Sunday, March 28, 2010

Creepy Right Turns

Here's another little traffic pet peeve of mine. You approach an intersection with a street on your right. It could be a major intersection, an entrance to a shopping center, or just a side street. You most certainly have the right of way. You see a cage approaching the intersection on that street to your right and in front of you. There is a stop sign or a red light for the cage. But the cage never completely stops. Maybe just sort of creeps along slowly, anticipating a right turn. They probably see you, but they continue to creep along. Are they going to stop? Are you sure they see you? Better keep an eye on them. You are doing your best little scanning routine. Still have to watch out for other potential bogeys, but this bogey is demanding further attention. But then again, they are probably just waiting for you to pass so they can make a right turn ending up behind you. "Probably" But they never come to a complete stop. Is the human cargo inside putting on makeup? Talking on their cell phone? Are they being as attentive as you are? You are at the "Predict" and "Decide" stages of SIPDE. Cover the brakes, maybe slow down? How fast are you traveling? How fast are they creeping? Check for escape routes? You do what your best judgment and experience dictates what you should do depending on the situation. All of this happens in just a few seconds. Usually it never turns out to be a problem. But what if........... A lot of my riding is urban commuting, some of it in heavy traffic. I see this situation almost every day. It drives me just a bit crazy. Question: Are you as attentive when driving a car as you are when riding on 2 wheels?


  1. Jimbo/3485:

    Here in the metropolitan area we have pedestrian controlled signal lights. These lights are normally flashing green for the through traffic. There is also a cross walk here. When the pedestrian wishes to cross the street, they push a button, and the light flashes yellow then RED. You can't imagine the frustration of having to stop at these controlled RED lights when you are the only vehicle within 1 mile in each direction. I don't understand why the pedestrian has to push the button when they could have just waited for me to go by, then just walk across the street. Later in the day when traffic builds up I can understand using the button, but not at the early hour that I am there

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  2. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo)"

    I have just gone through my classic "what if" period. You got the process right... Cover the brake, etc. But I never hesltate to give them a blast of the horn if the situation gets real iffy. You have no idea how many times hitting the horn resulted in a startled cage driver turning around and really seeing me. And next week, I am going to have a much louder horn.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  3. Man, I hate that too. Though I have to admit that I used to be a "creeper" -- until I started riding and realized just how much of a mixed signal that is.

    When I see a creeper, I usually start weaving in my lane, right to left, then back again. Slowing down and covering the brakes are also good options.

  4. I do 98% urban miles. I am amazed at how often I see folks driving cars putting themselves in dangerous situations--the distracting multi-tasking, passing on the right, coming up to an intersection and braking at the last possible moment, etc. And, to think all the time I drove a car I didn't particularly notice any of this. Oh well, I do hope riding on two wheels makes me a better driver on four.

  5. For the most part drivers get into their cars and turn even more stupid and selfish than usual. I figure they never intended to stop in the first place unless they were forced to. My bike's not big enough to force them. So I take the responsibility for my safety away from them.

  6. My time spent on bicycles and scooters made me a much more aware cage driver. The racing made me a better driver, of anything.

    Yes, I realize I am a very rare exception. I find it interesting that many unaware cage drivers plaster their cages with stickers indicating they ride something on two wheels, with or without an engine...

    Scootin' Old Skool

  7. Riding two wheels has made me a very attentive auto driver. I admit to getting occasionally impatient in the car--never aggressive, just prone to being annoyed.

    I've learned that there is never a reason to rush anything. I am a much calmer two and four wheel rider/driver too. I used to let Chicago traffic irritate me. No more. It's just not that important. But I agree with you, it is frustrating trying to read other people's mind. I just started the season's riding and already I've been cut off by people talking on cell phones. They seem to be everywhere.

    Nice post!