September 02, 2014 Login  


Close call yesterday...
Last Post 05/06/2014 04:00 PM by 79 pmooney. 26 Replies.
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Red Tornado

Posts:35

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04/29/2014 10:07 AM
Commuting home from work yesterday, descending a hill somewhere between 30-35 mph & approaching the entrance to an apartment complex.  Guy in a red/black pickup truck is waiting to exit the complex.  Always wary of cars preparing to pull out of side streets/lots/etc.
I'll bet you can guess what happens next :-)
So I'm watching the driver (by the way I always watch the driver, not the vehicle - amazing what you can discern from body language/facial expressions) and getting the feeling he doesn't see me.  Put my hands on the brake levers, just as he pulls out.  Now I'm grabbing as much brake as possible without locking up a wheel.  At this point if he just keeps going, I'll coast behind him and be on my way.
Nope.  He sees me and hits the brakes.  Now it's time for evasive action.  Ended up veering right and into the apartment complex drive while preparing to bunny hop the curb.  I somehow managed to turn tight enough to avoid the curb & get stopped.
As I turned around to look at the truck, the driver seeing it all turned out OK, kicks it down and flies outta there - almost causing an accident with the four lanes of cars coming in both directions (2 lanes each way - median in between).
I typically have at least one mostly two close calls per year.  Looks like #1 is out of the way.
Keith Richards

Posts:727

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04/29/2014 10:34 AM
You responded well. You start to anticipate stuff the more you commute.

Totally agree on watching the driver. Eye contact is everything.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1059

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04/29/2014 11:53 AM
ALWAYS watch the driver and try to make eye contact!!

And remember...

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:1163

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04/29/2014 12:37 PM
Posted By Keith Jackson on 04/29/2014 10:34 AM
You responded well. You start to anticipate stuff the more you commute.

Totally agree on watching the driver. Eye contact is everything.


Yup, textbook behaviour on your end. One or two of these a year is what I'm averaging as well. Proper evasive action is particularly hard in winter when its wet and cold.
Keith Richards

Posts:727

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04/29/2014 01:01 PM
It takes a while for the evasive maneuvers to become instinctual but after that...I get in what the average cyclist would call a close call probably twice a week. But at this point, stuff has to be really close for me to get twitchy.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
79pmooney

Posts:1095

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04/29/2014 01:20 PM
Keith, in my racing days living near Boston and riding there a lot, we had a saying at the shop. "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Riding in Boston developed REALLY good pack skills and nerves!

I had one something like Red tornado's a couple of years ago when I was descending Terwilliger, one of Portland's bike highways. A guy looked like he was going to pull out of the side street and turn left. I shut it down big time. (Really glad I was on my Mafac'd winter bike with 28c's. Also that it was perfect conditions: good, dry and clean surface.) He saw me but I had no idea whether he was going to stop, pull out to clear me or back up. I came to a near stop about 4 feet from his door, then turned and went behind him. He got to watch the whole thing and see that he screwed up badly. Hopefully he learned something. The next guy probably won't have that bike's braking capability.

Ben
Ride On

Posts:424

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04/29/2014 01:36 PM
Yeah I hate when they stop. If they would just keep going you can miss them better than they can miss you. Stopping gives you less room. But they do it almost everytime. Seems like once you get close enough to them, then they see you.

Spud

Posts:185

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04/29/2014 02:08 PM
Glad to hear you made it unscathed. My problem here in Tucson, is when the window tint is such, that you can't see the driver in the vehicle.
79pmooney

Posts:1095

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04/29/2014 03:00 PM
I've always been leery of "eye contact". In my college days, I had a woman pull out after we had been looking at each other. Since then, I look "at" them, so perhaps they will do the reasonable thing, but I put no weight on what they seem be aware of, especially if the appear to be recognizing me. Sometimes I appear spacey or discourteous here in Portland where a good number of drivers actually do look for bikes, yield and wave you on (even when they have right of way) but I will take that over being the loser of just one "misunderstanding".

Ben
Red Tornado

Posts:35

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04/29/2014 03:02 PM
Ya, pretty much anticipate stuff from anyone wanting to turn left in front of me @ intersections or pull out into traffic.  If the windows aren't tinted and/or they're not wearing sunglasses eye contact does go a long way as well.  Sometimes it seems like I have my hand on the brake levers themselves 1/2 the way home; but safety first.  That's the main goal - get home to my wife & kids.
It's pretty funny sometimes I'll point stuff out to my wife while we're in the car, like "this guys gonna do this or that" and she's like "how did you know?".
Keith Richards

Posts:727

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04/29/2014 03:28 PM
lol...I do the same thing. Often stuff will happen and I will say to my wife, "you didn't see that guy pull out 1/8 mile up the road that made everyone slam on their brakes and caused the guy in the right hand lane swerve into the left hand lane and cut you off?"
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
Orange Crush

Posts:1163

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04/29/2014 04:03 PM
Posted By Stefan Eckardt on 04/29/2014 03:02 PM
Sometimes it seems like I have my hand on the brake levers themselves 1/2 the way home; but safety first. 


This is main reason I have an MTB setup (flat handlebars) on my commuter. After anticipating (situation awareness), response speed is the next big ticket item for avoiding trouble. The flat bar setup makes it more straightforward to respond fast and minimizes the risk of fumbling the brakes.
79pmooney

Posts:1095

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04/29/2014 05:00 PM
O.C. this is also why I like fix gears in traffic. The instinct to stop pedaling is (at least for me) far faster than my hand can react even if I am already close to the lever. I used to use that fact to follow cars very closely rounding Massachusetts rotaries, reasoning that there was about an 8 foot window behind each car that the following car would not likely enter. Brake lights of the car ahead come on and I would find I had picked up about 4 extra feet of space before I got the the brake lever.

That stop I described above was on my fix gear.

Ben
huckleberry

Posts:220

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04/29/2014 08:16 PM
Same thoughts as Ben.

I make eye contact, but certainly don't put too much weight on it as I have been creamed by a woman with whom I had direct and lengthy eye contact with me right up to the point she pulled out and t-boned me, before flipping me off and speeding away with her baby in the back.

Only in LA ; )

Probably not, these days.
longslowdistance

Posts:637

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04/29/2014 09:55 PM
Wow, close call. Glad you're OK.
Man it's dangerous out there.
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