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Message To A Distracted Driver...


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#1 tony

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 05:27 PM

To the woman in the light blue VW beetle convertible who was yelled at by a 50-year-old guy on a bike at 7:30 this morning in the middle of the intersection of Iron Point and Broadstone Parkway...that round red light at the top of the signal (actually, there are several of them you could have seen) means STOP. It means STOP when it first appears, and it means STOP 5 seconds later when the cross traffic gets to the middle of the intersection. Lucky for me and anyone else who might have been there, I was the only one heading SB on Broadstone Parkway (starting with a new green light), and I was on a bike, which meant that I had only traveled about 40 of the 50 feet to the left turn lane you were in by the time you blew through the red light at 30+ mph without a clue. Had I been in a car, I almost certainly would have gotten t-boned and would be in the hospital right now (unless my defensive driving skills were on exceptionally high alert, or I was as distracted as you were and didn't notice for several seconds that the light had turned green). Plus, on the bike, I was probably much quicker to recognize that you were not going to stop, surprised as I was to see you still coming up to the left turn at speed. I know, the sun was probably in your eyes (if your eyes were even looking in that direction). But it sure looked like I awoke you from some trance when I yelled, "Hey, that was a red light!" (and, yes, that's all I yelled, although you were going fast enough that you probably only heard, "HEY, thaaaaaaaa...").

In the future, you might consider slowing down if you can't see in front of you. Killing someone would really make you late for work, not to mention ruining several lives. Ask the kid who inhaled nitrous oxide and killed those two young men on Folsom Blvd. Distracted driving is every bit as dangerous and irresponsible.

Addendum to my Friday commute, which ended nearly as it began: to the guy (apparently unsafe driving is gender-neutral) in the red Jeep who was apparently insulted (as evidenced by the horn honking) after the fact) that I suggest he should stop at the STOP sign on Natoma at Reading when a dad and his 10-year-old son are already crossing the intersection at about 8:30 pm (after stopping), that red and white octagonal sign with the word "STOP", does not mean tap your brakes and accelerate through the intersection for a reason. As you so well-demonstrated, people who do "California stops" often have no intention of actually stopping, even when there are others already in the intersection. This is apparently especially true in the presence of bicyclists. For every motorist I encounter who will wave me on out of turn at a stop sign, there is another who will do whatever it takes to make sure they get through the intersection before I do, whether that be stopping instantaneously 20 feet short of the stop bar so they can claim they got there first (they do this to other motorists, too), or just plain speeding up. This is common at signalized intersections as well, where right turning motorists will hurry to make a right turn on red (without stopping) to make sure they get ahead of the bicyclist proceeding with a green light.

People, drive like your lives (and other people's, like mine) depend on it! They do!

#2 nhardy

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 10:20 AM

Glad you didn't get hit. Curious though, does that round red light mean STOP for cyclist as well? Cause I see cyclist run reds ALL the time.
To all you Freaks, don't stop the rock....

#3 tony

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:27 PM

Glad you didn't get hit. Curious though, does that round red light mean STOP for cyclist as well? Cause I see cyclist run reds ALL the time.

Thanks for the sentiment, but, here we go again. A bicyclist complains about a particular dangerous manuever by a motorist, and immediately, the topic is flipped to what's wrong with cyclists. If you read my OP, you would know that this particular cyclist had stopped for the round red light. So your question can be nothing more than an immediate change of subject to bike bashing.

So, no thanks!

#4 nhardy

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:48 PM

Not blaming cyclist at all. I also enjoy riding, but I know that automobiles are much larger and faster than I am and when I'm out, I'm constantly watching for drivers like OP described. I've also been in a car where cyclist run through reds without stopping because they feel they have the right of way. Nothing chaps my arse more than drivers AND cyclists who feel entitled to do whatever they feel. My point is, there's an equal amount of idiot drivers as there are idiot cyclists. From the sound of it, you are not one of them so cheers to a cyclist that follows the traffic rules :2thumbsup:
To all you Freaks, don't stop the rock....

#5 asbestoshills

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:43 AM

Since we are turning this into a bicycle bash (sarcasm) , PLEASE quit hugging that bike lane divider. There is a three inch space between you and a car, do you really have that much faith that some idiot isn't texting and goes over the line? Why do AGGRESSIVE bicyclists do this? I notice it a lot here and in Davis, very aggressive bicyclists. To top it off, just think if an idiot in the lane next to me crosses over the line and into my lane, do you not think I'm going to move over into the bike lane to save my children from getting hit on the side just b/c you are hugging the lane divider? Bicyclists really need to use more common sense and while drivers are more distracted now more than ever so are bicyclists with their stupid pedals that can't come off so they don't ever come to a complete stop and their ipods etc. Both drivers need to be careful.
Americans, don't just come in one color or race.

#6 chris v

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:57 AM

Legally a cyclist can use the whole lane you drive in. Is it smart to do so? Sometimes. Just because you are in a car does not mean a bicyclist needs to get out of your way.

People that ride with headphones on are just stupid and unsafe in my opinion.

#7 tony

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:44 AM

Not blaming cyclist at all. I also enjoy riding, but I know that automobiles are much larger and faster than I am and when I'm out, I'm constantly watching for drivers like OP described. I've also been in a car where cyclist run through reds without stopping because they feel they have the right of way. Nothing chaps my arse more than drivers AND cyclists who feel entitled to do whatever they feel. My point is, there's an equal amount of idiot drivers as there are idiot cyclists. From the sound of it, you are not one of them so cheers to a cyclist that follows the traffic rules :2thumbsup:

Yes, indeed there are plenty of idiot cyclist to match the idiot motorists. And as I've posted several times before, I'd be happy to see them ticketed equally (as you pointed out, they clearly give the rest of bicyclists a bad name). That said, it sure would be nice if a topic about bad drivers didn't get hi-jacked just because it happened to be started by someone riding a bicycle.

#8 tony

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:58 AM

Since we are turning this into a bicycle bash (sarcasm) , PLEASE quit hugging that bike lane divider. There is a three inch space between you and a car, do you really have that much faith that some idiot isn't texting and goes over the line? Why do AGGRESSIVE bicyclists do this? I notice it a lot here and in Davis, very aggressive bicyclists. To top it off, just think if an idiot in the lane next to me crosses over the line and into my lane, do you not think I'm going to move over into the bike lane to save my children from getting hit on the side just b/c you are hugging the lane divider? Bicyclists really need to use more common sense and while drivers are more distracted now more than ever so are bicyclists with their stupid pedals that can't come off so they don't ever come to a complete stop and their ipods etc. Both drivers need to be careful.

To add to what Chris said, there are a number of reasons you will find cyclists riding on or even over the bike lane line: 1) in general, the 2-ft of bike lane closest to the lane line is about the only part that stays free of debris because that part gets naturally swept by the wind created by traffic (along with motorists who don't stay in their lane); 2) even where the bike lane is generally clean, there is often the need to avoid glass and other hazards thrown or dropped on the road by idiot drivers (getting back to the original topic!); and 3) to keep a safe distance from parked cars to avoid being "doored" (by idiot drivers who open their door without looking, which BTW is illegal). It is worth noting that even the largest SUVs are only 6.5' wide (7.5' with mirrors). That leaves 5.5' of maneuvering room within a standard 12-foot traffic lane. If you've got a license, you ought to be able to stay in the space.

Oh, and if we're not bicycle bashing, then why are you bringing up "their stupid pedals"?

#9 ducky

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:20 AM

I appreciate Tony educating us about why bicyclists behave the way they do.

Back to Tony's OP. I just had the same thing happen, as I'm sure all of us have, but I was in a car, not on a bike. The left turn arrow was green for me for a couple seconds when here comes a pickup truck just totally blowing through the red on East Bidwell. This was at East Folsom Lake College intersection. It's because of drivers like this that I don't jump on the gas when the light changes to green. If I had, I probably wouldn't have been far enough out to be T-boned, but he would have taken off the front end of my car.

People in this town need to slow the ___ down and pay attention to driving instead of doing everything else in their vehicle.

#10 tony

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:36 AM

Since we are turning this into a bicycle bash (sarcasm) , PLEASE quit hugging that bike lane divider. There is a three inch space between you and a car, do you really have that much faith that some idiot isn't texting and goes over the line? Why do AGGRESSIVE bicyclists do this? I notice it a lot here and in Davis, very aggressive bicyclists. To top it off, just think if an idiot in the lane next to me crosses over the line and into my lane, do you not think I'm going to move over into the bike lane to save my children from getting hit on the side just b/c you are hugging the lane divider? Bicyclists really need to use more common sense and while drivers are more distracted now more than ever so are bicyclists with their stupid pedals that can't come off so they don't ever come to a complete stop and their ipods etc. Both drivers need to be careful.

Seems I forgot one of the more important reasons for hugging the bike lane line (rather than hugging the curb): visibility. You wouldn't be complaining about the bicyclists riding the line unless you saw them. And very rarely do people hit what they see. As someone pointed out on a related thread, it's good to assume you are not seen while bicycling, but the flip side of that is that you want to do everything possible to make sure you are seen (hence, the obnoxious bike jerseys). More specifically, in spite of most people's fears, overtaking cars are not a major risk when you are cycling in urban areas, but turning traffic is. Not only are motorists subconsciously focused only on seeing other cars (ask any motorcyclist), but they also only look where they expect to see other cars. As a cyclist, if you are even a couple of feet further from the motor vehicle traffic, you are far more likely to have people pull out or turn left in front of you. And those are the most common bike-car collisions in urban areas, and some of the most dangerous. The farther you are from the rest of traffic, the less likely you are to be seen by cross traffic. The more driveways and cross streets, the more important this is; conversely, the higher the speed of traffic and the less intersections and driveways (think Iron Point), the better to be a little further to the right.

In summary, bicyclists don't ride the left edge of the bike lane to be obnoxious or make a statement, they do it be because it is often the safest place to ride. Many things that bicyclists do that motorists find annoying or even belligerent, are merely well-established safe cycling skills.

P.S. Thanks, Ducky!

#11 (The Dude)

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:56 PM

People in this town need to slow the ___ down and pay attention to driving instead of doing everything else in their vehicle.


Amen to that sista! I wish I could put that entire statement on the back window of my car in huge letters!

#12 ducky

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:14 PM

Amen to that sista! I wish I could put that entire statement on the back window of my car in huge letters!


The Dude, you probably wouldn't want to fill in what I meant for the blank spot. There might be children in the car behind you. I appreciate the sentiment, though :)

I'm by no means perfect. I've made mistakes driving. It's just I've seen more and more people in the habit of treating residential streets like freeways, tailgating when other people are doing the speed limit, and just being distracted by phones instead of paying attention to driving.

Tony, I used to think bicyclists were being aggressive or jerky when they hugged the line. Now, thanks to you, I know to look and see if they are just trying to avoid debris in the bike lane or are just trying to be seen like you've pointed out.

#13 crossski

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:31 PM

Glad you didn't get hit. Curious though, does that round red light mean STOP for cyclist as well? Cause I see cyclist run reds ALL the time.




Are you serious? You don't belong behind the wheel of any vehicle on any roadway..




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