Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Almost Eliminated a Man Last Night

 

Safety Tips - Parking and Transportation Services | CSUFI almost killed a man Saturday evening. I did not mean to, and he wasn’t looking for it. Our paths diverged just in time, for if we had met, he would be dead or maimed, and my life would be altered, marred, forever.

I was on my way to a friend’s house for the evening. Driving east, I made a decision to turn left, north, at an intersection, taking my preferred route. It was dark out, but the intersection was decently lit. As I approached, the turn lane signal changed from green arrow to blank, signaling I could make a left turn, if I cleared oncoming (westbound) traffic.

So, I eased into the intersection with my turn signal on and watched for a longer break in oncoming headlights. Sure enough, the light traffic provided a safe turning opportunity. Mindful of the chance that oncoming cars might accelerate, I was careful to turn into the correct, inside lane. That saved a man’s life, and saved me from a life of bad consequences.

Almost through the intersection, aiming for the inside lane, I caught a thin, dark silhouette out of the right edge of my windshield and passenger-side window. It was the shape of a man on a bicycle, wobbling as he adjusted speed and direction to avoid collision. He had not been in the opposing traffic bike lane.

Apparently, he entered off the sidewalk and was planning to cross on his bike, in the pedestrian cross-walk. That was likely legal in Mesa, AZ where I was driving. He apparently was trying to beat the crosswalk light, as it counted down. He was also all but invisible in the dark.

The street lighting does not help you if you wear dark clothing, with no reflective material or light. This bicycle gave off no reflection. There was no light on the front, nor, as we changed aspect, was there the edge of a red flash from the back. Mesa requires bicycles operated after dark to have lights.

10-1-16: LAMPS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT ON BICYCLES: Every bicycle, when in use at nighttime, shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500′) to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type which shall be visible from all distances from fifty feet (50′) to three hundred feet (300′) to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet (500′) to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector. (227,1665)

Note that the red light is optional, the bicyclist need only have a red reflector on the back. The white light is not optional, and it is not there for the primary purpose of ensuring the bike rider does not run into debris. It is to make the rider visible, hence the 500-foot requirement.

Yet, we regularly encounter bicyclists pedaling in the bike lane, or on sidewalks, without any light or reflector at all. From time to time, I’ve considered stopping and handing out glow-sticks, civilian chemlights. They are four to eight in a pack for a dollar, at the Dollar Tree. I keep a few in the trunk, to mark the left rear corner when parking on a dark street. Cheapest car accident prevention insurance going. I’ve thought of stopping and offering a light, but then considered the risk function when approaching a stranger, and intending to get into hand contact range. Nope.

So, let this be a seasonal safety story for Ricochet. As most of the country “fell back” to Standard Time, the nights are still getting longer. We also are getting more bundled up, often in darker clothing. Please plan ahead.

Carry at least a penlight! Put reflective strips on book bags, backpacks, and such. Choose exercise clothing with reflective material incorporated, or get a cheap reflective belt or vest. If you are bicycling, the more light you emit, front and back, the safer you are.

Be safe! Watch out for the crazies! Let’s all get to Thanksgiving without any new regrets or safety losses.

There are 53 comments.

  1. Al French Coolidge

    Driving home last night, I saw a man wearing dark clothing walking on the rural road with minimal shoulders and no street lighting with his back to traffic. First thing this morning I checked the news for accident reports. He was apparently lucky. Most auto-peds are pedestrian error, but, as you point out, they will adversely affect, if not ruin, the driver’s life.

    • #1
    • November 4, 2018, at 5:23 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Fine post, Clifford! We’ve had a lot of bike lanes added around here, and mostly it’s okay, but a combination of some cyclists who think they’re not really vehicles and drivers (not you, CAB) who aren’t looking can be deadly. 

    • #2
    • November 4, 2018, at 5:46 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  3. MDorphicat Member
    MDorphicat Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I rode a bicycle all over Phoenix for my time in school there.

    The trick that saved my life more than once was: never go in front of a car until you get eye contact *and* recognition.

    A driver might look your direction, and still not see you.

    • #3
    • November 4, 2018, at 6:50 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. PHCheese Member

    I live in an area with 22 miles of bike paths and yet people will ride on the road instead. Hope they are organ donors.

    • #4
    • November 4, 2018, at 6:51 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Clifford A. Brown: Put reflective strips on book bags, back packs, and such. Choose exercise clothing with reflective material incorporated, or get a cheap reflective belt or vest.

    Your photo proves the efficacy of reflective vests.

    Thanks also for the cyalume link! My DH worked for the company that invented cyalume: American Cyanamid. Just the nicest group of people. 

    • #5
    • November 4, 2018, at 8:34 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. The Reticulator Member

    Clifford A. Brown: Carry at least a pen light! Put reflective strips on book bags, back packs, and such. Choose exercise clothing with reflective material incorporated, or get a cheap reflective belt or vest. If you are bicycling, the more light you emit, front and back, the safer you are.

    I sometimes ride my bicycle at night. Bicyclists and runners who don’t illuminate themselves and wear protective reflective clothing cause me angst when I’m driving.

    I’ve been complimented on how well I’m lit up when riding. The front light lights up the road in front of me, and that causes me to stand out in the circle of light. Also, I have a rear blinker and reflective clothing.

    Twenty years ago, before I got my first good light system, I could tell that I made drivers nervous on country roads. They’d come up behind me and not be sure whether to pass me, as they probably didn’t know what I was. After I got my first good lighting rig I could tell that they were confident enough to pass me with no hesitation.

    I sort of know the feeling of knowing what that strange object is, as I’ve come across Amish buggies at night that are not well lit up. Whether in a car or on my bicycle, I sometimes have had trouble knowing what that object was until I was right there. The Amish have different regulations about that in different settlements, and have often had conflicts with local and state authorities on the issue.

    Back to bicycles: One strange thing now that we have Internet shopping. I can no longer find a decent reflective vest. The one I have is not optimal. I need one that’s light-weight so that I can have it with me at all times and wear it in all seasons, and it has to be adjustable enough to go over thick cold-weather clothing. I used to have one that worked just fine, but it eventually wore out and I am no longer able to find one like it. Some of the right general concept are just way too small, even in the largest sizes, and are made for really skinny people who aren’t wearing extra pounds or extra jackets. So now I have one that’s more like suspenders, but I’d really prefer more surface area and more adjustability. I have spent many hours looking and have bought some that turned out to be no good. But as some of our libertarians tell us, life is now better in every possible way.

    I don’t ride at night nearly as much as I used to. I don’t ride fast, anyway, but I’ve had too many close calls with varmints, and some actual collisions. The biggest varmints are white-tail deer. They get confused and run out in front of me when they shouldn’t. I haven’t actually hit one of those, but that could have a bad outcome.

    On my previous bicycle I had a Schmidt hub generator with a Schmidt E6 light, which was the best available of each. I’d sometimes ride all day not realizing my hub generator was on and creating a little drag. But it was so little, it was hard to notice. And it was when I got that that I started to get compliments on how well I was lit up. But LED systems have advanced so much now, that I use a set of those instead.

    • #6
    • November 4, 2018, at 9:09 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. The Reticulator Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I live in an area with 22 miles of bike paths and yet people will ride on the road instead. Hope they are organ donors.

    I have sometimes ridden on the road when there is a bike path nearby. One problem is that when I’m far from home, I don’t know where the bike path goes. Google sometimes is helpful these days, but it isn’t always up-to-date. I’ll see a bike path and wonder if it’s going the same way I’m going, in which case it would be worth taking. I have sometimes stopped on the path and waited for a bicycler to come along and tell me where it goes, but I can’t wait forever.

    In September I took a bike path along the Tuscarawas River, north of New Philadelphia OH. Google said there was a path, but I couldn’t tell for sure. I waited, studying my maps. Finally a guy with kids, all on bicycles, came along, and he told me that I could ride all the way up to the dam at Dover and beyond. Beyond turned out to be a problem. Might have been OK for a mountain bike. I have reasonably wide touring tires so am not usually phased fazed by a little gravel. Gravel would have been OK. There hadn’t been any vehicles on much of it for a long time, it looked like. There were rocky spots, grassy sections, and deep puddles. Finally I a came to a place where the puddles were big and could absolutely not be avoided. Fortunately I had learned by that time that the puddles had a solid bottom, so I rode through. I didn’t stay dry, though. So when I came to the first highway crossing I rode elsewhere (to visit a couple of township halls) and a few hours later came back to ride to Bolivar. I skipped the bike path and rode on the road instead. It was not a road to relax on, though. At Zoar I talked to some bicyclers , and they told me that 1) this part of the bike path was OK, and 2) I had been riding on a road they wouldn’t care to ride on. So I rode the path to Bolivar. It was not as fast as riding on the road, but it was more relaxing.

    • #7
    • November 4, 2018, at 9:26 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. EODmom Coolidge

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I live in an area with 22 miles of bike paths and yet people will ride on the road instead. Hope they are organ donors.

    And we live in a area where the bike lanes are the inches to the right of the fog line that fall before the unpaved verge. And there are very few street lights. And there are lots of road bikes routinely running in the twilight early hours before work aNd before dinner. Local drivers drive like they know where they are going and there’s no one else on the road. 

    The pictures are really instructive @cliffordbrown. Thank you. 

    • #8
    • November 5, 2018, at 4:07 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

     

    Smiles…..

    • #9
    • November 5, 2018, at 4:37 AM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Stad Thatcher

    I remember one time I was at a stop light in downtown Aiken. There was a car to my left. Once the light turned, I looked, saw no traffic, and started to pull out, as did the car next to me. Suddenly, this bicycle came flying out of nowhere from our left. It was on the sidewalk (we have ramped cutouts at streetcorners for wheelchairs), and sped through his red light as if it wasn’t there. Being broad daylight, he had no lights and vest (but he wore a helmet for safety!). I pounded my dash, glanced at the driver next to me, and could see he was cussing out loud (couldn’t hear him, thank goodness).

    Anyway, we have problems with bicycles when they ride on our two-lane country roads. Not only are they slow, but they “force” you to have to pass them, sometimnes by crossing a double yellow – that, or you can add thirty minutes to your travel time. Personally, I wouldn’t ride a bike out in the country because there are enough yahoos out there who would deliberately run you off the road for being in their way. It happens every few years . . .

    • #10
    • November 5, 2018, at 5:47 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Seawriter Member

    I walk for exercise. I walk in my neighborhood, which is a dead-end residential street with no sidewalks. That means I walk in the street. I walk in the direction of oncoming traffic so I can see cars coming (and get off the road if they are). After dark I wear a reflective vest. Regardless, I always assume the driver has not seen me unless the driver waves at me. (It’s Texas. That’s a thing, at least in my neighborhood.) 

    A few months back, a guy was backing out of his driveway as I was passing. I stopped, and walked around his car, opposite the direction he was going. I was back on the street, next to his car by the time he was out in the street. (Between the car and the curb. It was well clear of me.) 

    The driver looked right, saw me, stopped and roll down his window, saying apologetically, “Oh man, I never saw you. I could have hit you.” I told him I had moved assuming he had not seen me, and made sure he could not hit me. No harm, no foul. I also told him there were walkers that were not as cautious as I am, so staying alert is important.

    This was at about 5:00 am. I assume he was headed to work.

    • #11
    • November 5, 2018, at 5:49 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  12. The Reticulator Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    I remember one time I was at a stop light in downtown Aiken. There was a car to my left. Once the light turned, I looked, saw no traffic, and started to pull out, as did the car next to me. Suddenly, this bicycle came flying out of nowhere from our left. It was on the sidewalk (we have ramped cutouts at streetcorners for wheelchairs), and sped through his red light as if it wasn’t there. Being broad daylight, he had no lights and vest (but he wore a helmet for safety!). I pounded my dash, glanced at the driver next to me, and could see he was cussing out loud (couldn’t hear him, thank goodness).

    This is why you shouldn’t ride your bicycle on the sidewalk and should ride on the road instead. The city of Allegan MI used to have a sign directing bicycles to the sidewalk as you enter town. I wasn’t about to do anything that dangerous, so I would ride on the road instead. Last time I was there they had taken those stupid signs down.

    (There are specific situations where I will go to the sidewalk, but intersections are dangerous.)

    • #12
    • November 5, 2018, at 6:18 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    I remember one time I was at a stop light in downtown Aiken. There was a car to my left. Once the light turned, I looked, saw no traffic, and started to pull out, as did the car next to me. Suddenly, this bicycle came flying out of nowhere from our left. It was on the sidewalk (we have ramped cutouts at streetcorners for wheelchairs), and sped through his red light as if it wasn’t there. Being broad daylight, he had no lights and vest (but he wore a helmet for safety!). I pounded my dash, glanced at the driver next to me, and could see he was cussing out loud (couldn’t hear him, thank goodness).

    Anyway, we have problems with bicycles when they ride on our two-lane country roads. Not only are they slow, but they “force” you to have to pass them, sometimnes by crossing a double yellow – that, or you can add thirty minutes to your travel time. Personally, I wouldn’t ride a bike out in the country because there are enough yahoos out there who would deliberately run you off the road for being in their way. It happens every few years . . .

    I’ve run across (not run into) cyclists who are pretty arrogant. Some ride side by side, taking up an entire lane. It feels like they want to challenge the cars. I have to laugh, even though I’m pretty aggravated. Do they really want to challenge a 4000 lb car?

    • #13
    • November 5, 2018, at 6:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. cirby Member

    I ride in Orlando, which is one of the most dangerous cities in the US for bicyclists.

    We have bike lanes in some places. No, thanks. That’s a good way to get killed in this town. People will tailgate another car while offsetting their right wheels two feet to the right, to make sure they don’t see the cyclist they’re getting ready to murder.

    We also have quite a few miles of bike trails, which are nice – but you have to be REALLY careful when crossing streets, because drivers don’t even slow down in some places.

    Generally, I ride on the sidewalks. Almost nobody walks in Orlando. It’s not as smooth or easy, and you have to watch for cars suddenly backing out of driveways, but it’s better than the streets.

    At night? A decently-bright headlight, a blinking taillight, and a huge dose of paranoia.

     

    • #14
    • November 5, 2018, at 7:52 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Quietpi Member

    I was a bicyclist myself, and still have my Gitane. I’m extremely mindful of bicyclists. In California bicyclists are prohibited from traveling on sidewalks (totally ignored). And most ignore stop signs. There was a bill that would have allowed bicyclists to ignore stop signs. And there’s yet another example of the empty skulls that populate Sacramento. The most recent one that is burned into my memory: As I was starting a right turn onto a major street, having looked both ways (including the sidewalk), a bicyclist traveling right to left, on the sidewalk, flew into the crosswalk. He was traveling fast, and his presence on the sidewalk – and his view of the street and me – had been hidden by a structure. I missed him by no more than one foot, before I could even take my foot off the accelerator.

    To add to the problem, most bicyclists in California are of the “homeless” variety, no lights, no / dark clothing, and weaving all over, as if they really have no important place to go.

    • #15
    • November 5, 2018, at 9:17 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Quietpi Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I can no longer find a decent reflective vest.

    Try a construction – type safety supply store, the sort where you find barricades, traffic cones, etc. I’ve also seen them in a local equipment rental outfit. I just bought a good one at a local “Saf-T-Lite” store.

    • #16
    • November 5, 2018, at 9:26 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. The Reticulator Member

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I can no longer find a decent reflective vest.

    Try a construction – type safety supply store, the sort where you find barricades, traffic cones, etc. I’ve also seen them in a local equipment rental outfit. I just bought a good one at a local “Saf-T-Lite” store.

    Yes, I’ve seen those, but they don’t meet all the requirements I listed like the one I used to have.

    • #17
    • November 5, 2018, at 9:30 AM PST
    • Like
  18. Quietpi Member

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    no lights, no / dark clothing

    Um, no <reflective> / dark clothing. Yes… nothing to enhance visibility…

    • #18
    • November 5, 2018, at 10:32 AM PST
    • Like
  19. Qoumidan Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    This is why you shouldn’t ride your bicycle on the sidewalk

    No, this is why bicyclists should obey the same traffic laws the everyone else has to.

    • #19
    • November 5, 2018, at 10:42 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Ryan Renfro Member

    I rode a bike to work for seven years. I always had a reflective vest on, with front and back lights and after dark. A vest is only about $5 at Harbor Fright.

    The only time I did get hit, I was doored by a nurse outside Northern Inyo Hospital. Luckily I let go with my right hand before the edge of the door cracked the plastic grip on the handle bars, but I still went rolling over the front of the bike.

    So don’t forget to check your side mirrors when you get out of the car, as most places hold the person in the car responsible in these instances.

    I worked for the Forest Service at the time, and my summary of the incident was emailed throughout Region 5. It’s never a good day when you become the subject of a Despair poster.

      

    • #20
    • November 5, 2018, at 10:48 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    MeanDurphy (View Comment):

    I rode a bicycle all over Phoenix for my time in school there.

    The trick that saved my life more than once was: never go in front of a car until you get eye contact *and* recognition.

    A driver might look your direction, and still not see you.

    Yes, emphatically yes! When I ride, recreationally, I look at the driver and wave, looking for facial reaction.

    • #21
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:01 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Ryan Renfro (View Comment):

    I rode a bike to work for seven years. I always had a reflective vest on, with front and back lights and after dark. A vest is only about $5 at Harbor Fright.

    The only time I did get hit, I was doored by a nurse outside Northern Inyo Hospital. Luckily I let go with my right hand before the edge of the door cracked the plastic grip on the handle bars, but I still went rolling over the front of the bike.

    So don’t forget to check your side mirrors when you get out of the car, as most places hold the person in the car responsible in these instances.

    I worked for the Forest Service at the time, and my summary of the incident was emailed throughout Region 5. It’s never a good day when you become the subject of a Despair poster.

    Yes, and the way bike lights have developed, with LEDs, you can now run the headlight in strobe mode, creating a flashing/glittering point that catches drivers’ eyes at a distance, with a daylight and night setting.

    • #22
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:08 AM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    I am an avid cyclist, over 9000 miles so far this year. I ride on bike paths when they are going where I want to go, but many of my rides are far longer and more challenging than a bike path can provide.

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I live in an area with 22 miles of bike paths and yet people will ride on the road instead. Hope they are organ donors.

    The bike path in my area are about 20 miles and travels through a valley. I live above the valley on a ridge. I frequently drop down into the valley and ride the trail to its end, then ride the roads back home. The trail constituting about 1/2 the total miles I ride. Far more often I ride north from my home into the farmlands, or east into the mountains, or south through farmlands and along lakes and rivers.

    The trail is lovely with scenery much like parts of Alaska, but I ride every day and I look for variety in my rides. My bike has two flashing LED lights on it, front and back. I wear bright clothing, my rain gear, made in Switzerland is International Orange. I obey the laws, and as suggested above, when entering an intersection I make eye contact with any drivers approaching that intersection. Like most cyclists, I have had a lot of close calls, frequently due to drivers who are busy with their cellphones, or deliberately malicious. The latter being the most frequent problem. 

    Drivers , like PHCHeese, need to understand that a cyclist has a much right to be on the road as they do. Drivers in my state are required, by law, to allow 4′ of clearance when passing a bicycle on the road. I ride as far to the right as I feel comfortable doing. Often, however, shoulders are accumulation zones for garbage, some of it capable of damaging a tire. My tires cost me $90 apiece. I am not overly anxious to replace them, nor do I enjoy repairing flats by the side of the road, so I have to use my judgment as to where I ride. If that means that drivers passing me need to cross the centerline as they would passing a motor vehicle, then so be it. That is their obligation. Considering the size of a bicycle and the speed it is going (usually not much over 20 MPH), it shouldn’t cause a driver much trouble to pass me safely. However, a good percentage of people who pass me do so as though they are playing chicken with their side view mirrors.

    I know that there are a lot idiots out there on bicycles. There are also a lot of idiots driving cars. Sometimes they are the same people. Making blanket statement about cyclists, and ignoring the stupidity of many drivers doesn’t do anything to improve the situation. Suggesting that cyclists deserve to die is just plain ignorant and malicious.

    • #23
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:21 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. RufusRJones Member

    In Minneapolis-St. Paul I don’t see what good it does to paint extra lines on roads that didn’t have extra lines on them before, just to get more bikes on the road. People that don’t use the right gear to be visible should be massively punished.

    • #24
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:24 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Stad (View Comment):

    I remember one time I was at a stop light in downtown Aiken. There was a car to my left. Once the light turned, I looked, saw no traffic, and started to pull out, as did the car next to me. Suddenly, this bicycle came flying out of nowhere from our left. It was on the sidewalk (we have ramped cutouts at streetcorners for wheelchairs), and sped through his red light as if it wasn’t there. Being broad daylight, he had no lights and vest (but he wore a helmet for safety!). I pounded my dash, glanced at the driver next to me, and could see he was cussing out loud (couldn’t hear him, thank goodness).

    Anyway, we have problems with bicycles when they ride on our two-lane country roads. Not only are they slow, but they “force” you to have to pass them, sometimnes by crossing a double yellow – that, or you can add thirty minutes to your travel time. Personally, I wouldn’t ride a bike out in the country because there are enough yahoos out there who would deliberately run you off the road for being in their way. It happens every few years . . .

    In a suburban area, with a narrow bike lane, four lanes, I’ve twice had stuff thrown at me, and occasionally get a shout, intended to startle. This is always later in the evening, so I assume alcohol is involved. After such episodes, I keep an eye out for opportunities to bail off the road, in case an especially obnoxious yahoo decides to come around for a more aggressive pass. I usually carry insurance by Ruger, not helpful while mounted, but improving the odds, if dismounted, against a truly homicidal driver. 

    • #25
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:24 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    There was a bill that would have allowed bicyclists to ignore stop signs

    I am not a California resident, but I am aware of the law of which you speak. The law does not allow the ignoring of stop signs. What it does is allow cyclists to treat stop signs as Yield signs. In other words, you are expected to slow as approaching the sign, then if the intersection is clear and nothing is approaching, you can proceed without making a complete stop. My understanding is that several states already have that law. The reason for it has to do with momentum. Coming to a full stop for bike means getting across the intersection is going to be slower as you have to start back up, often reclipping into your pedals if you can’t do a track stand. I see automobile drivers do that all of the time. We usually refer to it as a “California stop.”

    • #26
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:30 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I walk for exercise. I walk in my neighborhood, which is a dead-end residential street with no sidewalks. That means I walk in the street. I walk in the direction of oncoming traffic so I can see cars coming (and get off the road if they are). After dark I wear a reflective vest. Regardless, I always assume the driver has not seen me unless the driver waves at me. (It’s Texas. That’s a thing, at least in my neighborhood.)

    A few months back, a guy was backing out of his driveway as I was passing. I stopped, and walked around his car, opposite the direction he was going. I was back on the street, next to his car by the time he was out in the street. (Between the car and the curb. It was well clear of me.)

    The driver looked right, saw me, stopped and roll down his window, saying apologetically, “Oh man, I never saw you. I could have hit you.” I told him I had moved assuming he had not seen me, and made sure he could not hit me. No harm, no foul. I also told him there were walkers that were not as cautious as I am, so staying alert is important.

    This was at about 5:00 am. I assume he was headed to work.

    I ironed a reflective band onto a ripstop fabric ball cap for walking after dark, and use a reflective belt. Then I added a small strobing flashlight. At a minimum, a $3- penlight, running on one AAA battery gives some visibility.

    Your situational awareness and defensive reaction to a vehicle backing out is a great example of walking or biking to arrive alive.

     

    • #27
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:37 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Driving home last night, I saw a man wearing dark clothing walking on the rural road with minimal shoulders and no street lighting with his back to traffic. First thing this morning I checked the news for accident reports. He was apparently lucky. Most auto-peds are pedestrian error, but, as you point out, they will adversely affect, if not ruin, the driver’s life.

    The fact is that drivers are expected to be in control of their vehicles at all times. That means you should not drive faster than your ability to see obstructions in the road. If you hit a pedestrian, you are held responsible. If you hit a bike the same is true. 

    I don’t ride at night or in the dark. The clothing I wear during the day has reflective strips on it. My LEDs are on whenever I ride. They are exceptionally bright and designed to be seen in the daylight. I wouldn’t ride without them. My sense is that if someone is driving distracted by their cellphone or food or putting on makeup that a flashing light might catch their attention before they plow into me. During rainy weather, about 8 months a year in the Pacific Northwest, I wear an international orange rain jacket for the very same reason.

    • #28
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:41 AM PST
    • Like
  29. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    I was a bicyclist myself, and still have my Gitane. I’m extremely mindful of bicyclists. In California bicyclists are prohibited from traveling on sidewalks (totally ignored). And most ignore stop signs. There was a bill that would have allowed bicyclists to ignore stop signs. And there’s yet another example of the empty skulls that populate Sacramento. The most recent one that is burned into my memory: As I was starting a right turn onto a major street, having looked both ways (including the sidewalk), a bicyclist traveling right to left, on the sidewalk, flew into the crosswalk. He was traveling fast, and his presence on the sidewalk – and his view of the street and me – had been hidden by a structure. I missed him by no more than one foot, before I could even take my foot off the accelerator.

    To add to the problem, most bicyclists in California are of the “homeless” variety, no lights, no / dark clothing, and weaving all over, as if they really have no important place to go.

    For a year, the instant rent-a-bike fleets seemed to improve the lighting issue. Those are largely gone, replaced with electric scooters, some by the same companies that ran the bike fleets. That whole phenomenon is worthy of its own post.

    • #29
    • November 5, 2018, at 11:47 AM PST
    • 1 like
  30. Stad Thatcher

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    This is why you shouldn’t ride your bicycle on the sidewalk and should ride on the road instead.

    That’s just it. I can’t speak for the guy next to me, but I was focused on the street, looking for cars possibly running the red light, or slow-walking pedestrians on the crosswalk. I never saw the rail-thin dude on his bike until he was directly in front of me.

    • #30
    • November 5, 2018, at 12:46 PM PST
    • 3 likes