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No good deed ..., be careful out there

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No good deed ..., be careful out there

Old 09-19-14, 02:44 PM
  #1  
tigat
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No good deed ..., be careful out there

On my commute mid morning on the MUP, I was flagged down by a woman rider looking for directions to the trail that branches off the river and heads up to the foothills. Her garmin was shouting turn around, but her map was saying keep going for a bit. The map was right.

The pleasant couple of minutes I took to point her in the right direction unfortunately resulted in some reverse karma.

On the detour a few miles later, where the path is closed but the side street onto which it's diverted has a freshly marked bike lane, I was cruising along in the bike lane when a big SUV with neither brake lights nor blinker turned right into a commercial driveway, right in front of me. It forced me over the curb and kept coming around. I had no choice but to lay the bike and myself down. The bide ended up beneath the SUV between the front and rear wheels. I ended up off the bike.

The driver was more than contrite and said he was a biker himself. He just didn't see me or know I was there until I yelled. The bike appears to be unscathed. I am sporting a bloody hand, elbow, and knee, and a rasberry the size of a fist right on top of the three inch scar where the docs inserted titatanium rods to patch my broken femur last summer.

This is the third time in three years I've had a similar experience. The first two were at intersections, and there was room to just run into the car and let it ride me around the corner without falling. Not an option this time.

In many ways, it's as though having the bike lane, as well intentioned as it might be, creates more problems that it solves. I'm going back to what I did many moons ago, riding in a way that makes it really hard for the cars to hit you, no matter what kind of bone-headed stunt they pull.
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Old 09-19-14, 03:25 PM
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This is why some of us prefer narrow outside lines with sharrows. This makes us visible and facilitates left-biased lateral placement to discourage right hooks.
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Old 09-19-14, 06:56 PM
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Jeese, I'm glad it turned out as well as it did and that you weren't hurt badly after what you went through from the last bad crash. No worse harm to you is a good thing, and the bicycle survived unscathed, too. All's well that ends well, I suppose.

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Old 09-19-14, 08:45 PM
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Glad to hear you are O!. But are you implying we should not stop to help people? LOL.
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Old 09-19-14, 09:25 PM
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You were in the bike lane and the driver "didn't see you". That means he was distracted and not paying attention.
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Old 09-19-14, 09:37 PM
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If I got this straight, he turned right crossing your path. This means he had to pass you before he started the turn.

Scary, glad you only suffered minor injuries.
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Old 09-19-14, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
If I got this straight, he turned right crossing your path. This means he had to pass you before he started the turn.

Scary, glad you only suffered minor injuries.
Yep. Classic right hook.

Do you use a rear view mirror? It might help provide awareness so you know the vehicles are passing you a little earlier to help you anticipate possible hazards.
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Old 09-19-14, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Glad to hear you are O!. But are you implying we should not stop to help people? LOL.
Totally not! The few minutes of pleasant chat with the nice woman visiting from SoCal was well worth it. If anything, I would have been better off guiding her up to the foothills and completely skipped showing up at work a bloody mess.
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Old 09-19-14, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Yep. Classic right hook.

Do you use a rear view mirror? It might help provide awareness so you know the vehicles are passing you a little earlier to help you anticipate possible hazards.
Good suggestion. This one, unfortunately, was a bit different. We were maybe 100 yards past a stop light. I had sprinted to make it though on the green, so I was coming up on him. His presence was not a surprise, but the lack of a blinker and brake light cost me.
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Old 09-19-14, 11:19 PM
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Oh yeah I see. Tough break.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-20-14, 12:03 AM
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Back in the mid '70s a friend and I were riding (kinda racing) across town (Lake Charles, LA) to get to VoTech school one morning and were passed by a school bus that suddenly turned right, about 50 feet ahead! I was able to stop in time ('cause he was ahead of me) but my bud had to lay his C. ITOH down. I watched in horror as he and the bike slid toward the side of the moving bus and bounced off the right rear wheel! The bus stopped, probably because the kids were screaming and he felt a thump. Henry's bluejeans, handlebar and pedal were a little scraped but he was okay otherwise. The bus driver pulled away when he saw him get up and brush the dust off!?!? My guess is the bus driver didn't realize a bike could go that fast, covering so much distance, even though he had to stomp the accelerator to pass us.
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Old 09-20-14, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
Good suggestion. This one, unfortunately, was a bit different. We were maybe 100 yards past a stop light. I had sprinted to make it though on the green, so I was coming up on him. His presence was not a surprise, but the lack of a blinker and brake light cost me.
So YOU were coming up on the vehicle's right side? Seems to me the vehicle being in front would have given it the right of way. Granted he should have signaled but he might not have expected your warp speed acceleration to beat the light.
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Old 09-20-14, 06:58 AM
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Totally agree, though it was not warp speed. I put myself in a place where he did not expect me to be. Won't happen again.
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Old 09-20-14, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
Totally agree, though it was not warp speed. I put myself in a place where he did not expect me to be. Won't happen again.
BTW, glad the 2 of you are OK. Heal quickly.
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Old 09-20-14, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
...Won't happen again.
Good news that you weren't hurt more than you were. Sounds to me like it would be beneficial for you to ride with front and rear strobes. The biggest and baddest you can afford. It makes you kind of a 'Fred', but I know from personal experience that the way traffic reacts to me is like . . . well, like 'night an day'. I'm a believer! The only time I don't ride with strobes is if I'm on a group ride, (where the brightness of the lights is quite annoying to fellow riders), or on a MUP, (when I don't have to worry about distracted car/truck drivers).
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Old 09-21-14, 06:59 AM
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Very good idea. Since most of my commute is on the MUP, though, I'll need to watch out for the senior moments of remembering to turn off and on.
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Old 09-21-14, 10:26 AM
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Tigat: Glad you are alright --it could have been a lot worse--but it is one of the most common collision with cars.
A blinky "can help" as it will flash into review mirrors of cars passing you.
These little flashing lights are powerful enough to make us more visible.
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Old 09-21-14, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by VNA View Post
Tigat: Glad you are alright --it could have been a lot worse--but it is one of the most common collision with cars.
A blinky "can help" as it will flash into review mirrors of cars passing you.
These little flashing lights are powerful enough to make us more visible.
Wisdom spoken. I'm getting ready for a ride on a sunlit day, and am charging up the blinkies. If they increase your survival odds by 0.001%, it's worth it.
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Old 09-21-14, 12:25 PM
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Hasn't everyone already seen this? Check out rule #7 .

https://bicyclesafe.com/
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Old 09-21-14, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
So YOU were coming up on the vehicle's right side? Seems to me the vehicle being in front would have given it the right of way. Granted he should have signaled but he might not have expected your warp speed acceleration to beat the light.
Not necessarily. A vehicle that is turning right across a bike lane is crossing a lane, so it doesn't have the right-of-way in that lane; the bike lane isn't a right-side extension of the next lane over, it is a lane unto itself. This can vary in some states that choose to define bike lanes as explicitly not part of the roadway, but I don't know if there are any left that do that.

Of course, one must always be attentive to the fact that most motorists don't know much if any of the laws that govern the operation of their vehicles and thus one should avoid putting oneself into harm's way. However, it can be pretty tough to ride down a street with assorted driveways and never be on the side of any motorist as s/he passes one of them.
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Old 09-21-14, 08:26 PM
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FWIW, as a driver, the proper way to make a right turn when there is a bike lane is to go into the bike lane, essentially blocking it, and turn from that position. This was how it was explained to me by a long time bike cop who is now an expert witness in bike/vehicle collisions typically on the side of the cyclist.

Most people don't know that. I didn't. Most cyclists don't know this either and somehow mistakenly believe that if they don't have to turn that they have the right of way to go straight when a vehicle is turning.

Once it was explained to me, it makes perfect sense and stops the "right hook" problem when turning.

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Old 09-22-14, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by JavaMan View Post
Hasn't everyone already seen this? Check out rule #7 .

https://bicyclesafe.com/
We had a couple of top notch riders injured here a few weeks ago because they were in the marked bike lane flying past stopped traffic. It was backed up for a long way before the intersection but had apparently left a gap for a business driveway. A lady turned very cautiously across traffic into that drive and bam both bikes plowed into the side of her vehicle. She could not see them and they could not see her. Had they followed these rules and at least proceeded with caution past the stopped cars they would have had time to stop and not get injured. I agree that it seems there are times that actual bike lanes on the road are more dangerous than just sharrows but both require full attention and good judgement for everyone to be safe.

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Old 09-22-14, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
Good suggestion. This one, unfortunately, was a bit different. We were maybe 100 yards past a stop light. I had sprinted to make it though on the green, so I was coming up on him. His presence was not a surprise, but the lack of a blinker and brake light cost me.
Any car may try to kill you if at all physically possible...

A little paranoia avoids a lot of pain.
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Old 09-22-14, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by JavaMan View Post
Hasn't everyone already seen this? Check out rule #7 .

https://bicyclesafe.com/

Great link, thanks. Lots of common sense there.

J.
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