My current situation requires me to drive to work, but cycle home (the Baroness drives the car home in the evenings). I had a 'near miss' incident with a cyclist this morning.
I was travelling east on Quinlan Ave in St Mary's where there are a series of little roundabouts. On approaching these I slow, look right and proceed.. and being cyclist aware, and knowing there are a couple of cyclists that frequent the area, I do look out for these.
However, today, on approaching a roundabout, there was a vehicle about to enter from the right. I made the snap decision to not wait, as there was enough space to safely enter before him. As I entered the roundabout, a cyclist flashed across the front of my car, heading right to left, not close enough (nor was there time enough) to cause me to have to brake, but close enough to say WTF.. where did he come from...
I was doing everything in accordance with the road rules, wasn't driving unsafely, was looking as required, wasn't unduly distracted.... so what if we had collided? My only excuse would have to be 'I didn't see him'
Now that I have a had time to go over it again in my mind, there are a few mitigating circumstances....
.. the windscreen pillar was directly in the field of view of where the cyclist would have been when I looked right.. hence my missing him
.. I was concentrating on the vehicle on the right, as well as the roundabout in front
.. at a rough estimate, the cyclist would have been doing 30+kph thru the roundabout.. correctly assuming right of way, but not giving himself a chance to avoid a collision.
Make what you will of this, but for me as a cycling and driving commuter it highlights the fact that even an aware driver is a danger, and face it, how often do drivers just drive on 'auto' mode?
That's a sobering incident, Baron!
It is one thing to know that you have right-of-way, but quite another thing to flash in front of car assuming that you will always be accorded your right. That is why I usually slow down at roundabouts - preferring to give myself the option of a screeching halt if a car driver doesn't see me.
Your experience reinforces my belief that about 99.8% of car drivers are at least attempting to do to the right thing - but being human, mistakes are made. We are in danger all the time, not just from the 0.2% who don't care, but mostly from the majority who are perhaps momentarily distracted.
Reminds me of an incident at a roundabout in Glenelg just over a year ago. I was travelling at speed 27-30km/h and has half a second away from being collected by a van not giving away to his right. So now I am a bit more cautious at roundabouts. I would say that as a regular cyclist roundabouts are my number 1 fear, number 2 is cars zooming pass me on the left in a slip lane, trying to merge with traffic. Number 3 is cars sticking there 'nose' out too far into the traffic from a side street or they start to move forward as you are about to pass.
Could've been a blind spot. Modern car designers still take great pains in building them in. For instance, my Falchoon has a rear vision mirror placed at just the right spot and just the right size to completely hide a car on a close collision course. Likewise, cars can hide behind the front pillars (though they need to be a little further away, more a wtf rather than 'crash' distance). I'm blind looking over my right shoulder thanks to the middle pillar. Not a lot better to the left where a bike could hide behind it. Rear to the right, I'm completely blind (and this is a station wagon for heaven's sake) and to the left, I need to study things ... while driving. Sure, this car is 10 years old, but it's still the modern styling. All this bull dust about 'safety' just doesn't cut it with me, not while they build in blind spots.
By contrast, my old Valiant station wagon had few blind spots - high mirror, thin pillars, etc. Even my old camper van was better.
What hope does a cyclist have?
Richard, you might be interested in my recent discussion at
Some Australian car distributors / manufacturers lobby against improving the pedestrian (/ cyclist) safety rating for when vehicles hit them. Some cars deliberately made less safe, to make the car look better to encourage sales. The Holden Commodore has the bottom 1-star rating.
It sounds like the cyclist was using the same decision making process as yourself. I often wonder what would happen if I met myself in a split second/questionable traffic interchange/incident. Kersplattt!
"correctly assuming right of way" - the cyclist only had right of way if he entered the roundabout first.
The law says that you give way to any vehicle on the roundabout NOT give way to your right. So in some situations you need to give way to your left at a roundabout. Its confusing and most people don't know how to give way properly at roundabouts.