Have you ever noticed that on a congested road motorists often kindly leave a gap and allow cars to enter the road from a left hand side street? Giving way? Being nice?
As a cyclist this is not good, often the motorist turning onto the main road is intent on thanking the guy who let them in and not focused on me riding down the bike lane straight toward them.
This happens to me daily, and got me thinking… If we are to strengthen relationships with motorists, should we be giving way too? Being nice just like the motorist?
Any thoughts on this?
What is the safest option?
I wouldn't be interested in giving way to strengthen the relationship with motorists, or because it is a polite thing to do. Number one interest riding in heavy traffic is self preservation, I'll give way for that reason and expect a car to cut across me every time there is a gap in traffic at an intersection.
Agreed Patrick. I always slow down around side streets when there are a queue of cars.
Worse than the cars turning out of the side street are the ones turning right into the side street across the 2 lanes of the main road, they just can't see a cyclist even if they wanted to.
Anyone passing a stationary vehicle on its left ( passenger) side is asking for trouble, even if you are in a bike lane, as you are likely to be invisible to a right turning vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The faster your speed, the greater the risk . When you crash, you will be in the right, but the driver's life will have become a nightmare and you can be badly hurt - all because you couldn't be bothered giving way, just for a moment. FWIW: just another reason why bike lanes are not a solution...
I ride daily, I am traffic and I don't want the motorists to get the idea I will stop for them automatically unless I am legally obligated.
In the scenario described the amount of time I will take is nothing when they essentially have nowhere to go once they have completed the turn and merge!
I try to ride with the expectation the motorist is not even looking for me, not that I have been too successful in the last twelve months.
Good point Eddie, has got me thinking. Immediate thoughts were 'yeah i should GW in more situs' and then i thought 'Riding as tall as possible (is bright clothing) in these situations to be seen over the roof of a car and being super aware is just as important.
i had two near misses yesterday on the way home and one this morning exactly as described above- i'll call it a near miss but the truth was i could see it coming and adjusted to suit. self preservation at work. one of the drivers apologised and i waved back- that is one way to be "nice" -apology given, apology accepted and we move on.
however i would not encourage the practice of "letting a driver in". i think a reasonable example of this would be- does a bus give way to someone trying to enter and cross the lane? given that we share bus lanes sometimes and you may have one directly behind you-would you hold up the bus to let the car enter? would the driver of the car attempt to cross the direction of the bus? in either case i wouldn't think so. YOU as a road user- travelling in a designated lane have the right of way-the driver of any vehicle entering the flow of traffic must give way (does "give way to the right" ring any bells?).
a cyclist on the road cannot be too timid. if too many cyclists hold back it will just re-inforce the mentality in motorists minds to expect some sort of priority, in effect you will be making it more dangerous for your cycling brethren.
On a totally different topic- i "flipped" the LHS mirrors on two cars back "out" to where they should be whilst riding in today! In moving traffic!
Beware of cars driving with the mirrors "tucked in" There's something scary to think about. i have seen quite a few with no mirror/ broken mirrors as well. Just another danger to avoid while cruising along.
To all, Please be careful during the current festival of the clipsal 500- it's a car race where twenty something cars drive really fast for a few days...and thousands of cars drive really slowly!
As a chess player - I call this scenario "discovered check".
I encounter it often and I add the other - when traffic IS flowing but you are hidden by a bus or truck. As the bus or truck pulls away from you - suddenly there is a car turning behind it - and into you.
Playing chicken with cars seems likely to end in tears
This is always an interesting topic for me.
Almost exactly 4 years ago (12 March 2008) I was involved in a crash in this sort of situation. I was riding along North East Rd, 0830-ish, and travelling just slightly faster than the moving motorised traffic. The cars on my right unexpectedly slowed, and ultimately stopped, why I don't know, maybe someone pulled in front of someone else and set off a wave of braking in the traffic flow. Too late I noticed part of the reason for the slowing was to let turning traffic across. I started braking at about the same time I collided with the passenger door of a van turning right across the bike lane; at a surprisingly high speed too. I sustained a teardrop fracture to my C3 vertebra which could easily have ended my life, or at best (worst???) left me on a ventilator and in a wheelchair for life. I believe I only passed one, or possibly two, stationary cars on the left, and was beginning to brake at the time, so it was all very sudden. Yes, I admit some degree of fault, the traffic speed was around 40-45km/h, I had just been pushing along at 45+ and perhaps not planning ahead as far as I should have. I don't think this excuses the van driver from checking the bike lane as he crossed though. It's no different to checking any other traffic lane is clear, or at least it shouldn't be.
I recently had a fairly heated argument with a workmate, one who was a regular cycle commuter 15-odd years ago until one morning he rode past the ongoing scene of a fatal bike vs truck crash. He hasn't ridden a bike at all since, and has developed some very strong opinions about cyclists use of roads. Basically, bikes have no place on public roads. Ever. The argument started when he said he'd almost crashed his car into a cyclist, while turning right, across a road with a bike lane. Of course, he didn't see the cyclist - SMIDSY strikes again. This fellow is convinced that the only solution beyond banning all cycling on public roads for the cyclists own safety, is to require every cyclist using a bike lane, to give way to all turning traffic at all side streets. This would mean that in some areas we would need to stop several times every minute to allow motorised traffic to enter or leave the road we are travelling on! And this is from a guy who used to commute 40km every day himself.
Stay alert, and stay safe out there everyone. I'm not paranoid, I KNOW they're all out to get me. ;-)
After reading Paul's story I think we need an awareness program for drivers, 'Courtesy can Kill'.