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Nearly swiped by van... my fault or his? rantandfeelsgood(13 posts)

Nearly swiped by van... my fault or his? rantandfeelsgooddave woof
Nov 5, 2001 9:56 PM
Yesterday during a nice zone ride - 17-20mph, riding just to the inside (right) of the white line for the bike lane.. maybe 3-4 inches where there's no debris but also legal... or is it? A van came by at 30-40 almost brushing my left shoulder.. I caught the van at the next light and told the guy he almost hit me and needs to give cyclists more room. He said I should have been further over in the bike lane and it wouldn't have happened. He mentioned he had ridden 2 1/2 years (oh boy) and always rode over on the edge of the gutter.

My thought is that I am legally in the bike lane, and he should have moved left a few feet.
Forgot to get his license #. Prob should have but I was steamed.

Not sure, but in AZ I think it's either 3 feet or 5 feet clearance for passing a cyclist. Any thoughts on this?

Btw why the *(&% do drivers speed up to pass and then turn right, right in front of cyclists??? I wish the US had driving schools as tough as Euro countries, i.e. Germany. I think this crap would not happen.


bike lane? FunnyC-mond
Nov 6, 2001 3:31 AM
the van is at fault. Of course I am biased.

Bike lane is meaningless though- I was hit saturday morning @8am in a bike lane wearing a red and white jersey on a yellow bike. Stupid focker.
re: Nearly swiped by van... my fault or his? rantandfeelsgoodI Love Shimano
Nov 6, 2001 4:09 AM
Neither of you would be at fault if both of you were technically in your lanes right?
re: Nearly swiped by van... my fault or his? rantandfeelsgoodMike P.
Nov 6, 2001 4:26 AM
I had an 18 wheeler brush my shoulder a couple weeks ago.

One thing I think is, and this kind of makes me confused, if you were a big boulder laying in the side of the road, all cars, trucks, busses, SUV's, and whatever would slow down or swerve well away from the lifeless mass of rock to avoid hitting it. But stick a bike out there and it is a target. "hey, that biker is in my lane, in my way, he/she smaller than I am in my car and can't damage my car so I will teach that little fool a lesson, by trying to kill 'em, hahahaha!".


bike lanesfiltersweep
Nov 6, 2001 6:20 AM
There is a bicycle lane on the LEFT side of a one-way that I occasionally take. Unfortunately, directly in the middle of the asphalt lane there is a huge crack that runs for a mile where the expansion joint of the concrete panels beneath the asphalt are, so I need to hug the white line or risk trapping the wheels in the groove. The alternative is to ride on the left of the crack which is like a tightrope- and there is no shoulder further to the left. Of course a car cannot see what I contend with on the road.

I receive LESS room there than on a normal road- I'm convinced drivers pay less attention to cyclists when there is a bike lane.
I think it was a criminal act.nee Spoke Wrench
Nov 6, 2001 6:37 AM
I think that the van intentionally passed closer to you than necessary because - he doesn't think we belong on the road. He was trying to scare you into giving up your legal right to ride your bicycle. That's assault. Of course, there's no way to prove that.

The good news is that the jerks who do that don't really want to hit you so as long as you ride in a straight line the degree of risk is acceptable.

My belief is that doing anything at all just rewards them. I don't yell anymore, flip them off, punch their fender, chase, anything. I do my best to make them feel like they are beneath my notice.

I think that the people who speed up to pass and then turn right in front of you have simply misjudged your speed. They think that bicycles only travel at about 5 or 10 mph.

Unfortunately the accident statistics would seem to indicate that the idiots are more of a danger to us than the criminals. There are lots more bicycle/motor vehicle accidents at intersections than bicyclists struck from behind.
Both of youbrider
Nov 6, 2001 8:03 AM
Okay, hear me out on this... You say you were 3-4 inches into the bike lane. That's the tires. right? How wide are you? 8 inches? I thought not. Think on this, if you were in a car with a "wide load" coming at you, and the tires were in the oncoming lane but the load extended 4 feet into your lane, would you say that it was totally in the oncoming lane? Of course not! That doesn't excuse the van driver, but it also doesn't absolve you.
No harm, no foulRich Clark
Nov 6, 2001 8:56 AM
Seriously, the more you ride in traffic the more this shit just never sticks to you. "Almost hit" is worlds away from "actually hit." I ride 130 miles a week in traffic and if I got upset about every brush-by I'd be paralyzed.

The only obligation anybody really has is to not hit the other vehicles.

Personally, if the bike lane/shoulder/restricted lane is too full of debris for me to ride fully within it, I don't ride in it at all. Every bike-lane or bikes-keep-right law I've ever seen includes language that excludes situations where it's not safe to ride there. I move over and force the cars to deal with me as traffic... while always remaining situationally aware so I can bail out to the right if I have to.

Nothing to do with driving tests.Sparky
Nov 6, 2001 9:05 AM
English test = pathetic. Drivers hate bikes/don't give a £(&$ = I get hit a lot.

Italian test = pathetic too. Drivers respect bikers, give them room, and often wave at you - you feel safe there.

French test = pathetic also. Generally they are Italianish (except for Paris, but then the rest of the French hate the Parisians)and you feel safe too.

Germans = don't know, but prob decent test and prob subject to extreme martial law if you drove in cycle lane.

It's about attitude mainly, not driving tests - the driving test can't affect that for long, if at all.
re: Nearly swiped by van... my fault or his? rantandfeelsgoodDINOSAUR
Nov 6, 2001 9:14 AM
I can only qoute Ca law.

22107 (A)VC (in summary)
If there is a designated bike lane the cyclist is obligated to ride within the lane unless he/she is proceeding faster than the flow of traffic or preparing for a left hand turn. It also states in subsection A-3 that a cyclist may leave the bike lane if it is necessary to avoid debris in the lane. If further states that no cyclist shall leave a bike lane unless they make an appropiate signal using reasonable safety.

There are other subdivisions in this section of the vehicle code but these are the only ones I could find that would pertain to your situation.

So I guess if you find it necessary to leave the bike lane because of debris and use reasonable safety and an appropriate signal, you are legal.

The problem actually lies with the department public works as they clean bike lanes with sweepers about three times a year (if that). All the debris from the roadway gets blown over to the bike lanes. I have the same problem where I live. No bike lanes on my routes, but the marked shoulders (if there happens to be one) are covered with debris. I try to ride near the left edge of the lane and move over when I hear a vehicle coming up behind me (if I can hear).

Reading your situation if you were riding within the bike lane you were legal. The vehicle code doens't specify that part of your body can be outside of the lane. It's a gray area, it depends on who investigates the report and how he/she interrupts the vehicle code. If you were injured then you would have to consult an attorney and they would refer to case law.

Maybe you can contact the city/county public works department where you live and request that they clean the bike lane. Better yet write a letter or if you make a call obtain a name of the person you talk to.

The question is you might be legally right in what you are doing. But is it worth being dead right?

You also might call the law enforcement agency who is responsible for traffic enforcement where you reside and get a run down on how they inturrupt the bike lane law. I've got a hunch that the situation will not be in your favor.
Bike lane my @$$!!Rusty McNasty
Nov 6, 2001 10:26 AM
It is legal to ride IN THE ROAD, and when doing so, it is the responsibility of other drivers to NOT HIT YOU!
His fault, 100%. He's an @$$h0le, too!
Rusty = most accurate.Rod
Nov 6, 2001 5:12 PM

Bike lane or not really doesn't matter. It is the responsibility of any vehicle (the van) overtaking another vehicle (your bike) to pass safely, meaning with a reasonable margin of clearance. If the van "brushed" your shoulder, that's not safe. If the van "almost brushed" your shoulder, that's probably not a reasonable margin of clearance. If you had been driving a 10 wheeler gravel truck, would the driver of the van have given you greater clearance? That's the applicable test. He should give your vehicle (a bike) the same clearance he'd give the truck. That would be reasonable.

The more I ride, the more I agree with John Forrester's book about Effective Cycling. Bike lanes and "bike" (multi-use) paths are more dangerous than regular roads for cycling. Riding in a predictable manner on regular roads seems to work best for me, with the notable exception of 4 lane arterials that have high speed limits and no shoulders.

Nonetheless, ranting does feel better in the short term.


Rusty = most accurate.DINOSAUR
Nov 6, 2001 7:11 PM
Hmmmmmmm not too sure about that. The bike lane is there for a reason. If he got clipped the first thing the investigating officer would want to find out is if he was riding in the designated bike lane. If he got clipped riding as far to the right as possible in a TRAFFIC LANE the situation would be different. However bicycles are mandated to occuppy bike lanes if one is available. In any event it does no good to take a chance and get run over just to make a point. In the very least he would be considered another associated factor in the traffic collision report and both parties would split costs on damages. It would take an attorney to sort things out.
I'd say ride in the bike lane, and if there is too much debris, find another route. I've come close to getting clipped also, it's very unnerving. Then again if you want to ride the roads that's what your up against.