How do you know you’ve completed the conversion from being a roadie to a commuter? When you see someone about to do something stupid you reach for your bell.

Well I was trying to find my bell when I realized this motorist was going to turn in front of me at Ina and Oracle.

Instead of a bell I yelled.

The annoying part is that she had no idea what she did because she was on her cell and couldn’t be bothered to even notice I was there.

10 thoughts on “Watch out for left-turning cars”
  1. I’ve been known to holler at the cell-phoniums too. My favorite line: “PAY ATTENTION!”

    One fine morning, a gentleman rolled down the window of his air conditioned SUV and replied with a hearty “F U!” (Fill in the missing letters. He also gave me the finger.

    I’m sure that the person on the other end of his oh-so-important call was impressed.

  2. That same thing happened to me 2 weeks ago @ Mountain & Prince. I also saw a person going West @ Limberlost & Mountain on his cell phone and he never even saw the stop sign. I yelled at him but he was so engrossed in the call that he never heard me. I have seen way too many distracted drivers in the last month. I hope it gets better soon!

  3. i was making a right on to valencia  off of houghton on a green light with a bike lane and a car made a fast fast left ( i had the right of way) swung wide into the bike lane and forced me off the road (i would have been hit if i didnt ride into the dirt).  im gettin a gun.

  4. did you know when blackberry went out of service for 4 days, car accidents dropped 20 percent world wide.  imagine if all cell carriers went off line for 4 days and people actually drove their cars.

  5. That Blackberry statistic only applied to the UAE.  It would be nice if a group would cull accident data for the period of Blackberry’s outage to see how the accident changed in the US, UK, or where ever else.  Such an analysis might show a strong correlation, but you have to keep in mind that correlation is not the same as causation.  A definitive study would likely have to look at many more days than just the very short period of Blackberry’s outage.

  6. One of the techniques that we teach in the League safety classes is that when approaching major intersections, besides being as far out from the edge of curb as practicable as Mike was, is to sit up more on the bike and to wave your left arm high over head to try to get the driver’s attention. It has to be done fairly quickly and about 100 feet before the intersection in order to get the hands on the bars in time if necessary to brake or execute a “quick turn” avoidance maneuver to the right (ie, turn with the vehicle).

    This is especially critical for those massive intersections with dual left turns where drivers are permitted to make their turn on the green ball and are not restricted by a red left turn arrow. These kinds of intersections are extremely hazardous for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and in fact don’t comply with guidance by the federal government. The whole purpose for allowing drivers to do this is to push more vehicles through intersections, but at great cost to other roadway users and with resulting crashes and delays caused by them, likely overall they aren’t giving us much of a gain for traffic movement anyway.

    At large intersections such as ones with dual left turns, it can be necessary to move further left in the roadway, sit up and wave both arms overhead (I call this the “incomplete pass”) and then get back to the bars. This has worked extremely well for those people who’ve learned how to practice it.

    There are measures that can easily be taken to improve the safety of these dual left intersections but only if the public demands it. At Ina and Oracle in fact the NB and SB movements are dual lefts and are restricted by red arrows. However, in the EB and WB directions the single lefts are allowed to turn on the green ball. That will all be changing when the intersection is rebuilt to include indirect left turns in the EB and WB directions, which has both advantages and disadvantages (EB and WB cyclists who want to turn left will mostly need to make a box left turn, unless they choose to go 1/8 mile past the intersection to make the indirect left U-turn maneuver).

    Of course banning cell phone use and texting by drivers, and effective support for enforcement of such a law, would go a long way to improving safety for us all.

  7. As a follow-up, even if you choose to only restrict yourself to riding on local streets or pathways, this is a technique you may have to do when approaching intersections where drivers are stopped or are approaching the intersection. With all the distractions and tendency for drivers and cyclists to run stop signs, no local street or pathway crossings at intersections are safe.

  8. So, as we continue to ‘max out’ at these intersections, the approach is to modify them in a way to handle more….cars.  At great cost to other roadway users, like Matt said.
    My head gets spinning when I hear of the multi-modal transportation projections over here, but then solutions over there are basically uni-modal. It’s the same way with land-use development…their mouths are all full of bikes and peds and end up building 9000 parking spots. Are there no balls anywhere to put the bell on this cat? Waving our arms and hoping for the best isn’t the most cerebral approach. 

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