Friday, January 20, 2012

Right Hook at Diamond and Sandia

This from Jonathan Niehof. Boldface added by yours truly.
Hi guys--

Not sure if this is appropriate for Tuffriders or not, but wanted to
let people know.
I was coming through the Diamond/Sandia intersection this morning
about 8:30 and it looked like the aftermath of a right hook: cyclist
sitting on the sidewalk, police interviewing a motorist on Sandia.
About 5 LAPD vehicles and I think the LAFD was arriving as I went
through. Cyclist was sitting up and conscious, so hopefully they'll be
okay.

As always, everybody's got to keep their eyes open out there, and it
might be worth pondering some paint changes. The motorist next to me
slowed and gave plenty of space for me to merge over around the police
cars--there are some polite and aware folks on our roads.

A commenter who sounds authoritative (see comments) confirms it was a right hook and says the cyclist was not hurt seriously. Its worth reviewing this scenerio with the video below because it is a common crash on roads with bike lanes and I warned County about this. Also, this is why I strenuously object to bike lanes on Trinity. Way too many locations for a right hook.

I don't know the details of why or why not a citation was not issued. The commenter makes it sound like the cyclist overtook on the right (second example in video below) rather than the motorist overtaking and then turning (first example). I don't know. The design itself is problematic, because it requires drivers to have eyes in the back of their heads and for cyclists to ride with the expectation of being cut off. Taking the lane (third example) is preferable but that often leads to discomfort on the part of the cyclist and quizzical looks from motorists. Sharrows, such as installed on Northbound Diamond at Central, would guide people into a better geometry.

Watch this good vid if you have not already. Its on the MassBike link, made for a police training progam, and is on our list of links.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

We saw that a little later while walking in. Jonathan's take on it is the same as ours was: right hook. We didn't see a cyclist, but it looked like every police car in the county was there. I figured it was a hospital trip, best wishes to the injured. The bike's wheels looked to be in good shape, which is encouraging but not a perfect predictor.

My (limited) education in roadway design makes me think the repainting of Diamond/Canyon is about the most you could do to prevent right hooks, and that striping right up to the intersection makes for an increase in them. But I'm not a traffic engineer.

Anonymous said...

We saw that a little later while walking in. Jonathan's take on it is the same as ours was: right hook. We didn't see a cyclist, but it looked like every police car in the county was there. I figured it was a hospital trip, best wishes to the injured. The bike's wheels looked to be in good shape, which is encouraging but not a perfect predictor.

My (limited) education in roadway design makes me think the repainting of Diamond/Canyon is about the most you could do to prevent right hooks, and that striping right up to the intersection makes for an increase in them. But I'm not a traffic engineer.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why blogger is tagging me as anonymous. That last one was me, Neale.

Neale said...

Not sure why Blogger tagged me as anonymous. Neale

Khal said...

I figured it was you, Neale.

Meena said she saw you wave to us as we drove by and I wondered if you were walking that far.

I wondered if you were deliberately being anonymous.

No word on the fate of the cyclist. I guess he wasn't hurt so bad as to be unconscious or flat on the road.

Steve A said...

Golly, I hope my "Hard Right" post didn't create bad psychic energy. We'll have to see if you witness any left turn drive outs over the next week.

Anonymous said...

I am acquainted with the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash and drove by shortly after it happened. I stopped and learned that the bicyclist was slightly injured (scrapes under her pants on her shin, but no real tears in the pant leg). The bike needs a new rim, but otherwise all else was fine. I offered her a ride, but she said she'd walk home with her bike and drive to work.

The incident was indeed a right hook, with the biker coming up behind. The driver turned but was not filling the bike lane prior to the turn, as would be what would happen in a sharrow situation. The biker drove forward into the vehicle. No citations were issued.

It appeared that the biker was more aggravated by the intersection geometry than by the vehicle driver. She said she would certainly be moving over into the traffic lane as she went through the intersection in the future.

My thoughts are that a sharrow setup like what the northbound Diamond/Canyon intersection got turned into would be a good thing at Diamond/Sandia too.