And now for a decidedly non-escapist video... - CycleBlaze

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And now for a decidedly non-escapist video...

Syd Winer

Here's an interesting look at an unexpected danger that an acutely angled but otherwise open an exposed crossroad can pose to cyclists. Living and touring as I do in rural Australia I've probably crossed a squillion similar crossroads on tour without a second thought. The intersection in the video is in England, and the angle of the crossroads was determined by paving over historical trails. An Australian equivalent can likely be found in the crossing points of minor roads that parallel railway lines (likely disused!) at intersections with main roads. 'Normal' rural roads are far more likely to have 90 degree intersections. After watching this video, I'll sure be looking over my shoulder more often.

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4 weeks ago
John SaxbyTo Syd Winer

Thanks for this, Syd, and welcome to CycleBlaze :)

Good vid, and sobering. I'm  sure we've all seen intersections like this, where the "irregularities" of junctions that predated motor traffic were ironed out for the benefit of motorists. 

The technical/structural solution is clear and sound, and likely won't happen anytime soon :(   And as for drivers not stopping at stop signs or red lights, well-- this is anecdotal, but I see more examples of that problem, not fewer. (Why? Partly due to increasing congestion, partly to larger/heavier vehicles, partly due to simple lack of consideration for other road users. The auto-body shops have been doing a roaring business in Ottawa and surrounds, revenue up 25% year over year.  All that's pre-corona virus restrictions, BTW.) (With the effects of the virus, provincial police report a spike in road-racing by young hotshoes driving mummy or daddy's car on suddenly open roads.)

I've ridden bicycles for 60-plus years, and I rode motorcycles for more than half a century.  Never hit anything, never hit by anything.  Partly, that's good luck.  But, I learned defensive driving from my days on motorcycles:  coming up to intersections, I would always back off the throttle because of the tendency of motorists to turn left (Down Unda, right) in front of motorcyclists; or turn right on a red without stopping.  (SMDSY...)  On my bikes now, it's always head-on-a-swivel for junctions, even on those where I have the right of way, and ease up on the pedalling just in case:  I've had so many close calls that I simply do not expect motorists to see me.

I lobby my city councillor for red-light cameras and stiff fines, and he's sympathetic, but the Hegemony Of The Car still prevails in road design in these parts.

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4 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Syd Winer

It's not just cyclists that are endangered by others failing to stop at intersections in the boonies.  Humboldt Broncos crash

One way to help prevent this sort of thing is as suggested in the video:  offset the approaches to the main road so vehicles must stop and turn twice.  Another way is to replace the intersection with a roundabout--which is probably why we see so many of them at minor road intersections in France.

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3 weeks ago
John SaxbyTo Jacquie Gaudet

Thanks for adding the reference to that terrible crash, Jacquie.  After the crash, a cyclist friend who had spent 40-some years in the trucking industry in Ontario wrote a letter to the provincial governments of Ont & Sask, arguing that a roundabout would be an easy way to significantly improve the safety of such intersections.  He received only a "thank you for your opinion" reply, with no substantive comment. 

(When we're riding together and a truck overtakes us in a dangerous manner--e.g., going up a hill--he makes a mental note of time, place, company and truck number, and at our next stop phones through  to report the behaviour.  He has a Yorkshire accent and used to be a detective, so he puts on his "You're talking to a police officer" voice.  Remarkably, he says, at least half the time, the people in the company say, "So what's your point?"  On the other hand, when truckers Do The Right Thing, he acknowledges them, and also phones through a compliment.  Those are usually greeted by surprise...)

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3 weeks ago
Graham SmithTo Syd Winer

Hi Sydney,
Good to see you here on CycleBlaze.

That’s an interesting video for a couple  reasons. One I cycle toured in that area in 1979; and two I’ve lost count of the times I’d have been T-boned at quiet back street and back road intersections if I hadn’t assumed that I was invisible to drivers approaching at a right angle, or slightly off right angle.

That fellow’s explanation is good, but I think the other factor is that drivers’ brains and eyes are simply not tuned in to see anything which isn’t a motor vehicle coming entering their lateral vision. I’ve done it myself (when driving) with motorcyclists here in Canberra on the Commonwealth Bridge entry from Parkes Way. I didn’t hit them, but it was a close call. I simply didn’t see them approaching from the side.

When cycling I err on the side of caution on side streets. I assume drivers cannot and do not see me cycling so at intersections or cross roads, I either stop, or even turn left so as there’s no chance of being hit side on.

Trust you are getting some cool winds over your way too. Freezing here.

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3 weeks ago
Syd WinerTo Graham Smith

Hi Graham.

Must admit my closest calls have both been a combination of drivers being inattentive and reversing from parking spots into traffic (i.e; me!) and in both cases me arriving on the scene in an already bad mood and probably not as focused as I could have been on my surrounds. After the second time, an event where I was actually knocked from my bike, I swore to never ride 'angry' again. As my favourite grim TV show Air Crash Investigations likes to point out - you can find a single point of failure as the root cause, but it's usually a cascading series of events that changes that single point from being recoverable to a disaster.

Yeah, cold here today but I'm just back from a nice ride - the wind wasn't as bad at ground level as the scudding clouds would have you think. The downhills were chilly, but the uphills kept me warm!

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3 weeks ago