Author Topic: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car  (Read 9893 times)

mlejw6

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Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« on: December 15, 2014, 08:57:13 PM »
Today I was riding my bike. I approached a three-way stop sign intersection. A car approached about the same time to my right, and I decided to wait even though I had gotten to the intersection slightly ahead of it. (I like to ride like I am invisible, so I defer to cars even if I lawfully have the right of way) It's probably good I did this. The car was turning left in front of me, and should have passed me harmlessly on my left (never mind that it barely touched its brakes through the stop sign). Next thing I know, it is barrelling straight toward me! I yell, causing the driver to brake just in time to hit my front tire. Luckily, I did not fall and wasn't hurt.
I feel very lucky that a) the driver stopped in time, and b) she then stopped to make sure I was okay. However, it really irks me that while she said she didn't see me, that shouldn't have mattered one bit IF SHE HAD BEEN TURNING INTO HER OWN LANE and not mine.

I think about what could have happened if I had not waited to see if the car would stop and had just continued into the intersection. I could have passed in front of the car harmlessly...... or the car could have hit me broadside and I would have been much worse off.

dios.del.sol

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2014, 10:14:02 PM »
Glad you're all right. Close calls suck, but many of us have had them. Take any lessons you can learn, be grateful that it wasn't worse, and keep riding.

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 12:14:40 AM »
Eye contact. I always try for eye contact.

mveill1

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 02:07:34 AM »
I don't want to make you feel like it's your fault, but besides eye contact (which is important), it's always about being visible and predictable. That means taking as much space as you're entitled to, signalling, etc. If they see you, they'll have to be psychos to run you over. Thankfully there aren't too many of those, as least where I live! And only drivers can correct their own driving, unfortunately. I haven't had accidents since I've started following these tenets years ago.

I did have a close call on a roundabout recently, where a large truck came into it way to quickly and couldn't stop. I knew from lack of eye contact that he didn't pay attention to the fact I was already on, and I caught him just in time to catch the look of shame and fear on his face!

Sorry this happened to you, again, don't take this as a blame on yourself.

GuitarStv

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 05:30:53 AM »
Was it dark out when this happened?  What kind of lights are you using, and are you wearing a reflective high vis jacket?

MooseOutFront

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2014, 05:45:50 AM »
I could use an MS Paint of the situation for clarity.

OutBy40

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 06:13:31 AM »
Just so I can get the story straight in my mind - when the driver hit you, you weren't moving, correct?  You were sitting there patiently and the driver clipped your front tire?

Yeah, sounds like the woman (resisting the obligatory woman driver joke) probably had a very important text to respond to, or at least read, and that might be why she apparently didn't see you.  I'm sure she's a very important woman who needs to stay up to date with her texts and email. 

Paying attention to the roadway?  That's priority number two for a woman of her stature.

Jack

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 06:31:38 AM »
If I'm reading this correctly, the driver ran the stop sign and then turned into a lane on the wrong side of the road, causing an accident.

If that's accurate, please tell me you called the police and pressed charges! That driver is a menace to everyone, regardless of what kind of road user they are.

BCBiker

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2014, 06:52:03 AM »
I must say that this is a common scenario for me. I take the same approach of always giving the car the right-of-way even if they have a stop sign and I don't. It should always be assumed that the car driver does not see you because 6 times out of 10, it is probably true.  It is much more unpredictable if the driver does not obey the constraints of the road (swerving into the other lane) such as in this case.

As part of my forthcoming blog I am going to be filming my daily commute with a GoPro Camera so readers can analyze situations such as this.  I think that if society is going to become more bike friendly (and safer in general) people have to realize how horrible people are at driving.  And I recognize this as being a short-coming of being human, not a specific person problem.  Paying attention at all times while doing the menial task of driving is difficult.  We all have much more challenging and interesting thoughts than keeping your eyes on the road, looking out for an unexpected pedestrian.  Thus, temporary lapses in attention span happen inevitably and frequently. It is unfortunate when these lapses in attention span coincide with a bicycle rider being nearby.

I certainly am not defending drivers that text and drive or other forms of more overt distracted driving. I am just recognizing that the "system" of humans driving around is deeply flawed and that the more miles you drive the more likely you are to be involved in an accident, even if you feel you are always paying attention. We all day dream and often these day dreams happen while driving.

tstache

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2014, 07:33:45 AM »
I'm glad you are ok.  I ride my bike often to work as well and I've had several close calls over the years.  Stay safe. 

Timmmy

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2014, 07:45:26 AM »
Eye contact. I always try for eye contact.

This.  I do this even when riding my motorcycle and it has served me well for thousands of miles.  If no eye contact I assume they are going to run me over and act accordingly.  That includes breaking other laws to get out of the way.

dilinger

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2014, 08:19:49 AM »
If that's accurate, please tell me you called the police and pressed charges! That driver is a menace to everyone, regardless of what kind of road user they are.

For the love of all bikers, please say you called the cops.

And not just all bikers.  She could've hit someone crossing the street.  You could've been on a motorcycle.  Or, maybe she was truly oblivious, and would've hit you even if you were in a car.  I don't know enough about the circumstances, but people that don't pay attention while driving are a danger to *everyone*.

mlejw6

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2014, 08:33:15 AM »
More details:

It was night. I have a bright headlight mounted on the handlebars, a blinkie in back, a reflective vest, and a couple of spoke lights. I'd like to add a high vis jacket and a front light to mount on my helmet. If you have any good recommendations for where to get these, I'd be grateful.

I did not call the cops. I frankly didn't think about it until much later. All I was thinking was how grateful I was that no one was hurt. The driver was sufficiently distraught and apologetic. I suspect it was a matter of being distracted.

I agree that drivers can be far too distracted from driving in these situations. Every time I change the radio station, I think about what could happen in that two seconds my eyes and mind are off the road. And that is not even the worst people do in their cars. That is why I am overly cautious, look for eye contact, and generally wait for the car to make the first move, no matter what the situation.

Russ

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2014, 08:58:14 AM »
Being distracted while driving a 4000 lb. murdermobile is not exactly something to let go IMO. Road use by way of automobile is not a right and anybody who comes this close to running someone over should lose the privilege.

Bob W

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2014, 09:11:53 AM »
Glad your are alright! 


GuitarStv

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2014, 09:14:11 AM »
There is no excuse for her actions.  You weren't wearing black on a black bike at night.  This scenario could only occur due to her being very negligent in operating her vehicle.  This type of anti-social behaviour needs to be reported to the police when it happens.

Jack

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2014, 09:19:15 AM »
I'd like to add a high vis jacket and a front light to mount on my helmet. If you have any good recommendations for where to get these, I'd be grateful.

If you just need the high viz jacket to provide visibility and can use something else for warmth, then you could get a cheap safety vest and a headband light from somewhere like Harbor Freight.

GuitarStv

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2014, 09:27:08 AM »
He was using a reflective vest.  Reflective vests are great because they're cheap, but they don't provide good visibility for your arm signals that a high vis jacket does.  I'd just recommend the brightest neon coloured windbreaker with reflective patches that you can find on sale at Nashbar.  Get a size larger so you can layer stuff under it to stay warm in the winter.

FreeWheel

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2014, 09:46:47 AM »
Situational Awareness is the biggest key to our safety. By being fully aware of your surroundings, you were able to prevent a serious collision. Good job.

When sitting in the position you were in waiting for a car to cross my path and turn left in front of me, I like to turn my handlebars directly towards the driver and away several times as I see them approach. I do this day or night as I run my light on flash during the day. It greatly increases the likelihood of them seeing me. A helmet mounted light is also good for this.

I also prepare myself to yell, wave my arms, or jump up or out of the way. Thankfully itís never come to that for me.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 09:48:50 AM by FreeWheel »

BlueMR2

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2014, 10:30:26 AM »
I almost got mowed down over the weekend walking across a street.  "Walk" light came on, I started walking (while looking, as always).  A car comes divebombing around the corner, he didn't see me until he was almost on me, I didn't see him until then either.  He had a green light to turn at the same time I had a walk light.  Bad planning with the signals...

eyePod

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2014, 11:21:29 AM »
Had a friend who got hit head on while he was driving his CAR. Other driver was distracted by their cell phone. Just think about that for a bit. If a driver isn't going to notice another car, how in the hell will they notice a bicycle? Yikes.

Jack

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2014, 11:31:02 AM »
I almost got mowed down over the weekend walking across a street.  "Walk" light came on, I started walking (while looking, as always).  A car comes divebombing around the corner, he didn't see me until he was almost on me, I didn't see him until then either.  He had a green light to turn at the same time I had a walk light.  Bad planning with the signals...

You mean he had a green turn arrow at the same time you had a conflicting walk signal? In that case, call the city/county/DOT because the signal (and/or the engineer who programmed it) screwed up.

OutBy40

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2014, 12:02:53 PM »
I almost got mowed down over the weekend walking across a street.  "Walk" light came on, I started walking (while looking, as always).  A car comes divebombing around the corner, he didn't see me until he was almost on me, I didn't see him until then either.  He had a green light to turn at the same time I had a walk light.  Bad planning with the signals...

You mean he had a green turn arrow at the same time you had a conflicting walk signal? In that case, call the city/county/DOT because the signal (and/or the engineer who programmed it) screwed up.

My thoughts exactly.  If the lights were as you described, definitely report that to the city or even the sheriffs office.

Gmullz

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2014, 12:28:36 PM »
More details:

It was night. I have a bright headlight mounted on the handlebars, a blinkie in back, a reflective vest, and a couple of spoke lights. I'd like to add a high vis jacket and a front light to mount on my helmet. If you have any good recommendations for where to get these, I'd be grateful.

I did not call the cops. I frankly didn't think about it until much later. All I was thinking was how grateful I was that no one was hurt. The driver was sufficiently distraught and apologetic. I suspect it was a matter of being distracted.

I agree that drivers can be far too distracted from driving in these situations. Every time I change the radio station, I think about what could happen in that two seconds my eyes and mind are off the road. And that is not even the worst people do in their cars. That is why I am overly cautious, look for eye contact, and generally wait for the car to make the first move, no matter what the situation.

While her poor driving is inexcusable, I actually like having two lights on the front of my bike. I have a small, low powered one that I use in strobe mode when it's night time; this is used mainly for others to notice me. My other light is a 500~ lumen light that I typically use as a fixed beam when it's night time to aid my own sight, but I will use it on strobe on a cloudy morning where a little bit of extra visibility is needed, but it's too bright for my smaller light to be effective.

I really feel like a strobe light causes that extra little bit of "what was that?" in the mind of the driver, especially since bicycle lights seem to have a fairly narrow beam compared to the headlights of a car, so the strobe helps to alleviate that shortfall. 

My Small light: http://www.mec.ca/product/5034-781/mec-galaxy-usb-white-led-front-light/?No=40&h=10+50002+50037&f=10+50002+50037
My Big Light: http://www.mec.ca/product/5032-171/mec-zinger-480-usb-led-headlight/?f=10+50002+50037

NeuroPlastic

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2014, 01:26:05 PM »
I'm glad that you are alright.
Eye contact can be helpful, but it doesn't always work.  Letting the police know also doesn't always help.
Last week I was walking across the street, in a crosswalk, in daylight.  I made clear eye contact with the uniformed officer driving the approaching cruiser, and still I had to yield to avoid a collision.

mlejw6

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2014, 08:11:51 AM »
Freewheel: Good idea about the handlebars! I will remember that and use it! That probably would have helped a lot.

My headlight also can be strobe, but I don't like using it at night because it's murder on the eyes. Having two lights would help, which is why I'd like to get a helmet mounted light as well.

Thanks for all the support and ideas!

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2014, 08:45:46 AM »
Was afraid to open this thread this morning...VERY glad you're ok!

There's a guy who rides an incumbent here on the freeway...he's got all kinds of lights on at night and day reflective stuff and a flag: yet I see people creep into his lane all of the time. Freaks me out.

GuitarStv

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2014, 09:03:03 AM »
For all the vote pandering they do, our incumbents rarely allow us to ride them (certainly never on the freeway).

Jack

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2014, 09:08:23 AM »
For all the vote pandering they do, our incumbents rarely allow us to ride them (certainly never on the freeway).

"Giddy up, Senator!"

On a related note, I haven't yet been able convince my city councilperson to ride a bike, let alone get ridden!

m8547

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Re: Rode my bike today -- and got hit by a car
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2014, 10:27:04 PM »
For visibility, I like my Alert Shirt vest. http://alertshirt.com/wiraja.html The Class 3 Level 2 vest has orange and yellow, more reflective tape than I've seen on other vests, and short sleeves for some added coverage.  If you buy one, note that the sizing runs large (I believe the measurements for each size are chest size).

For lights, it's helpful to have a light that's physically large. If your light is a tiny laser sized point of light, it doesn't matter how bright it is, it will still be hard for drivers to see you and judge your position and size. Notice how vehicle headlights and tail lights are generally a few inches by a few inches. The Serfas Thunderbolt looks like a good option. I haven't bought one because it's expensive, and I think I can make something better myself.

When visibility is poor, at least one of your lights (one front and one rear) should be steady to help drivers judge your position and speed. If visibility is good (clear day), at least one light (one front and one rear) should flash to attract attention. It maybe helpful to have lights on your helmet as well as your bike. I have a large collection of lights, though I don't ride on the roads much any more, so I just use a solid front light and a flashing and/or solid rear light.

Lights I keep on the bike:
Reelights - small flashing front and rear. These add just enough flashing to use during the day or with one of the other lights in steady mode.
Planet Bike Superflash - I use this in flashing mode
Superflash Turbo - I use this in steady mode at night, or flashing if I need high visibility in the day

Additional rear lights I use sometimes:
Red NiteIze SpokeLit - need to put this one back on for the dark winter months
Planet Bike 5 LED flashing - mounted on the rack

Headlights I use as needed:
NiteRider MiNewt 600 - my main headlight to illuminate dark bike paths. I've been riding home in the dark every day, and there are no lights at all for most of my ride.
Light and Motion Vega 120 - Backup headlight I keep in my backpack

I previously had some electroluminescent wire wrapped around my frame, but I rarely used it because the salvaged aircraft lighting inverter I was using didn't quite drive it bright enough.

The most expensive lights were the Reelights, but to me they are worth it for the simplicity, reliability, and lack of batteries. The rest were under $25, including the MiNewt 600 which I got at an REI garage sale for $20. I wouldn't suggest getting all these lights, but I think it's fun to try new ones. I haven't been pulled over yet for impersonating an emergency vehicle, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens!

The two Superflash lights are mounted on the seat stays and secured with zip ties to make them a tiny bit theft resistant.

You can get reflective tape for your bike. DOT conspicuity tape works reasonably well, though it won't stick well on curves like bike tubes. For me a single 18" strip of conspicuity tape was enough to cover the seat stays, the fork, and add a ring around the seatpost. It's peeling a lot, but it still adds a lot of reflective area. I think they also sell 3M reflective tape you can add to your clothing and gear.