Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's Not Unusual--yet another close encounter south of Orange/Sandia

Sent to the relevant authorities:

This morning while bicycling southbound on Diamond Drive at 0810, I approached the Diamond/Sandia intersection. When I was about a couple car lengths from the intersection, a Government pickup truck made a right on red directly in front of me (failure to yield). At the time, I was probably going roughly 20-25 mph. In that situation, if I had simply continued in a straight line and speed, I probably would have hit the pickup truck.

There was no traffic immediately behind me so the easiest thing to do was to quickly change lanes into the inboard southbound lane and overtook the slowly moving GOV.

I hypothesize that the vehicle operator looked for motor vehicle traffic in the travel lanes and did not observe me in the bike lane. Or, he badly misjudged my speed.

Please contact the operator and ensure he (and other government vehicle operators) look for bicyclists as well as motor vehicle operators.

Please also note that this stretch of Diamond Drive's bike lane has been the location of two recent crashes involving bicyclists and motorists, and at least a few near misses of which I am aware. Both motorists and bicyclists have to be on the ball where there are side streets and curb cuts adjacent to bike lanes, or we will have crashes. If you don't know how to dance, you will step on each other's toes. As I said in the 12/23/09 LA Bikes post, which was published in earlier form in the Los Alamos Monitor, "...when Phase IV bike lanes open up on Diamond, they will be in an area with the most intersections, side streets, and parking lot entrances. Turning, crossing, and lane-change complications will be at their highest and those paint stripes do not have magical safety qualities. We will all have to ride and drive carefully in this area..."


Of course, I had to have a little fun with this.
With apologies to Tom Jones.

It's not unusual to be doored by anyone,
It's not unusual to be floored by anyone,
but when I see you driving about, with nose to Droid,
It's not unusual to see me cry,
oh I don’t wanna' die

It's not unusual to see you "space out" at any time
but when I see you weave into the bike lane it's such a crime
We should never want to be hit by anyone, but
It's not unusual, it happens every day, no matter what you say
you find it happens all the time
motorists will never do what you want them to
why can't this crazy road be mine

It's not unusual, to be mad at anyone
It's not unusual, to crab at anyone
but if I ever find that you're close behind my bike
it's not unusual to find that I'm  losing my mind

All light heartedness aside, be not only careful out there, but always assume the other guy will screw up. That way you won't be surprised and you will, through your situational awareness and what-if drills, be ready with an escape route.


Steve A said...

I had a close call as well. Mine was from stray lightning after the main storm had passed.

Anonymous said...

We need a "curb hopping" clinic to teach us how to get out of the bike lane onto the sidewalk in the situation where the distracted driver drifts into the bike lane behind or beside us. Maybe we could get Jeremy Powers to come be the instructor?

Khal said...

My Oahu Cycling Team coach and team captain, Tony Gill, used to teach curb hopping and skillful crashing, because those were useful skills for bike racing, i.e. avoiding being mangled in the mass pileup in front of you, esp. during the usual Cat IV Bike Follies.

Maybe we can bring Tony over, or I could see if I can remember the techniques and teach them during my lunchtime LANL course.

Little Jimmy said...

The Tom Jones rewrite was brilliant! Thanks.

--Little Jimmy