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Oblivious PGH Motorists on video

This topic contains 221 replies, has 52 voices, and was last updated by  mr marvelous 11 mos, 2 weeks.

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quizbot

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Apr 18 2012 at 2:29pm #

@Pierce: What’s my reason for highlighting ignorant motorist behaviors? Good question. What’s Stu’s reason for pointing out “dangerous longitudinal drain grates”? Same answer: we’re pointing out hazards to cyclists on their commute. The ones that I’m pointing out just happen to be random and non-stationary.

On swearing: in the ambulance video, my “WTF dude!” was just an immediate reaction of disbelief at what I was seeing. It wasn’t intended to make it to the drivers ear. Besides that, being on the phone and apparantly unable to hear the f’n siren he wasn’t going to hear me anyway.

I’m posting these for a few reasons: entertainment value, opportunity to create discussion, and again to point out hazards that cyclists may experience on the road.

The vids I post represent just the worst of what I see out there. In the last 6 months, with approximately 3600 mins of commute time, I’ve posted a total of 3 mins of footage. That is .08% of my commute. 99.92% of the time, conditions are reasonably tolerable. But, it’s that sketchy .08% that concerns me, and probably concerns every other cyclist out there somewhere in the backs of their minds.


stefb

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Apr 18 2012 at 2:31pm #

I swear at motorists.. Just not that loudly.


StuInMcCandless

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Apr 18 2012 at 4:23pm #

If only Don Parker, Dr. Varacallo and the two doctors last May had been wearing helmet cams…

Might not have changed events, but would certainly have taken some of the guesswork out of what happened afterward.


parvipica

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Apr 18 2012 at 9:07pm #

woah woah hey wow, can we go back to the video Nick put a link to of the guy and his ‘drive and text game’? now THAT’s scary.

i think the only time i say ‘dude’ is when im yelling at cars. never any other time, but consistently at cars. look out, dude. woah, bro.


rsprake

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Apr 18 2012 at 9:16pm #

This it? Apparently there was a gray lady that I completely missed.


bear250220

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Apr 19 2012 at 1:48am #

i was right behind a car in my bus that turned in frount of 2 bikes last night at center and aiken around 815pm the had bright lights blinking and the the car just turned right in front of them i see all kinds of bad driving in east liberty all day long while im driving my bus i try to stay about 10 feet behind bikes hoping it gives them some protection from cars


HiddenVariable

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Apr 19 2012 at 5:41am #

i think the only time i say ‘dude’ is when im yelling at cars. never any other time, but consistently at cars. look out, dude. woah, bro.

haha this is great. i also have things i only call cars, and now i wonder about everyone else.

“whoa, guy.”

i had a suitemate in college a good while ago who addressed his friends as “guy”, then i had friends who used it to address people they didn’t much care for (“listen, guy…”). this is the only way it stuck with me.


Mick

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Apr 19 2012 at 3:11pm #

For bad drivers, I use the term “drunkard”.

There may be times when it is not strictly true, but it is usually the appropriate term, anyhow.


quizbot

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Apr 20 2012 at 1:00am #

I usually take Liberty home but tonight took Penn to grab a tag. Mistake. :07 – :12 avoiding some debris from recent hole patching. :13 you can hear a motor gunning. :16 – :17, a one foot pass by a gold suv with no distinguishable plate, cutting it uncomfortably close to both me and inbound traffic. :21 – :24 doesn’t really look that great either. Oncoming inbound, outbound driver is giving me 4 feet, and there’s someone pulling off the curb. I’m wondering what the experts think I should have been doing differently.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Apr 20 2012 at 1:15am #

“I’m wondering what the experts think I should have been doing differently.”

I would have cursed more profusely.


quizbot

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Apr 20 2012 at 1:25am #

I did MF’er it somewhat under my breath. Was worried about what some would think of my cursing, and how it would play out on video. I should probably just keep my mouth shut & be more sensitive to the motorist’s plight.


Marko82

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Apr 20 2012 at 1:49am #

I imagine the driver in the opposing lane was more than willing to fill in for your lack of expletives.

As for what you could have done differently – you could have taken even more of the lane, but I think you were doing a pretty good job already, and I have a feeling the gold SUV would have passed you no matter what. That guy was a dick.


dmtroyer

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Apr 20 2012 at 2:09am #

really tough situation. I probably would have taken liberty ave. but maybe your destination didn’t allow for that.


quizbot

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Apr 20 2012 at 2:40am #

If I had taken 5 more inches of the lane I would’ve at least been clipped by the rear view mirror. Usually do take Liberty, but altered the routine to grab a tag.

I should really just stay off the roads and ride on the sidewalk or on bike trails. I’m not registered or licensed to drive a bike, and I don’t pay road tax. Where do I get the gall to think I have any sort of right or privilege to be on a road?


Mick

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Apr 20 2012 at 3:15am #

@ quizbot be more sensitive to the motorist’s plight.

You mean, like, that he is st00pid?

He may or may not have been born stupId, but he’s clearly stewpid now.

It appears he’s committed to remaining stupit for the forseeable future.

It’s good that he has a life plan, isn’t it?

He missed totalling his pretty little semi-trailer today, but he’s likely gonna wreck it to save .72 seconds sometime soon. Good for him! I hope there’s a camera there for him when he does!

Short of exercising your American right to bear arms, I don’t see a whole lot you could have done differently. Nothing about his driving that a hand grenade through the window couldn’t fix.


Pierce

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Apr 20 2012 at 3:24am #

I agree with the idea of sharing videos so we can learn what to do next time

Perhaps if we’re in tight streets and a car is coming in the opposite lane, be especially protective of the lane. Don’t give those behind any illusion of being able to squeeze through.

This page does a pretty good job of explaining the lane taking thing, for those that don’t know why it’s a safer thing to do:

http://cyclingsavvy.org/hows-my-driving/

That being said, I don’t always take the whole lane myself. If it’s a four lane road, I always almost definitely do. Two lane roads are a little more tricky though.

I’m trying to recall why I don’t in two lane roads and I keep coming back to the idea that fairly often? when I do this, cars will change lanes into oncoming traffic with the oncoming traffic being significantly closer than I would prefer.

So I guess I end up trying to balance between my risk of being sideswiped with the risk of contributing to a head-on collision

For some reason, I also tend to just get a feel for drivers on certain days. Sometimes I feel like people are being more courteous and safe, and I’ll take less of the lane, but other times I feel like drivers are driving faster and with less caution so I feel compelled to take more of the lane

So on an unrelated note… have you tried to submit any of these videos to the police? It seems like the mirror is less than 4′ away from your head at 18 secs


quizbot

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Apr 20 2012 at 3:50am #

So I guess I end up trying to balance between my risk of being sideswiped with the risk of contributing to a head-on collision

Never mind your risk, why would you feel even somewhat slightly concerned that you may have contributed to a head-on collision? Who is driving the cars?


Steven

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Apr 20 2012 at 4:11am #

If I had taken 5 more inches of the lane I would’ve at least been clipped by the rear view mirror.

Sure, assuming the driver didn’t change his behavior in response. But if you’d taken more of the lane, most drivers would have gone farther into the oncoming lane to pass, or perhaps even waited to pass. Whether this one would have is anyone’s guess.

Seems like lane position is a balancing act between being courteous by letting drivers pass easily, and protecting yourself by taking the lane. Courtesy is great except when you encounter a discourteous (to say the least) motorist like this one. It’s kind of like the Prisoner’s Dilemma problem.


quizbot

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Apr 20 2012 at 4:58am #

3 seconds to assess whether or not this driver who was gunning it up the curve at the bottom of Penn behind you is going to change his behavior: go.

My observation: it’s much easier to take the lane on the internet than it is to take it in real life.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Apr 20 2012 at 11:31am #

I think this guy in the gold suv represents the x-factor in all of this: the one thing you simply cannot account for. I’m not sure there is anything quizbot (or any of us) might have done differently to alter that circumstance.

The x is going to act how it is going to act. The x is going to buzz the bicycle. The x is going to cut in front of the bicycle. The x is going to right-hook the bicycle. (Horribly, the x is also going to fiddle with their flip-flop, and the x is also going to purposely run a couple of doctors down.)

Unfortunately we have to accept that even if we do “all the right things” the x is still out there unaccounted for. There are no laws to fix x. There are no friendly waves or PSA’s or educational programs to fix x. The other 99% (or whatever number you would like) of drivers are predictable, and are willing to give the four feet, be patient when we’re taking the lane, etc. But the x is a goner. And we’re stuck with him.


rsprake

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Apr 20 2012 at 1:08pm #

The one percenters…


Marko82

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Apr 20 2012 at 1:52pm #

I like the video at the bottom of the page that Pierce links to above. http://cyclingsavvy.org/hows-my-driving/

The video is on a four lane road and rather boring, but it shows a cyclist taking the full lane vs taking only the right third of the lane. There is a camera shooting behind the cyclist, and a camera inside an approaching car. This is a perspective that most of us don’t get to see. My biggest revelation comes toward the end of the video when it shows a bike using only a third of the lane. From inside the car, and from a distance, it looks like there is enough distance for the car to “share” the lane. It’s only as the car gets closer that it becomes obvious that they have to change lanes. So cars tend to change lanes at the last minute, and lane split a lot. But when you ride in the middle of the lane, cars know they have to change lanes much earlier, resulting in much less confusion and lane splitting by the cars. This is great to watch, and an aspect I really haven’t thought about.


Anonymous

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Apr 20 2012 at 4:05pm #

“Some drivers cannot think ahead or imagine taking their foot off the gas”

I think that describes the gold SUV driver perfectly.


dwillen

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Apr 20 2012 at 4:56pm #

“Some drivers cannot think ahead or imagine taking their foot off the gas”

This winter an SUV buzzed me on a busy 4-lane (35-mph) road, and immediately right hooked me (tires squealing) turning down a side street. SUV then parked in front of the second house down this side street, which happened to be one street before my own.

I turned down the street and stopped next to this guy before he even turned his car off to see what the deal was. I was perfectly calm, and I think I started out saying “You passed me really close back there, it was very dangerous”. Dude frantically locked his doors, and proceeded to have a conversation with me through his car window. He didn’t speak English very well, but he got across that he didn’t have any extra room to pass me, and if he moved over anymore, someone would have HIT HIM!!

I explained that next time he could have slowed down and waited half a second, and it wouldn’t have been an issue. He thought for a second, and you could see kind of a light bulb go off, before he agreed that next time he would do that.


mr marvelous

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Apr 20 2012 at 10:49pm #

@ dwillen that is how it’s done. When I have the opportunity to talk to drivers about dangerous driving I approach them just like that and I never have an altercation. I have never changed someones point of view by arguing, cursing or fighting with them. I want to change the way drivers treat us on the road and anger only makes it harder for the next cyclist bad drivers encounter. I feel the problem with most drivers (not all) is education. They don’t know what the laws are for cyclist and often seem confused in sharing the road with us. I have stopped fighting and started educating.

@ quizbot I like your videos not for entertainment or even documenting license plates, but to learn what to do (or not to do) in certain situations. Seeing things from your camera I change my riding a little, take the lane more check cross streets even when I have the green etc.

I don’t see this thread as entertainment or to make fun of anyone but to learn how to keep my cool when commuting.


rsprake

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Apr 21 2012 at 12:00pm #

Friday morning I was pulling out on to Spring Way after a truck passed and was almost hit by a pole sticking out of the truck bed by a few feet. Another cyclists saw that happen and approached the driver to tell him how dangerous it was. As far as I can tell the driver told him to get off the road. :)


Anonymous

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Apr 27 2012 at 4:08pm #

I feel like I’m stirring the pot here, but if anyone has $145 to spare, today’s deal from woot is an HD helment camera. It can hold up to 32 GB of crappy driving/annoyed cyclist footage if you have a microSD card of that size (sold separately, of course). It will shoot 1080p at 30 fps or 720p at 60 fps.


dwillen

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Apr 27 2012 at 9:08pm #

Not a PGH motorist, a Berkeley (California!) one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3LatOGCWVc

Scary, but it appears the riders are relatively unharmed, and the police are apparently tracking down the driver (according to the youtube). Note the traffic angel commenters lambasting them about stop signs.

Guess it pays off to film your rides. Though I imagine in PGH you’d just get a couple of stop sign tickets and a firm talking to.


chinston

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Apr 27 2012 at 9:13pm #

What’s a good option for a handlebar-mounted camera, rather than helmet-mounted? I think I’d prefer the former.


pistat

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Apr 27 2012 at 9:52pm #

I like the Contour series of cameras. They look slightly less ridiculous, in that they’re like what you’d expect a sport camera to be, rather than the digicam-in-a-plastic-box, e.g. the GoPro. There is a handlebar mount but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. The internal sound is pretty terrible but it’s easily modded to add an external mic jack.


benstiglitz

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Apr 28 2012 at 1:08am #

Mick, I have a coworker who explains Pittsburgh driving to all people new to our office like this:

“Just assume everyone is drunk. Most people are. More so on game days.”


quizbot

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May 10 2012 at 4:02pm #

2 right hooks this morning. (you may want to turn down the sound if you’re at work or otherwise sensitive to cursing)

1st: Negley headed towards Penn Ave. Driver looks right at me as he passes then hooks me. This one was easy to see coming, so I used my escape route and avoided getting hit. Ya, I reacted strongly because the motorist’s actions were blatant. PA YHR-0499, white Ford box van.

2nd: Penn Ave approaching the 31st bridge. PA BA-64072, white ford Transport U van #124.

Could I have taken the lane a bit more? In both cases, probably. However, this is not an excuse for the drivers actions. The onus is on them to not interfere with me.

§ 3331. Required position and method of turning.

(e) Interference with pedalcycles.–No turn by a driver of a motor vehicle shall interfere with a pedalcycle proceeding straight while operating in accordance with Chapter 35 (relating to special vehicles and pedestrians).


Marko82

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May 10 2012 at 4:21pm #

In the first clip, was he gunning his engine or something that made you look over your shoulder, or do you do this at every intersection? I’m just asking because it allowed you to prepare for the eventual right-hook and take evasive action. I’m not sure you would have been able to had you not anticipated it.

I think I would call the phone number conveniently plastered on the back of the Transport-U van and complain about their driver breaking the law and risking an “accident”.


quizbot

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May 10 2012 at 4:32pm #

1st: I did hear his engine but in general I’m always looking over my shoulder on Negley.


Marko82

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May 10 2012 at 8:04pm #

+1 good habbit.


quizbot

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May 10 2012 at 8:58pm #

2nd: just got off the phone with a friendly dispatcher at Transport U who noted my complaint & the van #. Also provided me with a supervisor email address so I can pass along the video.


Pierce

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May 10 2012 at 10:07pm #

There’s no reason not to take the full lane on that section of Negely. I linked previously to why it’s a good idea.

If you don’t want somebody to pass, why not make it harder and more obvious that they cannot easily do it? Correct me if I’m wrong, but sideswipes are far more common than getting hit from directly behind.

What does the driver looking at you have to do with anything? It doesn’t mean he recognizes that you don’t want him to turn and pass in front of you.

Additionally, the law you cite is questionably relevant for the first and second video. Were you intending to turn in the first video? How much did the second driver interfere?

Also, you said it was hard for you to remain calm when people are trying to kill you. Do you think the first driver was trying to kill you?

The dude in the car probably has no idea why you’re yelling at him. I know why you’re yelling and I’m still wary of it. Imagine how driver feels. Imagine how the pedestrians feel around the area. So again I ask, what does yelling at people accomplish? Yes, it’s cathartic. You can either educate or you can yell, but I think for the majority of the population, they’re mutually exclusive activities.

I too had an unpleasant interaction with a motorist today. As I was cycling in my school’s long driveway somebody yelled “something something CAR!” He was heading outbound. I signaled to turn, made a U-turned, waived to the driver behind me and caught up to the car at the stop light.

I said “Did you say something to me?” “Yes” “What did you say?” “I said get a car.” “Why do you feel I should get a car?” “Because.” “Because why?” “Just because.” “I don’t understand though. I really enjoy riding my bicycle.” “Driving a car is better for you.” I motioned to the car “You think driving a car” and then motioned to my finely chiseled body “Is better for you than riding a bicycle?” At this point the light turned green and the woman next to him told him to go. He also had two people in the back.

I was able to express my feelings without yelling, he was able to make a fool of himself. After the light turned green and he was on 885, he yelled again and honked his horn. I’m only hoping his passengers disapproved and with any luck I’ll see him walking around campus sometime.


quizbot

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May 10 2012 at 11:01pm #

@Pierce: “What does the driver looking at you have to do with anything?

It has everything to do with anything. We made eye contact. He was fully aware that I was there. He gave me a sneer, then right hooked me. I wish my cam had a polarized filter so you could see his face through the glare on the window. Maybe he didn’t want to kill me, but he definitely didn’t give a shit about doing some harm.

Additionally, the law you cite is questionably relevant for the first and second video.

I can’t tell if you’re really being serious or not, so I’ll just pass on that one.

Imagine how driver feels. Imagine how the pedestrians feel around the area.

You care so much about how everyone else feels… why don’t you care about how I feel? Do you also not care how my wife or kids would feel if I were taken out by someone throwing a right hook?


quizbot

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May 11 2012 at 5:09am #

The suspense is killing me.


Pierce

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May 11 2012 at 5:41am #

As far as the snear goes, I don’t know. I attributed the right hook to a misjudgment of speed, ignorance or impatience.

I cannot accept that the majority of the population has an interest in harming one another or an apathy towards harming another, while at the same time I recognize that a very few do.

According to my wiki-ing the percentage of true psychopath’s are one to two percent. (Which seems high?) I guess one or two cars acting callously towards us out of one hundred seems about right, but also, maybe high.

I care how you feel. I wish our commutes were stress free and not potentially life threatening. I often envision myself the subject of one of my institution’s many bereavement emails (we have an ancient workforce) and worry about my lacking legacy of expedient password resets.

I want all of us to be able to live long productive lives and to be able to support our families and children without fear of how we commute around the city.

I was deeply moved by the show of emotion from Ruihui Lin’s mom on the one year anniversary of her son’s death. If the image and sound of her crying in front of the candlelit ghost bike could be implanted into motorists passing too close, I’d bet they give us more space.

Unfortunately however, we can’t do that. I guess yelling can get across the message that “Hey, I don’t like what you’re doing!” but it fails to get across the heart of the message. “When you pass me without hardly any room, I’m concerned for my safety. I’m worried I could be hurt and killed and I won’t be able to see my kids grow up or grow old with my wife. So would you please be willing to pass me with extra space in the future so I can have some peace of mind?” I think that statement is far more powerful than debating the 4 foot passing law or who is right and wrong.

I know you can’t have that conversation with everybody, but if somebody pulls over or you get a chance to talk to somebody at a light, we can all bring out the humanity and vulnerability in ourselves for the purpose of advocating for more safe and cautious driving.

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