times when you are behind the wheel, and nearly hit a cyclist

← Back to Forums


caitlin
Participant
#

this thread might start major issues, but–

I don’t own a car. I drive occasionally for work and when I need to buy crap at IKEA or someplace. I believe that primarily commuting by bike has made me a much better driver–I check and double check all avenues for pedestrians and cyclists, I pull through certain intersections slowly and know that sometimes people come from around cars riding and that I need to watch out for that move. I feel that if more drivers also biked, they would be equally cautious. I certainly don’t want to hurt one of my own.

that said, yesterday I was pulling onto Sol Way off Shady and it was after 4pm so all the intersections were blocked and cars were stacked up everywhere. One made room for me and I tried to see around it and turn left onto the street. Thank god I was going slowly–a cyclist whizzed around the other side of the car making room and if I had been going any faster—as some drivers might have–he would have end-o’d over the hood of my truck. I have no idea if he was freaked out or even noticed, but it scared the bejesus out of me! As a cyclist myself and a somewhat proud Bike Pittsburgh member, I do not ever want to be on either end of an accident.

Be safe out there.


Kordite
Participant
#

The other day I was coming off the Parkway East inbound at the Bates Street exit down to 2nd Avenue. I stopped at the Bates St. intersection, looked right and didn’t see anyone. Looked left and didn’t see anyone. Started to go and then saw the cyclist right in front of me, riding the wrong way up Bates Street. It wasn’t quite a “nearly hit him” but he was certainly not in the right place at the right time.

I know that Bates between 2nd and the Boulevard of the Allies is narrow but you don’t improve your safety by riding against traffic.


erok
Keymaster
#

i don’t own a car either, but do use one on occasion, and am terrified of hitting a cyclist, or a ped for that matter. not that i doubt my driving skills (i’m actually a good driver, but everyone thinks they are), more i just don’t want to see the headlines the next day.

it would definitely have that “man bites dog” thing.


erok
Keymaster
#

that came out really wrong too. i don’t want anyone to think that if i hit someone that i’d only be worried about the headlines….

i’ll just shut up now


reddan
Keymaster
#

I find the difference in emotion interesting…when I’m driving, and, regardless of fault, come anywhere near hitting a cyclist or pedestrian, I’m darn near soiling myself. When I AM the clearly-at-fault cyclist or pedestrian, it’s more a feeling of mild chagrin that I did something dumb, rather than the pants-wetting terror that would be more appropriate.

Of course, this makes it sound like such occurrences are regular parts of my week…I think I’ll just shut up now too.


dwillen
Participant
#

We are a one car house, so I only ever drive if I need to run to costco on the weekend or something. I hate driving, so I only get behind the wheel if I really need to.

I like to give cyclists lots of room when I pass. On narrow, busy streets like Greenfield Ave, if I get behind a cyclist going up a hill, I slow down and wait until oncoming traffic disperses so I can move way over and pass safely.

I think this isn’t what most cyclists are used to, because most people keep looking back, swerving around as they do. I know what I’m doing is what *I* would want other drivers to do, but most cars just blow by with a foot of clearance on each side (between the cyclist and the oncoming traffic).

Should I just act like everyone else, because its the predictable thing, or break the trend and keep a pace a safe distance behind the rider until I feel I have a clear gap to pass with 4-5 feet of clearance? Even if it takes 30 seconds of the cyclist going, wtf is that car up to?


Kordite
Participant
#

Look at it from the perspective of a cyclist. Would you want a driver to act like a jerk because all the other drivers are acting like jerks and its what is predicted and expected or would you rather the driver, even if it’s only the occasional driver, act like a caring human being?

I’d gladly take the “WTF moment” to meet a real human being on the road.


erok
Keymaster
#

yeah, but dwillen brings up a good point. sometimes the unpredictable thing is when a car slows down, and patiently waits to pass you. then you’re like, “just pass me already and quit freakin’ me aht.”

sigh…


sloaps
Participant
#

dwillen’s post gives me a suggestion for another Bike-PGH bumper sticker: “Peloton Support Vehicle”


Mick
Participant
#

Kordite The other day I was coming off the Parkway East inbound at the Bates Street exit down to 2nd Avenue. I stopped at the Bates St. intersection, looked right and didn’t see anyone. Looked left and didn’t see anyone. Started to go and then saw the cyclist right in front of me, riding the wrong way up Bates Street. It wasn’t quite a “nearly hit him” but he was certainly not in the right place at the right time.

I know that Bates between 2nd and the Boulevard of the Allies is narrow but you don’t improve your safety by riding against traffic.

I live off teh Blvd, so I go up Bates a lot. I ride on the sidewalk or walk – both of which are against traffic, becaseu tehre is only sidewalk on one side. The exit from the inbound parkway is harrowing either way.

Sometimes I’ll get off my bike and walk across that exit – using my bike as a shield because the folks coming off the Parkway are not looking for decent, humane traffic – they are just looking for other cars.

There are times that I see no traffic either coming down the ramp nor down bates and go about 20 ftt on tthe road on the wrong side because there are curb cuts. This is hazardous.

The alternative, riding on the street with traffic? It is a very narrow street. It is a steep hill. My speed is equal to or barely faster than a pedestrian.

If I am tired or unmotivated, my speed is low enough so balance can be a problem. With drivers typically passing within inches, the associated unpredictable path could be fatal .

The cars are coming off the Parkway, so the drivers are acclimated to 80 mph speeds. The traffic, at certain times, is going or coming from to bars and parties, so the drivers are acclimated to illegal levels of intoxicants.

Oakland! Where the rookie drinkers are rookie drivers, too!

And they throw their empties on the tiny space on the road I’m supposed to ride in.

So, so for me, it’s pretty clear. I’ll deal with the hazardous intersection.

It is roughly equally hazardous riding against traffic or walking against traffic (as any pedestrian going up that hill must) for a few harrowing seconds rather than 5 minutes of hideous traffic -potentially fatal- conditions.

That being said, I’m glad you wrote about this. It increased my awareness. There have been times that I risked my life to avoid getting off my bike at the exit there. That’s a fool’s bet.

It would be nice to put a STOP sign there with a bicycle logo beneath it, a “Yield to Pedestrians” sign, and a freshly painted crosswalk there

Mick


Mick
Participant
#

Driving down Ellsworth Ave at night, I’ve passed biking hipsters in black with nothing to make themselves visible. They wouldn’t wear helmets – of course – helmets have reflective materials on them and the last thing you want is for the old duds in cars to see you.

(It might be the last thing you get, too!)

They have given me a strong aversion to riding without blinking and /or lots of reflective material.

Mick


Bikelove2010
Participant
#

I see more people than I’d like to and think “they’re gonna get hit some day”. No helmet, light, reflective anything… They don’t stop at red lights or, hell, even slow down at stop signs.

I once had to SLAM on my breaks to not hit a girl, with no “gear” on riding uphill 837 towards Kennywood. Kudos for riding UP that hill, but i could have killed her, had I not been scanning for Ped/Cyclist. Being a biker makes me SO much more aware of what’s around me.

I also once hit a unicyclist when he came out of a one way street on to CARSON while I had a green light. Okay, I know you can’t just stop, but freaking carson st? High speed cars and construction… HELLO???

Cars + Bikes + Peds + Stupidity + Lack of Common Sense= “does anyone have an extra bike we can use for a ghost bike?”


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

I was not that unicyclist, but I can assure you, anyone on a unicycle (excepting beginners) has perfect control over stopping.

Top speed on a 24″ unicycle is about a running pace. Cruising speed is about a jogging pace. If I couldn’t jog or run someplace safely, like out in ECarson traffic, I wouldn’t unk there, either. Whoever this was doesn’t think like me.


brian j
Participant
#

Given what I see during the course of usual commute, I am positively amazed that there are not 100 accidents between peds/cyclists/drivers every day. Plenty of stoopidity to go around.


Bikelove2010
Participant
#

I forgot to add the unicyclist was coming out of a one way road, the wrong way. I was very scared for him, not only at that moment, but in general.


erok
Keymaster
#

i really hope to never see a “ghost unicycle”


Lyle
Participant
#

I’m not going to preface this by beating my chest and tearing my clothes and proclaiming how much of a car-hater I am — I’ve been cycle-commuting long enough, far enough, and under challenging-enough circumstances that I don’t need to apologize to anyone for driving when it suits me!

(for that matter, neither does anyone else)

Last Friday morning, I was stopped at a red light on Wilkins preparing to turn left onto Wightman, when a young man on a mountain bike (helmetless, if that conveys any useful information) swung by on my left and passed both me and the driver in front of me.

On the left, while we were clearly signalling left turns.

The light was red, so he knew we were waiting and not moving, and he was evidently just planning to run that red light.

But the red light turned green just as he passed me, and by then he didn’t have time to stop. The only thing that saved him was that the first driver didn’t have the right of way for his own left turn (and didn’t take the Pittsburgh left).

I hope the cyclist soiled his shorts when he saw the light turn green, or least saw the error of his ways.

It doesn’t hurt to wait behind a car. Sometimes I think these riders have the same dim mentality that those “uuugggh. Cyclisssst. Must passsss.” zombie motorists have.

How about a thread for “times when you are on a bike and nearly hit a boneheaded cyclist”? I think I have more of those :(

dwillen, I do the same thing. If there isn’t room to pass safely, I’m not going to do it. And if the cyclist can’t look behind without weaving, well, that just proves how much more room he needs. Inside, of course, I’m begging them “just take the lane, dammit, you’re killing me!”

erok, don’t worry, if I ever find myself following you in a car, I’ll honk at you to restore your faith in the universe.


Mick
Participant
#

Seems like a good place to post this from Craigslist (Although the “straight up idiot” thread might be good, too.)

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mis/1435906490.html

It was 4:45 PM on Friday 10/23. I was making a turn from Henry St. onto Neville St. It was daylight and raining pretty hard. That is when we did not see each other because of the parked car blocking our view. You hit my front wheel first and then sideswept my head. You were so freaked out and so was I. I was crying so hard and laughing and even though you had just hit me, I knew you were freaking out as well and I felt bad because I knew you were a biker too. I told you repeatedly I was okay and that I was fine and not to worry. The last thing I even wanted to think about was the damages to my bike, I just wanted to make sure we were all okay. You walked me and the bike back home and after you left I went to the emergency room. Your name is Derrick, and you have an eyebrow piercing. I thought it would be funny to make a missed connection for this… also, we should probably settle some things, so please reply?


Adam
Participant
#

There was one time I was driving an ex girlfriend’s giant ford pickup (2 gas tanks and cost like $100 to fill up).

The steering was pretty loosey goosey on that thing… Not as snappy as a sports car or even my Jeep… You had to turn the thing quite a bit just to make a shallow turn, and I almost ran a cyclist off the road because I couldn’t see over the damn hood well enough and could not steer to get around him fast enough… I drove away seeing his middle finger and curse words coming at me through the rear-view and all I could say to myself is “I feel your pain brother…”


Jmal
Participant
#

Ouch Mick, you commented on my other post that you posted this here. Although posting spreads the word, I am glad you didn’t put it on idiot cyclists… I acted like an idiot after I got hit, but just like I cannot think clearly today, at the time I definitely could not think.

I also sided with the guy who hit me since he said he rides bikes and thinking that I was okay, I was more concerned that he was okay too.

Glad to clear it up though, thanks.


Mick
Participant
#

Ouch Mick, you commented on my other post that you posted this here. Although posting spreads the word, I am glad you didn’t put it on idiot cyclists…

Julie, I really am sorry that I said that so callously. I sympathize with you and I hope you you get better soon.

If I had thought you might read it, I would have worded it differently. I had imagined that Derrick would read it, which was a motivation for posting it.

As for the “idiot” thing? I feel your pain. I posted recently that my last words might be:

“No. Really. I’m OK.”

Put it on my gravestone.

Most of us here are idiots who are sincerely striving to better ourselves and become, y’know, maybe half-wits or something. A half-wit is better than no wit at all.

Please keep posting here and let us know how you are doing.

Mick


Jmal
Participant
#

Thanks Mick, I appreciate it.

and I think I’m just gonna take the next week and go home and by the time I get back to pgh, I should be alright.

Best,

Julie


rsprake
Participant
#

Driving with my wife this morning, bike in the back of the car on Penn, left turn signal on in the turning lane to get on to S. Highland. A woman with bad handling skills wobbles passed me on the left as I am turning, I see her but expect her to be faster cause she is trying such a dangerous maneuver but she is SLOW.

OK, it wasn’t that close but it made my wife jump cause she didn’t see the cyclist and I did.


greenbike
Participant
#

Didn’t nearly hit anyone tonight, although there was a guy who didn’t seem to know how to use his gears.

What I was happy to see this evening was the number of bikers out with lights–and good lights at that. It’s amazing how fast it gets dark so the bright blinking lights were really a good thing to see.


ieverhart
Participant
#

I’ve also been impressed that so many people have lights on–and good ones at that. There are, of course, also a good number I’ve seen without them. I guess what I haven’t seen a whole lot of is bad/weak lights–I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than no lights at all. Eh, I guess better.


rsprake
Participant
#

The more people have lights, the more the people without them will think that they should have them too. Except for the ones who think they are better riders than everyone else and think they glow at night.


greenbike
Participant
#

Except for the ones who think they are better riders than everyone else and think they glow at night.

….esp. when they’re wearing black b/c it shows up so well at night.


erok
Keymaster
#

while i wholehearedly agree that everyone should ride with lights (and a helmet), pittsburgh seems to be pretty good, on average, on percentage of lights users.

maybe it’s the darker streets, the feeling that it’s less safe, or that most people here learned their cycling habits in the era of LEDs but it seems better than most other places.


Mick
Participant
#

The more visible I am, the less I get yelled at.

Mick


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

The more visible I am, the less likely I’ll have to use my non-existent health insurance.


t
Participant
#

I zipped down a driveway, right onto the sidewalk and knocked down an old lady, She was standing, I was riding a bike. Does this count? Thankfully she wasn’t hurt. This was some time ago, I’ve since revised my biking style.


Bikelove2010
Participant
#

I nearly hit a cyclist on my way home tonight. I was coming off the birmmingham bridge towards southside. THANK GOD I let up on the brake and didnt step on the gas yet. A biker came off the sidewalk, through the cross walk, no lights, no helmet. I had a green light. it wasn’t a “oops, I was trying to right on red” or something. this kind of stuff scares the shit out of me. I just talked to a biker at REI about how dumb I feel wearing orange and how I get made fun of almost everyday at work for wearing a helmet, but I still do it. She does it too :)


Lyle
Participant
#

I’ll bet there’s even more wrongness in this story. Which way were you turnng?


Erica
Participant
#

^^^I feel so much safer now that I have a giant bright green messenger bag on my back.


Erica
Participant
#

accidentally posted twice.


ejwme
Participant
#

when I first moved to my neighborhood there was a very large (I believe black, or possibly just covered head to toe in black) man, fond of dressing in very large black clothing, on a black bike. Everything matte, black, and oversized – no lights, reflectors, or anything easy to see. Like a large rolling shadow. He was fond of riding salmon style after dark to/from a bar around the corner (I think) on neighborhood streets without streetlights. I almost hit him on many occasions (swerving when I saw him of course), this was before I started cycling again, but I always wondered if he wasn’t looking for insurance money. I used to call him the Stealth Biker.

I haven’t seen him in at least three years, and I wonder about him all the time, hoping despite his bad habits that he’s ok.

I have to believe there’s a little part of the brain, perhaps the ancient reptillian part, that alerts Stealth Cyclists, Salmon, Unlit Hipsters, and Scary Maneuverers to the danger barely averted as described in this thread. It might be part of that nebulous “Naw, that’s too stressfull” excuse to stop biking eventually, I don’t know.


joeframbach
Participant
#

ewjme, he’s still riding around, except now he has a large black bumper attached to his bike.


Ohiojeff
Participant
#

I have to believe there’s a little part of the brain, perhaps the ancient reptillian part, that alerts Stealth Cyclists, Salmon, Unlit Hipsters, and Scary Maneuverers to the danger barely averted as described in this thread. It might be part of that nebulous “Naw, that’s too stressfull” excuse to stop biking eventually, I don’t know.

With the “scary maneuverers” I think many–though not all–of these people know exactly what they are doing. They’ve glanced back, have a good sense of the speeds invovled and just do it.

The problem with this approach (aside from its innate idiocy) is that is startles the heck out of unsuspecting motorists. In my mind the startled motorist is an unpredictable motorist.

fond of dressing in very large black clothing, on a black bike. Everything matte, black, and oversized

Of course, if you are Darth Vadar the Force will tell you where to ride and not to ride.


ejwme
Participant
#

BB is a smaller guy, and has a different style than this guy… he really did ride like the Force was protecting him.

Jeff – I tend to agree with you, everybody has different comfort levels with proximity and speeds and one person’s “crazy darting in and out of traffic” is another person’s “riding”. Perhaps that tiny little voice in their heads tells them how dangerous OTHERS are around them, rather than how dangerous they are. But especially if they know exactly what they’re doing, they can’t be oblivious to the “ack” factor surrounding them.

Predictable == safer. Then even if you’re screwing up royally, others can figure out how to avoid your mess. In car or on bike, the streets are part of a social contract, unpredictability threatens that.


JZ
Participant
#

“In my mind the startled motorist is an unpredictable motorist.”

==jeffinpgh

In traffic, surprises are bad.

← Back to Forums

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Click here to login.

Supported by