Thursday, July 08, 2010

Close Call on the Commute

I was riding home last night, and it was only 101--but for some reason it felt hotter and seemed muggy. But as always, I pressed on.

There's one place that Tucson Riders will know, and that's on Ina/Skyline/Sunrise, heading West and almost to Campbell Ave. There's a merge lane called Skyline that comes out of the foothills onto Ina.

You can see all the cars backed up because the first car is stopping or slowing for the bike in the blue bike lane.

The merge road has drivers cutting across the bike lane. Two very large YIELD signs, plus lots of bright white lines and arrows--and a bright blue painted bike lane, say, you would think, "Watch for Bikes!" but people do not.

I am so careful here, because traffic is going fast--I have 100 yards of view to make sure I can get past without getting hit. It makes me sad to report that even when drivers are looking me right in the eye--which is rare--they more than not speed up to so they don't have to slow down and yield.

Most looks I get are such that they are confused and don't know what to do--it must not be obvious that they are speeding through a bike lane. I also get looks which fall into the "I'm pretending you're not there." forced glare.

Last night, an older woman in a nice car, talking on her cell phone--appeared out of nowhere; I mean I looked and didn't see any car--then all the sudden this lady sped through the lane going at least 60 mph.

I actually thought this was the ride--the day I met Death.

You can see the cyclists in the bike lane.

If you look at the photo above you can see the one cyclist is the blue bike lane, and the cars are probably yielding to the two other cyclists about there. In my case last night, the driver forced me to the left as she blasted through the bike lane and then crossed over to the next two left lanes as she crossed that blue strip. As I said, she was probably doing 60 mph, was on a cell phone, and didn't even see me/wasn't even looking where she was going. I mean she didn't even look or slow down for the up-coming car traffic that she was merging into.

She missed me by a couple of inches... Didn't even have a clue I was right there...


Anonymous said...

Hey, sorry to hear about this. Glad you're ok.


Sir Bikesalot said...

Glad that you are still among us Bruce. One would hope that such people would eventually eliminate their ability to drive (before they do it to anyone else) or at least their license.

John Romeo Alpha said...

One wishes for an air horn, or some other absurdly loud device, to alert such drivers of the error of their ways, and to offer them the opportunity, once enlightened, to alter their future actions. Or at the very least, a law officer situated to observe the act, and to write a ticket, which may be more effective. At this point, the driver is probably still unaware of near-fatal mistake they made, and the laws they broke (failure to yield, 3 foot law, one or two bike lane laws, etc), as they continue to cruise at high speed with the phone glued to their ear.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Gentlemen, Ahoy!

This is by far the closest call I believe I've had in some time. My fear is that unless they put up some flashing lights at this intersection of car and bike, a cyclist is going to get run down, just in the same way I almost did. No light would have to be put there if people would just take a moment and pay attention and do the safe thing--stop talking on the phone and texting. Its not worth running down a pedistrain or cyclist, or plowing into another car.

Cheers! Bruce