Dumb Moves: Obliviousness

I’ve had two “where’s the video camera when I need it!” moments in 2 days.

Yesterday

Brad Kuhn (the ED of the new Central Florida FBA chapter) and I were riding back from Maitland on Denning when we witnessed the most bizarre stupid-cyclist-trick I’ve yet seen.

The cyclist was riding just right of center in the right lane, but he kept looking over his shoulder and wobbling toward the lane line, then back. It looked like he wanted to change lanes and make a left turn. I kept expecting him to swoop. A few times he drifted a couple feet into the left lane, but he passed each intersection without turning, and eventually drifted back to the right lane. Several times, he took both his hands off the handlebars and let them swing at his side. At one point, a car that had just passed us, had to brake in confusion as this cyclist was aimlessly riding in the left lane with no signal or show of his intentions. The cyclist went back to the right lane and the car passed.

When we approached the red light at Fairbanks, he split the lanes and began to wander between the 2 short queues of cars (2 vehicles in each lane). As he was doing this, the light turned green. The first car went through, the cyclist then pointed to his left and pulled in front of the second vehicle (a dump truck) and turned left across its path onto Fairbanks. The dump truck went straight.

Brad and I just looked at each other incredulously. I can’t, for the life of me, find any logic (even faulty logic) for that guy’s behavior. He looked like the college-student demographic. He wasn’t doing the routine of staying out of the way which results in the bizarre behavior I typically see. Perhaps he was drunk or stoned? Thank goodness he wasn’t driving a vehicle that could hurt someone else.

Today

This morning I thought about running a camera. I was headed up toward the Winter Park Hospital area. Glenridge and Lakemont often provide teachable moments and interesting occurrences. But alas, I was too lazy to rig it up. Sure enough, I was almost sideswiped on Glenridge. An SUV passed me about a foot and a half away and then drifted 2 feet into the bike lane directly in front of me. I see this type of thing several times a year (it’s happened on Glenridge several times), so I had two immediate thoughts, “Grrr! I should have put the camera on!” and then, “Holy #@$%!!! That was close!” Or maybe not in that exact order.

I’m pretty sure that driver didn’t even register that I was there. It looked like a mindless drift as we were entering the curve, there was no swerve action or correction. It’s frightening to think one could be so checked out while operating a vehicle that can hurt someone else. Thank goodness I wasn’t farther into the curve when he passed me, I might not be sitting here writing this.

I used the Glenridge bypass on my return trip.

22 replies
  1. Grayson Peddie
    Grayson Peddie says:

    No wonder that cyclist with unacceptable behavior should be ticketed for reckless riding in a bike and not having one of his hands on the handlebar. LOL!

    But then there’s no logic to this case and it’s not funny at all. 🙁

  2. ToddBS
    ToddBS says:

    I think idiocy from the saddle makes me more angry than idiocy from behind the wheel sometimes. The latter is almost expected.

  3. Rick
    Rick says:

    I had a similar experience on Glenridge a while back. It was partially my fault because I was going too fast. It was another SUV (same one??) that was making a right toward Baldwin Park and felt that the bike lane was a turn lane. It’s never fun. She almost had to buy a near side view mirror!!

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      It’s appropriate (actually legally required) for a motorist to merge into the bike lane before turning right. MERGE being the operative word, as in look and yield to bicycles that are in it. Somehow they miss that part. I was almost nailed 3 times on Edgewater by motorists suddenly veering into the bike lane to use it to pass stopped traffic (with an incidental right turn at the end of the block). Now, if traffic is stopped or sluggish, I usually pick a parallel route rather than pass it in a bike lane.

      The problem I have on Glenridge is with motorists cutting the curve into the bike lane. Which, again, wouldn’t bother me so much if there wasn’t a cyclist (ME!) in it. They’d have hissy fits if I just claimed the lane, but at least they’d NOTICE me!

      • Serge Issakov
        Serge Issakov says:

        Yet another incident showing how bike lanes make bicyclists less relevant to others and so more likely to be overlooked.

        We’re all enamored with the traffic orderliness that is associated with lanes, but the problem with bike “lanes” is that they are not perceived as traffic lanes but as unused buffer space at the edge of the road, like a shoulder. You know, space that one can safely drift into briefly while attending to a distraction like finding Howard on the Sirius dial.

        The combination of the two factors all too often leads to the tragic unintended drift into the unnoticed bicyclists in the bike lane or shoulder.

        Because I find bike lanes to be too far right anyway, and for the reason above, I generally avoid riding in bike lanes, except to move aside temporarily to allow someone who has noticed me, and those immediately following him or her, to pass me. But once they’ve passed, I’m back out in the traffic lane, thank you very much.

  4. Carlos
    Carlos says:

    Hi Keri. I think I saw you around 5:45pm today at the corner of Lawton and Executive. If it was you, we waved and smiled at each other as I passed by.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      Hi Carlos! Yes, that was me! I was coming back from Publix. Cool! Were you headed home from work?

      Thanks for the wave and smile and for popping on here 🙂

      • Carlos
        Carlos says:

        Yes. I work in the office buildings there and live in Baldwin Park. Only about a 2 mile commute. I’ve been cycling just about everyday for the past 2 months. Your sites really helped me out and given me the courage to get out on the road. Thanks!

  5. acline
    acline says:

    I’m glad to see you’re still sitting there writing. Hmmmm… now what would happen if you were to report that driver for violating Florida’s 3-foot law? I assume you didn’t because it would be useless to do so. Not to get you started on a rant or anything 🙂

    And as for the “cyclist,” well, that’s why blogs should give Darwin Awards! 🙂

  6. Rick
    Rick says:

    Hey Keri, Thanks for the education. I did not know that motorists were supposed to merge into the bike lane. I was feeling a little possesive of “my” lane.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      Been there 🙂

      It’s definitely better if they merge (properly and safely) than if they suddenly turn across our path and hook us.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      Another thought on this topic. I typically leave the bike lane before intersections. This is especially critical at intersections where a significant percentage of traffic turns right (a few examples: Glenrdge eastbound at General Rees, Lakemont northbound at Whitehall, Livingston eastbound at Summerlin, Rosalind at Robinson).

      Right hooks aren’t the only reason to leave the bike lane. Left cross crashes are common, too. Especially if thru traffic obscures the left-turning motorist’s view of you. If you can’t see oncoming traffic as you approach an intersection, move left until you can, and you know they can see you.

      @Lyle, thanks for those links!

      • fred_dot_u
        fred_dot_u says:

        I know better, Keri, but I envision you riding, in the land of perpetual intersections, by moving out of the bike lane prior to entering an intersection, then re-entering the bike lane once clear. Uh oh, one hundred feet ahead is another intersection… That’s akin to weaving and I’m only exaggerating, because I know what you mean.

        In a reverse manner, I see people on bikes, riding in the bike lane, then weaving more to the right when crossing an intersection, then weaving back into the bike lane. Scary people, no wonder other road users are uncomfortable with bikes on the road.

        • Keri
          Keri says:

          Yeah, the workload gets on my nerves in a hurry. That’s why I try to avoid bike lanes for the most part. There is a stretch of Edgewater where I just claim the lane for several blocks because the BL is so conflict-ridden and moving in and out of it lane is a pain in the ass.

          I know the roads I use and the traffic patterns on them. There are some intersections where I always leave the BL, often moving all the way to next to the center line (for visibility). Otherwise, usually at least move onto, or a little over, the line. And always at least a glance behind on the approach.

          But aside from knowing where most traffic turns, you can still get caught off-guard. I’ve been almost hooked and crossed by people entering their driveways on Lakemont. Now if traffic is backed up, I use a parallel street rather than that bike lane.

  7. Arch Bernard
    Arch Bernard says:

    I used to ride with a kid who did just that kind of dumb stuff. His name is Nick, and the way you told it, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if that was him you saw. Whenever he and I rode together, he gave shoddy directions, sometimes saying “left up here” then turning right, swaying into me, hopping his rear wheel and doing other kinds of erratic things, really close to me and then all of a sudden, being in the middle of the road. I ride in the road a lot, and I move pretty fast, and usually I feel safer with another person, but people like that make me feel like I would be safer riding alone in the middle of the night with no lights in a black hoodie than riding with them in midday. I think he does it just to be cool, but when I read the title “Dumb Moves” i thought of him.
    Green steel frame fixed gear bike with track drops.

    • ToddBS
      ToddBS says:

      fixed gear bike with track drops

      A lot of people riding that bike would behave the same way in the road, sadly. Which is not to say that fixed gear itself is bad. Just that that there is a certain element drawn to it that is not the vehicular cyclist that those of us commenting on this site espouse.

      • Arch Bernard
        Arch Bernard says:

        I like that word; espouse.
        I am generally a fan of anything with drop bars, but you’re right, the fixed gear culture doesn’t really bring any more responsible riders to cycling. I’ll keep my gears.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      I think his bike was red. Didn’t get close enough to notice if it had gears or not. It did have drop bars. He was completely unpredictable and hooked across the path of that dump truck like he had a death wish.

  8. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    I wonder if having a fixed gear bike creates in some riders the analog to “Must Pass the Cyclist” — “Must Keep Pedaling.”

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