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Colnago vs. SUV(16 posts)

Colnago vs. SUVil sogno
Jan 23, 2004 4:58 PM
I was cruising this afternoon down the boulevard on my way to one of my favorite LA area loops when I nearly got crushed between an SUV (Toyota Landcruiser, I think) and a parked car.

Traffic was backed up at a light and I was carefully going down the right side of the lane with the flow of traffic when the SUV decided to make an unsignaled turn into a tiny parking spot. This is one of those spots where you would normally pull up beside it then back into it but he was entering it head first. I was already approaching the bumper of the SUV when he made his abrupt move. I could see that my only chance of surviving this intact was to try and get past the parked car on my right. I was right up against his right side rear window and I kept yelling at him to stop. I had only a matter of inches on either side of me as I maneuvered the bike in a delicate balancing act - you know, slightly off the saddle balancing on one leg. I squeezed myself through the ever narrowing eye of the needle between the two cars. I couldn't stop - he would have crushed me or my bike against the parked car because of the tight angle he was turning in and my balance was such that if anything brushed me I might wind up under his right rear tire.

Several cars behind us honked their horns in an effort to get the driver's attention to no avail. I was relieved when I managed to get past the parked car as this meant I wouldn't be crushed up against it, but the driver kept moving into the space despite my shouts and the honking of the drivers behind him. There were two ladies walking on the sidewalk on their way to their yoga class. They saw what was happening and waved their arms, yelling at the driver to stop. I got my shoe out of my cleat, maneuvering my bike toward the curb thinking "how the hell am I going to jump my tubular tired wheels up onto the sidewalk" when the driver finally saw the two ladies on the sidewalk and stopped. All this took place at less than 10 mph and lasted less than 10 seconds.

The ladies asked me if I was okay and I replied "Yes." I thanked them for their help in getting the driver to stop. I looked at the driver. He had as dumbfounded an expression on his face if I ever saw one. I know that SUV's are here to stay but I hope that their drivers realize that they have a responsibility to the littler folks on the road. Not just us cyclists but entire families stuffed into beat up Nissan Sentras. Thanks for letting me rant.

Only problem is (and I'm gonna get flamed for this)pitt83
Jan 23, 2004 5:40 PM
If I get your story correct, you were in the wrong. Remeber, you're a vehicle. You must act accordingly. That means: Waiting in line for red lights just like the cars do. That is the speed of traffic and you can keep up with that speed. When you can't keep up with the speed of traffic, you yield the majority of the lane to those (cars) which can. Therefore, when traffic is slow or stopped, you belong in the traffic lane waiting, not passing on the right. This obviously precludes a bike lane changing the entire paradigm.

Sorry, it must have been a scary experience. Glad you're physically unscathed.

The one I hate is when the car in front makes a left turn. You legally pass on the right when that left turner signals oncoming traffic to make a left in front of both of you (They still don't know that you're there). You obviously can't see this nor can the oncoming car. Almost met death this way a few times.
Jan 23, 2004 6:02 PM
Where I live there are many designated bike lanes that run along the right side of the pavement, and bikes are free to use it to pass cars. Cars are obligated to signla before entering the bike lane to turn right. At some point in history automobile drivers decided that the use of blinkers was completely optional, and cars regularly turn into the bike lanes without (a) signaling, or (b) looking in their mirrors.

I don't think that SUVs should get the blame here though. I've been nearly hit by as many cars as I have SUVs. It's equally bad driving among all vehicles types.
I agree....lyleseven
Jan 23, 2004 6:02 PM
I must agree with the previous poster. problem is when you are to the right of the cars in the right hand lane, they have little expectation that something is going to come up to them, or pass them. You are in their blind spot, unless they passed you on the way to the parking spot. It is not unusual when a cyclist crawls along the right of the cars in the right lane that are stopped that one of those cars may turn right at the intersection with or without a signal indicator. Motorists just are not anticipating anything in this area of travel... Lucky you were not hurt but it is hard to lay the blame on the driver.
Spot on with this pointdctrofspin
Jan 24, 2004 5:38 AM
Just had this conversation last night with someone who was complaining about cyclists in the city (DC in this case). On the one hand, many on this board slam SUV drivers for being arrogant and clueless, yet, I rarely IF EVER see cyclists in the city abide by the traffic laws. Blowing through stop signs, riding between cars at stop lights, using sidewalks when necessary...You can't have it both ways. I
re: Colnago vs. SUVArnold Zefal
Jan 23, 2004 7:54 PM
tubulars are actully better for jumping curbs with, if you catch the rear it won't pinch flat.
Let me sogno
Jan 23, 2004 8:58 PM
I should have gone into a little more detail on the situation. Traffic was moving slowly toward the light, probably about 12-13 mph on my computer. I was traveling with the flow of traffic on the right hand side of the road, not passing anyone, in accordance with what I believe to be the California Highway Code.

Anyway no harm no foul. Plus I did the rest of the ride in record time.

Jan 24, 2004 5:44 AM
I've seen the other where cyclists will pass stopped cars on their right. Not good. You're asking for a million problems with this (opening doors from parked cars, right turners who decide at that last minute to go around, roadkill you can't swerve around because of no room, etc.)

At 12-13mph, that's tough. You're not quite able to easily hold that speed and a gap would open on a car in front of you. Hence, you were correct in moving to the right. Slower than that, I always take the center of the lane. If you're holding up traffic and not the guy in front of you; yield. Otherwise, hold your lane. It can lead to a driver who's a jackass thinking you're the problem (tailgaters), but you've got to hold your ground here. I've had my share of comments about this from the mid-life crisis convertables. Police should back you up.
Why is it pertinent that it was an SUV?Len J
Jan 24, 2004 7:12 AM
It is obvious from your description that you were in the drivers "Blind Spot". This would have been true wether it was an SUV or a small car. One of the first things I learned while driving, is never drive in another cars blind spot, either speed up & Pass or fall back. You were obviously in his blind spot Yet you blame him for not seeing you.

I think this was your fault, from your sescription.

Because some think SUV should be a 4letter worddctrofspin
Jan 24, 2004 7:35 AM
wondering that myselfkenyee
Jan 24, 2004 8:53 AM
although some situations (snowy days, driving minivans or sports cars or other automobiles w/ worse visibility, etc.) do tend to amplify the incompetence of drivers, it does sounds like a blind spot (though you do have to wonder why the driver didn't slow down w/ all that honking).
Blind spot?K-O-Hill
Jan 24, 2004 9:07 AM
Did you know there is no such thing as a blind spot in a car? It's a question of the driver not moving his head around to look in all directions around his car. Ask a driving instructor.

Why is it pertinent that it was an SUV?Squint
Jan 24, 2004 9:15 AM
There was a report recently that talked about the increase in accidents due to SUV's poor visibility. Apparently, a bunch of parents have backed over their own children. The blind spots of cars and SUV's are not equal.

Additionally, I don't know where you were taught to drive but I was taught that my blind spot (area not covered by mirrors) was my liability and to check it (by turning my head and looking) before changing lanes, not to blame someone else for being there after I plowed into him. I don't think telling the cop that it's the other guy's fault for being in my blind spot is going to fly.
I agree, but............Len J
Jan 24, 2004 10:18 AM
both parties have a respoonsibility in this's called defensive driving.

I agree, but............Squint
Jan 24, 2004 10:49 AM
The person switching lanes has a responsibility to check his blind spot. The person in it doesn't have a responsibility to not be there. Just because there is something the victim could've done doesn't make it partly their fault. She could've just not ridden her bike. After all, cycling is dangerous so it's her fault. She could've delayed the start of her ride ten minutes and then would've avoided this guy. The list is endless.
You can be right........Len J
Jan 24, 2004 2:47 PM
and still dead!

My only point is, just like driving a car, if you are stupid enough to drive in someone's blind spot, darwin rules apply.