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new bike-car question

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new bike-car question

Postby snoqueen » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:16 pm

OK, this one has got me answerless for a change. What do you think?

I had to take my car downtown today and was crossing the bike path in the awful-intersection Livingston-Blount-etc area.

I am going north. Guy on bike is approaching intersection on path going east.

I slow way down to be sure he's not the suicidal-biker type. He stops. Fine.

Then he starts to yell that I am required to go because I have the right of way. He is not pleasant about this. I say no I don't. I'm not exactly the world's most unassertive person either.

But I decide to go on the basis of my own personal rule which is when I am biking I don't pull in front of cars. The reciprocal of that rule, obviously, is when I'm the car I don't sit there trying to make bikes go.

However this little exchange highlights another very real conflict regarding this stupid stretch of intersections. Are we on the counterclockwise rule (which is what the bike rider thought) which says the person who is more counterclockwise (me, if you draw the diagram) is supposed to go? Or are we on the Arthur Ross rule, which is the bike is supposed to be treated like a pedestrian and gets to go wherever there is a striped lane painted on the street?

Remember if he'd have been following the AR rule and I'd been other than the ridiculously-careful person I am, he'd be dead.

First off, relatively few people know the counterclockwise rule, much as some of the bikers would like to claim it's as clear as the Bill of Rights (ha). Plenty of bikes and cars do not know it, which is a major recipe for disaster because it is totally non-intuitive and requires very fast reflex decisions about right and left (or clockwiseness/counterclockwiseness) which as we've discussed here not all people possess. So does this rule dominate, or does the Arthur Ross rule dominate? We've already talked about how the Arthur Ross thing is countermanded by stop signs on the bike path at numerous intersections.

This is a recipe for a bad wreck, if we haven't had a few already, because humility on the part of bikers ("I better slow down and watch it or I could be a spot on the pavement in 30 seconds") is totally uncool and some bikers are still young enough to think they're bulletproof and nobody else ever makes a mistake. Already noted in other topics is the notoriously poor level of attention many car drivers are paying to what they are doing and what is around them.

I'm sticking with the on-my-bike-I-do-not-go-in-front-of-cars rule for biking, and the slow-to-a-crawl-regardless rule for driving. What do other people think? Who is in a position to fix this mess on a citywide level?

I vote for a four-way stop at these crossings. If this slows the biker down too much he can always use Main, as many do anyway.

The goal is not to be right, if you think about it, but to get there safely and do no harm.

Don't we have some bike-conscious alder who will take this up? I miss Robbie W.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby Remember_Me » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:40 pm

During stalemates and those who-got-here-first moments that most people seem to go by, I just wave them to go and wait until they do. Bikes, cars, people, critters, rickshaws, weinermobiles, whatever.

Always.

And at roundabouts I just assume the other people are all blind.

Always.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:44 pm

Sounds like you ran into someone with a bad attitude but the right idea. Same reason you stop on your bike, that car will hurt you a lot more than you hurt it.

snoqueen wrote:I vote for a four-way stop at these crossings. If this slows the biker down too much he can always use Main, as many do anyway.


This would be ideal, but I've seen far too many bikers who think a stopped car means they can keep rolling.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby Mad Howler » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:11 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:This would be ideal, but I've seen far too many bikers who think a stopped car means they can keep rolling.


Yep, I had a dude trucking up behind me in the bike lane to my right as I was signaling a right turn a couple of days ago. If I hadn't been keeping an eye on him and stopped I would have smoked him as he shot passed me through a yellow turning red.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:00 am

snoqueen wrote:Then he starts to yell that I am required to go because I have the right of way. He is not pleasant about this.

The problem is people yelling and being unpleasant. The cyclist in this instance, but hardly every instance. Laws and guidelines we can sort through, or not, but no one needs to be a jerk about it.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:48 am

snoqueen wrote:Or are we on the Arthur Ross rule, which is the bike is supposed to be treated like a pedestrian and gets to go wherever there is a striped lane painted on the street?


I have never heard of this so I tried a Google search and came up with nothing about his "rule"

Whatever the case, I don't think bikes should be treated like pedsestrians at striped lanes. They are considered in the same class as a motor vehicle according to the state DOT and so I think at a four way, yielding to the right is the correct way to go about this.

That said, I never trust when cars stop for me in these circumstances. As was stated in other threads, I usually wave them on, look away, or try some other method to get them to go first. I've had too many instances where one car stops and others pass or other lanes keep going not knowing why this car has stopped. It's also a reason I avoid the bike path. I hate bike path intersections. I ride E. Wash quite a bit given where I live, and I feel safer being a part of that traffic obeying the signals and what not, then I do on the bike path.

snoqueen wrote:Who is in a position to fix this mess on a citywide level?


You can't fix stupid.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby dave esmond » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:20 am

If you have a stop sign. Stop.

If you don't. Don't.

Slowing is fine to make sure a cyclist is not gonna run the stop sign. But then you were the problem by not going.

I also never cross in front of cars on my bike assuming they'll stop. I do get really angry however when people stop when I have a stop sign and I'm stopped with my feet down.

Would you stop for a car at a stop sign at a cross street? Then don't do it for a bike. We're all safer when we've got a good idea what the other person is going to do.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:45 am

Dave that's great in theory but in reality not all cyclists (or motor vehicle operators for that matter) are as attentive or responsible about following the rules of the road as you are.

While I guess it's nice knowing the new hood ornament with two wheels isn't your fault, most of us would prefer not to hit anyone at all. Given a choice between pissing off a responsible bike rider or running over an irresponsible one, most of us would probably chose pissing someone off. At least in practice. Theoretically many of us might fantasize about doing the reverse.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby jonnygothispen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:03 am

Some bicyclists are unbelievable. Just to list a few, this one from 3 weeks ago...

After looking both ways and driving slowly, I make a slow rolling "stop" into a right turn. No one is in the lane I'm turning into, nor anywhere near me. Yet a cyclist in the other lane yells at me, so feeling my oats, I take a U-turn and of course, he passes a truck illegally and runs the next stop sign. So I pull up, and respectfully say, "Sir, I noticed that you just ran through that stop sign." He loses it, starts swearing at me continually, "DUMBASS!!!" and stuff like that, throws his bike down, and approaches the car. The guy is buff, straight out of the gym type. All I could think was, "you have to be kidding!" He was completely out of it. So I threw it in Park, not to get into a fight with him, but because I couldn't believe it. After he came closer, he either realized I wasn't wimpy looking-I do work fairly hard, or realized he was acting psycho, and turned around. But he kept swearing. It was surreal to be there...
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby jonnygothispen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:14 am

... another time, I'm stopped at the stop light on Baldwin waiting for the light to turn green so I could turn right, which you have to do: wait for the green light to turn right there. A cyclist pulls up, SLAMS his fist on the hood, "NO TURN ON RED!" as he rolled right through the red light and kept yelling after he pulled onto the sidewalk across the intersection, which should be illegal. I was at a complete stop, not moving at all.

Then as I tried to turn left onto Cottage Grove Road heading North on Dempsey, I pulled up to the center of the intersection and waited for a cyclist wishing to go straight. But because he was fumbling to get on his bike, I turned since it didn't impede him in any way at all. Yet he screamed "I HAVE THE RIGHT-A-WAY!" I stopped and yelled back, "I wasn't in your way!" Again, this guy was buffed out, like a Defensive end for a football team. He throws his bike onto the grass, and walks in front of cars yelling, and even picked up a rock and threw it at my car.

You'd think I actually did something wrong, and if I did, I'd say it now or I wouldn't have even said anything to the guy at all. But that's exactly what happened. It's wasn't a matter of perception. It was a matter of sheer arrogance, like a supremacy thing, as if cyclists get together and decide they're going to attack "evil" polluters or something. Maybe it's just revenge for something someone else in a car did to them.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby minicat » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:21 am

Were the yellers all spandex warriors?
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby jonnygothispen » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:24 am

The 2 buff guys were :)
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby dave esmond » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:31 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:While I guess it's nice knowing the new hood ornament with two wheels isn't your fault, most of us would prefer not to hit anyone at all


If I'm standing there with my feet down you're not gonna hit me. Get moving. Most times it takes more time for you to stop. Me to make sure you're really stopping. Then for me to make sure everyone else is stopping. Then getting my bike going.

By the time I've done all that you could already be many blocks down the road.

Again I understand slowing to make sure I'm not gonna run the sign. Because trust me I know a lot of riders don't stop. But if I'm at a full stop you're not helping by stopping also.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby jjoyce » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:47 am

snoqueen wrote:Then he starts to yell that I am required to go because I have the right of way. He is not pleasant about this.


This is the problem. It doesn't really matter about the rules of the road, who yields to whom at an uncontrolled intersection, etc. You were being accommodating and this guy got all shouty about it. How lame. Also, how Madison.

We all want to know the most here and instead of simply participating in courteous human interactions, we feel the need to be correct. The guy should have just waved and proceeded.

Why anyone ever chooses to be unpleasant over something as inconsequential and common sensical makes no sense to me.
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Re: new bike-car question

Postby dave esmond » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:00 am

jjoyce wrote:You were being accommodating and this guy got all shouty about it. How lame. Also, how Madison.


Um...he stopped first. Sno slowed down. By her and my own rules you never pull in front of a moving car, no matter how slow it's going.

He was already being the accommodating one. She was just being unpredictable and overly cautious.

Now just like Sno he wanted the other person to move. If that's lame they're both being the exact same kind of lame.

Once one of you comes to a stop the other one needs to go. It's really not that hard. If you're both stopped at an unmarked intersection you're like the people who can't use roundabouts.
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