So I went for a ride with a friend Sunday. We are preparing for a long ride this next weekend and wanted to some prep work. For this particular ride we decided to ride some local bike/jogging trails that connect two lakes here. Most motorists are well aware of the trails and where the trail and road join they are generally patient and well mannered. So we thought this would be the safest option.
Along the way the trails also cross several roads. Where this happens the City has placed posts in the concrete to prevent cars and other motorized vehicles from entering the trails. They are painted bright red and hard to miss. As I mentioned before most motorists are patient and well mannered. As I approached one of these intersections I encountered one such driver. Even though he didn't have a stop sign he stopped. Little did he know how much that complicates things. I didn't know if he was stopping for me or if he had A.D.D. like my son and has seen a squirrel.
I had this article in mind and tried to make eye contact but the windows were too dark. Remember those posts I mentioned before that are "hard to miss". Well they are hard when you hit them too. Thankfully, I had slowed considerably by the time I made contact with my left brake. I still had enough momentum though that I flew over the handle bars, the posts, and tumbled into the road right in front of the driver. The good news is that I was completely unharmed, aside from a minor abrasion on the knee (didn't even bleed) and only broke a reflector on my bike.
My reason for posting this is simply as an example of what can happen when well intentioned drivers fail to follow the rules of the road.
To be completely honest I should have stopped and made them go. Obviously trying to make eye contact with the driver and navigating my way past the posts was a bad plan.
I would add to your list "WHEN IN DOUBT STOP"
Fitness Minutes: (2,248) Posts: 121 3/29/12 12:35 P
Be safe out there, everyone! Some helpful reminders ...Don
"If you have to deal with cars on a regular basis on your rides, following a few basic tenets of road safety can help you avoid that cringe-worthy acronym, SMIDSY, or its counterpart in whatever your native language.
See What’s Ahead
Stay focused on what’s going on around you, and what’s up the road. Be aware of all the cars around you, especially those that might make a sudden right turn in front of you. If you see movement, slow down and prepare to stop. (On a ride the other day, a van pulled over to the curb right in front me, with no warning. I slowed and passed the van, as the driver yakked into the mobile phone glued to his ear.)
If you’re nearing an intersection with a traffic light, look up the road to gauge when the light might turn from green to red – and whether any oncoming traffic might turn left into your path. This is especially necessary if you’re riding in a bike lane that’s part of the road. A left-turning motorist may not even realize they need to check the bike lane for oncoming traffic. If you can see them, assume they don’t see you.
Often, roadies will come across a driver whose intentions are good, but in trying to do you a favor – for instance, letting you cross in front of them when you don’t have the right of way – they actually endanger you. If you take them up on their offer, you could get hit by another car that doesn’t have the same kind intentions or is completely unaware of the other driver’s plan. In cases like this, channel your inner traffic cop. Stop where you are and wave on the well-intentioned driver. It’s better, and safer, for all the vehicles in such a situation to stick to the rules of the road. Thanks for the offer, but no, thanks.
Make Yourself Visible
I've long since lost count of the number of times drivers have looked right through me and pulled out in front of me – even when I look like a giant rolling banana in the brightest yellow jacket I own. It makes sense to give yourself every chance to be seen – especially in overcast or gloomy conditions – by wearing bright colors, reflective materials and proper lights at the appropriate times. Even if you’re fashion-conscious in your riding gear and like darker colors, contrasting shapes and colors can help you stand out.
Of a human’s 5 senses, we have two available to help us navigate the roads: sight and hearing. Paying too much attention to your on-board computer takes both your mind, and your eyes, off the road. Only after checking your surroundings should you briefly glance at your computer. You can pore over your metrics later, when you’re at home. And while I personally do not believe in using any form of ear buds during a ride, I know some riders do like to listen to music and such when on the bike. Doing so at a low-enough volume to be able to hear everything going on around you is the only way that the idea is acceptable.
Low Expectations, Indeed
I've mentioned before that, raising 2 boys, my wife and I have come to expect them on occasion to do the absolute most mindless thing. In that respect, drivers and boys are not dissimilar! I expect drivers to do the stupidest possible thing, as well, and I try to be ready for it if they meet my expectations. Never think you know what a car is going to do. Expect it to turn in front of you, pull out into your path, etc. And be ready for it.
See Eye to Eye
One way to at least partially overcome this lack of certainty is to try hard to make eye contact with a driver in a tenuous situation. For example, if you’re cruising down a road and come up on a car at a stop sign on a side street (that is waiting to turn onto your street) – do your best to stare down the driver until you can see that the driver sees you. Turn your head to help send the message that you’re looking at them (simply shifting your eyes behind your cycling sunglasses is completely useless). Making this connection in any difficult traffic situation is a necessity on the road.
And remember, if you do have a close call, vent if you must, but it’s likely to result in a defensive response from a driver. The better tack is to follow the advice of Michael O’Reilly and try to calmly educate the motorist so that they – hopefully – don’t repeat their mistake. Click to read his complete article":
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