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Too Close on Laguna Canyon

Old 05-27-12, 05:26 AM
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mwandaw
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Too Close on Laguna Canyon

We were riding our tandem toward Laguna Beach in the area between the 73 and El Toro Road. That's a mild downhill area, and we were going about 25 mph. There were quite a few bikes on the road, so drivers certainly shouldn't have been surprised to see us.

There is an area about 600 ft long where there isn't much room to the right of the fog line, and a big truck passed so close that we could practically feel it. It scared the crap out of both of us. (Check the bronze colored pickup truck in the photo, and imagine a considerably larger truck in the same position.)



I would hate to stop riding on Laguna Canyon, because other than that stretch, it's a good route to several good riding areas. On the other hand, I would hate even more to be looking at the inside of a casket.

What do you think? Should I take more of the lane? Find another route? Harden up?

(There wasn't any construction going on when we rode through the area.)
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Old 05-27-12, 09:47 AM
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Was the construction work going on when you had your incident?

It may be the traffic on that side had moved over for the construction crew, which led the truck to move over towards you. He may have been as scared as you were!

Taking the lane has hazards too... but for 600 feet may be a good bet. Especially if you can wait for a gap.

Lastly, I've found having a bright flasher going, even in daylight gets me more "respect" from passing vehicles. So consider a Planet Bike Superflash Turbo (or other bright flasher) if you don't already have one.

Conspicuity is the bikers best friend!

-Tom in SoCal
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Old 05-27-12, 10:50 AM
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hendo252 - I don't know when Google took that street view picture, but there was no construction when we rode through there. I sure agree with your suggestions about conspicuity.. In fact, we had our good, bright taillight on, and we have bright red, grey, white jerseys (see our avatar).
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Old 05-27-12, 12:32 PM
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Which side of the line were you riding on?
I'm tempted to chuckle at cyclists who "take a lane" because they think they're somehow teaching drivers that we cyclists have just as much right to the road as they do. Because I've seen drivers who react to such lessons by teaching us right back that they are much bigger, faster, and deadlier than we are.
There is such a thing as dead-right.
If LCR is that scary to you, choose other routes with wider shoulders and safe bike lanes. Peace & safe riding.
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Old 05-27-12, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
Which side of the line were you riding on?
We were to the right of the fog line. Unfortunately, the area between the fog line and the vegetation is only about two feet wide, and the asphalt in that narrow area is a little broken up.
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Old 05-27-12, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mwandaw View Post
take more of the lane
Do that.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:04 PM
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I agree that there is no reason to stop riding that road. Just take the lane for the length of the problem area, then give a thumbs up to whichever car was behind you.

I've found that a thumbs up sometimes melt the heart of the coldest/meanest of angry drivers.
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Old 05-27-12, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
I agree that there is no reason to stop riding that road. Just take the lane for the length of the problem area, then give a thumbs up to whichever car was behind you.

I've found that a thumbs up sometimes melt the heart of the coldest/meanest of angry drivers.
+1

Taking the lane works well. OP, try that, now that you know what happens when you stay on that crappy shoulder.

According to calamarichris, about half the BF posters are ghost who were dead right. Too bad our heavenly internet speed is not way faster than earthly bps speeds.
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Old 05-28-12, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
+1

Taking the lane works well. OP, try that, now that you know what happens when you stay on that crappy shoulder.

According to calamarichris, about half the BF posters are ghost who were dead right. Too bad our heavenly internet speed is not way faster than earthly bps speeds.
Your logic is as unimpeachable as your grammar. Bravo sir.
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Old 05-28-12, 09:27 AM
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I hate to tell you this but that road is one that you should not be riding a bike on.
It's considered one of the 5 deadliest roads in Orange County for Auto so being on a bike can't be better!

I've driven it many times and yes it can have some drivers that have no sense so being on a bike on the shoulder may not really be a wise choice I know it has a great view and an easy way to Laguna area but not worth riding a bike and getting hit by a speeding car may articles’ on that stretch of road have been written and its dangers, be careful if you do keep riding it.
Here is one article on that Top Five Deadliest Roads for Orange County Auto Accidents

And taking the lane on that section is a sure fire way to be part of the asphalt!
It’s not uncommon for people to do 80 mph when they can you don't want to be in that lane.
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Old 05-28-12, 10:13 AM
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+1 to taking more of the lane. When you ride on the fog line (or in the door zone), you're encouraging your motor vehicle lane mates to squeeze by instead of waiting for the time when they can move over to the left and pass safely. They do it all the time for other motor vehicles but they resent it more having to do it for bicycle riders because they perceive us as dressed silly and doing something frivolous. You know the type right? "Why are these people impeding me? Don't they know I'm doing something important while they're merely recreating? Why aren't they on the sidewalk?" I wonder if these same people feel so impeded and abused when having to make their way around an old person on a crowded sidewalk?

As far as "Big boat has the right of way", I do what I view as safest for me-what is most likely to get me home. Activism has naught to do with it except for knowing I DO have a right to as much of the lane as I need to be safe . If I feel the shoulder on a highway is not wide enough or in a condition to be safe, I'll not be shufflin' aside saying "sorry sir, beggin' ya pahdin' sir." It's exactly this feeling of being obligated to "get out of the way, that put the OP in a no mans land that contributed to their scary near miss as I posit above. In regards to being creamed of the road, while it was 10 years ago that I did most of my following of advocacy/safety issues, at that time, statistically, daylight hour hit from behind accidents (of bicycles) were so rare that they couldn't be dug out of the measurement noise.

"Get home first. Make friends second"

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Old 05-28-12, 04:16 PM
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Anyone know how that 3 ft law is coming along?
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Old 05-28-12, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Lesper4 View Post
Anyone know how that 3 ft law is coming along?
Though this might be a rhetorical question, this is the latest that I've heard ( from my state senator on 24 May):
"This measure was approved by the Assembly by a vote of 55-5 and was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee; however, that hearing was cancelled at the request of the author."

HTH
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Old 05-28-12, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by JTGraphics View Post
I hate to tell you this but that road is one that you should not be riding a bike on.
It's considered one of the 5 deadliest roads in Orange County for Auto so being on a bike can't be better!

I've driven it many times and yes it can have some drivers that have no sense so being on a bike on the shoulder may not really be a wise choice I know it has a great view and an easy way to Laguna area but not worth riding a bike and getting hit by a speeding car may articles’ on that stretch of road have been written and its dangers, be careful if you do keep riding it.
Here is one article on that Top Five Deadliest Roads for Orange County Auto Accidents

And taking the lane on that section is a sure fire way to be part of the asphalt!
It’s not uncommon for people to do 80 mph when they can you don't want to be in that lane.
I've buried two friends (in separate crashes) and another has permanent brain damage from encounters on that very section -- and they were in cars. In all cases they were hit in the middle of the day, head-on, by DUI drivers.
What I take from this is - with all due respect to the CVC and 3-foot rule - there is not enough margin for error on that stretch of road, period. The shoulder is in poor condition and too narrow and, although "taking the lane" might be *slightly* safer in discouraging motorists from trying to squeeze past, you run a significant risk of being hit from behind - even if the motorists are sober and not texting.

I will admit that I'm a bit 'hyper-vigilant' on the subject of being rear-ended: BTDT, middle of the day, with bright flashers. So I've removed several routes from my list of options.

So many choices... Choose Wisely!

YMMV
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Old 05-28-12, 10:52 PM
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This is why I steer well-clear of the A&S ninny bin.

You are never going to convince all drivers that cyclists can and should take a lane. You're only going to convince the unfortunates who get stuck behind you unnecessarily, that you are an inconsiderate individual. I used to worry that such riders were giving all cyclists a bad name, but happily drivers are more intelligent and considerate than most of us are willing to give them credit for.

I'm not joking at all. I always have red lights on my helmet & bike, and I proudly ride FRAP when I hear cars approaching. And motorists clearly appreciate my consideration, because at least 2/3+ of them cross or drive on the double yellow lane divider (frequently even when oncoming traffic is approaching. It always makes me smile when I hear the rumble-rumble of their tires on the bots-dots or buzz-grooves--I always wave or give a peace sign. Those who don't cross or drive on the center divider are still driving FLAP and giving me plenty of room.

But no weirdness or hurt feelings. Even if you give your life or limbs in this unwinnable crusade, I appreciate you making me look good by comparison.

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Old 05-28-12, 11:30 PM
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Yes I do appreciate when drivers also give me space by passing and moving over the double line but this section that he’s talking about is so unsafe even for a car.
If I’m driving in a car the last thing I want to see is a car half in my lane coming in the opposite direction on that road.
And bgross sorry to hear that you lost friends on this road, you know what I'm talking about on this section of road one really needs to know the road and history it has, and by the way most of these accidents are head on collisions.

I do still drive it sometimes but i do watch out for others on it more, and this is in a car I don't think I'd ride a bike down it myself not worth taking the risk you never know, yes it can happen any place but why put yourself in a bad situation to start with.

"Lovely Laguna Canyon Road is not only one of the deadliest roads for Orange County auto accidents, it is one of the deadliest in the country. It's number four on our list, and one stretch of this highway is so dangerous that local residents say they will go miles out of their way to avoid traveling on Laguna Canyon Road past Big Bend Road."

I might add that the section above they are talking about is that in which you have marked in your first post photos in yellow exact short section in fact.
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Old 05-28-12, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bgross View Post
, you run a significant risk of being hit from behind - even if the motorists are sober and not texting.
I'm one of those that rides frap and chose to keep it that way.

The other evening, still daylight, I'm in a small suv driving my parents home from dinner. I stop at a light, have on my brake lights and my turn signal (flashing light), nobody around when a girl flies up and rams me from behind! WTF! We pull over to the side then she says, I'm sorry, I really didn't see you!".

If I had been on a bike taking the lane, I would be FUBAR right now.


On a road with any kind of history, hell no I won't take my wife on it!
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Old 05-29-12, 06:56 AM
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I don't take riding that road very lightly. That section of road where it gets narrow (between the 73 and El Toro) is relatively short. Either ride in the bike lane and go AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Or take the entire lane and go AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Get through it as quickly as you can. Going the other direction (from El Toro to the 73) is even more treacherous than towards the ocean. IMO the worst part of that road is actually going under the 73 freeway (in either direction), cars approaching the freeway entrances (or coming off the freeway) are usually already traveling at freeways speeds.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by idoru2005 View Post
I don't take riding that road very lightly. That section of road where it gets narrow (between the 73 and El Toro) is relatively short. Either ride in the bike lane and go AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Or take the entire lane and go AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Get through it as quickly as you can. Going the other direction (from El Toro to the 73) is even more treacherous than towards the ocean. IMO the worst part of that road is actually going under the 73 freeway (in either direction), cars approaching the freeway entrances (or coming off the freeway) are usually already traveling at freeways speeds.
You are correct that entire stretch is not very safe.
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Old 05-29-12, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Lesper4 View Post
Anyone know how that 3 ft law is coming along?
Brown vetoed it last year because it contained provisions that required motorists to slow down to 15mph when passing cyclists.

The new bill does away with the 15mph passing speed, but does not make the 3 foot rule absolute. I don't have time to study the bill, but it seems that solid double lines still trump the 3 ft rule in some situations.

What's the body or life of a cyclist worth? $220. Less than half of what a carpool lane violation costs. A motorist is to be fined $220 if they violate the proposed new 3ft rule and hit a cyclist. WTF. That will really deter people.

LA Times article: https://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...,3166540.story

Text of the bill: https://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/...ed_sen_v97.pdf

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Old 05-29-12, 02:54 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
If LCR is that scary to you, choose other routes with wider shoulders and safe bike lanes. Peace & safe riding.
mwandaw, if it scared you, it will scare you again and stress the heck out of you...not to mention your tandem partner.
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Old 06-10-12, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
This is why I steer well-clear of the A&S ninny bin.

You are never going to convince all drivers that cyclists can and should take a lane. You're only going to convince the unfortunates who get stuck behind you unnecessarily, that you are an inconsiderate individual. I used to worry that such riders were giving all cyclists a bad name, but happily drivers are more intelligent and considerate than most of us are willing to give them credit for.

I'm not joking at all. I always have red lights on my helmet & bike, and I proudly ride FRAP when I hear cars approaching. And motorists clearly appreciate my consideration, because at least 2/3+ of them cross or drive on the double yellow lane divider (frequently even when oncoming traffic is approaching. It always makes me smile when I hear the rumble-rumble of their tires on the bots-dots or buzz-grooves--I always wave or give a peace sign. Those who don't cross or drive on the center divider are still driving FLAP and giving me plenty of room.

But no weirdness or hurt feelings. Even if you give your life or limbs in this unwinnable crusade, I appreciate you making me look good by comparison.
Hmm, when I ride as far right as possible I frequently get buzzed by motorists. When I ride in the middle of the road, motorists usually cross completely over to the other lane to pass. Some places take more kindly to riding in the middle of the road--e.g. Yorba Linda. In Azuza canyon; however, people take some pretty scary risks to pass me on blind corners. One motorcyclist coming the other way almost got creamed by an SUV that was too impatient to wait for a straightaway to pass.

With all that said, this site has a very convincing argument on why it's usually safer to take the lane: https://cyclingsavvy.org/hows-my-driving/
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