital and all other situations. Right hooks are well known hazards, like car doors opening, and should be anticipated. It’s unfortunate, but I find such a heightened sense of awareness still to be preferable to driving a car.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:57 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
I live in a VERY small town, out in the middle of nowhere in South Florida, and my commute is on the ONLY marked bike lane in this small town. It runs right past the local hospital, and I have found that to be the most dangerous part of my commute. Today, as I was passing, like happens several times a month, someone in a car came past me in the traffic lane, and just as I was even with the rear bumper, made a right hook into the entrance to the hospital lot. I jammed brakes on my long wheel base recumbent and missed the car by inches, and then got to thinking about what the problem is. I know that the folks can see me in my bright colored jersey and helmet, and I run two BRIGHT tail lights, one flashing and one on steady, along with a flashing headlight. This is the only marked bike lane it town, and they just don't treat it like a traffic lane! I have had folks, flashing right, pull up to the parking lot entrance and stop, and wait for me to pass in front of them, which I will not do! I'll stop in the bike lane and wave them in, no way I'm crossing in front of a car flashing right...

It has to be a problem with education of the drivers. I would much rather have them come past me and ease right into the bike lane and make the turn, or ease in behind me, and then make the turn (like a very few of them do). The other thought is that most drivers don't consider how fast I'm going, figuring that a bike is very slow, where past the hospital I'm usually traveling between 16 and 18mph.

What are your thoughts and tips about a dangerous place like this?
its interesting that you said that you wish they would merge into the bike lane (which they should do) so in order to solve this then you have to
merge into their lane until the intersection is passed (in effect the same thing)...
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Old 01-10-14, 11:09 AM
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Alternate route, or get out of the bike lane. If it's the only marked lane in town, drivers don't know how to deal with them.
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Old 01-10-14, 04:50 PM
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I bike commute to my job at the local hospital, I've learned to be Extra careful and really slow down through the area as well. You're dealing not only with the typical motorist, but many drivers through there are much more distracted...wife is in the ICU, husband is having an operation, rushing your child to the ER, etc. Many older drivers are new to the bike lane concept, some resent it. Some are rushing to find a parking space in overcrowded parking lots, and you're just in their way. And then there is the pedestrian...seems like most are jay-walkers who can't walk anywhere without their cell glued to their ear. The other day I was driving slowly through the hospital zone, a very nicely dressed professional woman was walking slowly across the busy street in the middle of the block, walking at a diagonal, all the while texting with her head down...when I honked my horn she looked up, shocked and then got a very angry look on her face. She would have walked right into my path, and I was only doing like 7 mph

One thing I've found that REALLY helps me with potential right hooks and at crosswalks is the Hornit bike horn. 140 db. Couple very short pips really gets their attention, can be heard through rolled up windows. Battery powered. Good construction. Don't need to use it often but it's a real attention getter. And I don't have to pump it up like the airzound. Handheld stadium air horn taped in a convenient spot on your handlebars is another option.

But yeah, like the other writer commented, this is a hospital zone and they're supposed to drive slowly. They are supposed to let you pass before they right turn into the lot. Continue through or take the lane if you have to. Be assertive. Look how many people don't know what to do in a four way stop!
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Old 01-10-14, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
I have had folks, flashing right, pull up to the parking lot entrance and stop, and wait for me to pass in front of them, which I will not do! I'll stop in the bike lane and wave them in, no way I'm crossing in front of a car flashing right...
I hate when people do that. If they plan on waiting, why not stay behind? I almost prefer for them to try to right hook me.
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Old 01-10-14, 06:03 PM
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I, too, live in a small rural town with one hospital. I live quite close to the hospital and it's the same. There are a plethora of medical offices and pharmacies along the same stretch of road and it is always busy through there. I typically avoid the whole area and take a different route since the street is two lanes and allows parking on the shoulders which leaves little to no room for me on my bike.
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Old 01-10-14, 07:08 PM
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Take the lane-ride in the middle of the road.
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Old 01-10-14, 07:27 PM
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People have much on their minds when going to a hospital, and are often driving in an unfamiliar place.

I think a little taking of the lane makes sense here.
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Old 01-10-14, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by LordMarv View Post
One thing I've found that REALLY helps me with potential right hooks and at crosswalks is the Hornit bike horn. 140 db. Couple very short pips really gets their attention, can be heard through rolled up windows. Battery powered. Good construction. Don't need to use it often but it's a real attention getter. And I don't have to pump it up like the airzound. Handheld stadium air horn taped in a convenient spot on your handlebars is another option.
I don't know... maybe Montana has different laws but... most places, a hospital zone is sacrosanct. You don't blow your horn in a hospital zone. That is likely why the woman got angry. I mean... you saw her... she didn't see you... why did you have to blow your horn at her? Because you could. Because you felt like you had to have the loudest bicycle horn on the market in one of the more rural states in the country.

You want to know why i bust peoples chops in this forum? When I first moved to Oregon I had a rental car for a few days to get things done with. I hadn't driven in years. I was rusty and I was used to New York City where cars really rule. I was on a busy three lanes in one direction road. I had the light, speed limit was 35mph. All of a sudden two women appear almost in front of me. IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME TO STOP! It just didn't... some good Samaritan in the next lane over had given them permission to cross against the light which is all too common out here but I didn't get the memo. I blasted right past them at 35mph. And only after that did I get the shakes. Nobody called the cops, nobody chased me down blowing their horns, nobody pulled my plates and turned me in to the police. The lesson was entirely mine to learn... or not.

We have all messed up at one time or another! When some irate commuter gets in here and tells us about his bad day, I listen to how he (always a he) tells his tale. I take note of evidence of car paranoia and the persecution complex that many vehicular cyclists have. But more to the point... the complete lack of any sense of irony in the fact that, as a driver, the o.p. has likely done the exact same thing that they are so irate about at least once in their life. No harm, no foul. That's what the cops say as well. Venting is one thing. Asking for advice or tips is another. There are none. Spit happens and often more than once.

H
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Old 01-11-14, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by clevername View Post
Take the lane-ride in the middle of the road.
Are you trying to be helpful or not? I can't really tell. Portland is really good about bike lanes. Its one of the reasons I'm here. Some cyclists don't ride in them. Legally they don't have to. But... if there is a bike lane available and a bicycle is not in it... well around here they better be on the sidewalk. Hanging out in the vehicle lane when there is a perfectly good bike lane to your right is a sure way to bring out the worst in any of the cagers in ones vicinity. I strive for a quiet life. Your mileage may vary. But... as advice... I don't think yours is a good practice to recommend someone else adopt.

H
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Old 01-11-14, 12:31 AM
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Actually, I was in the car, not the bike. I had slowed down even more when it was obvious this woman was completely oblivious to what was around her. I didn't lay on the car horn, it was a short honk, oh, I don't know...maybe to get her attention before she walked into my car while texting. Maybe I should have meekly stopped in silence, then backed up into the other cars behind me so as to give her more room and not to disturb her creative muse?
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Old 01-11-14, 12:20 PM
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Some (but not all) drivers are arseholes. In bad windy conditions, when I can't hear "em comin, I make it a habit to pull off to the side of the road, take a sip from the bottle, and carry on when it's clear.
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Old 01-11-14, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
People have much on their minds when going to a hospital, and are often driving in an unfamiliar place.

I think a little taking of the lane makes sense here.
Agree.
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