Impatient drivers are doing something odd

So I am on a narrow two lane road and I want to turn left. I am positioned so far to the left of the lane that most cars could pass me on the right, but there are cars coming the other way, so I can’t turn. I am riding very slowly waiting for the oncoming cars to clear, but my foot isn’t down yet.

A car is coming from behind me. I still have my arm out straight. Since Mighk told me my signals were deficient, I’ve been working on them, so the left arm really is out straight.

The last car in the oncoming lane clears, so now I can make the left turn and as I do, I see in my peripheral vision the car behind me starting to pass me on the LEFT. Fortunately, he then realizes the near collision and swings right to pass me as I make the turn.

This has happened three or four times in the last month and not in not the same place and it is beginning to scare me a little. Don’t the drivers know when I hold my left arm out and almost stop at an intersection that I intend to turn left?

I don’t think they do.

7 replies
  1. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Indeed, I believe some younger drivers have no idea what hand signals mean. Yet another example of technologically induced incompetence.

    Carol and I have had a number of incidents turning left into our own driveway with motorists passing on the left as we plainly signal our turns. (We’re on Mills, which has a double yellow centerline.) We make it a habit of being more cautious if there is no traffic in the on-coming lane to discourage illegal passing. Look back and make eye contact; perhaps a “stay back” signal, too.

  2. Darrell Noakes
    Darrell Noakes says:

    An insurance company conducted a survey in Canada a few years ago and reported that 60% of drivers do not understand hand signals.

  3. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    “And this is why ‘vehicular cycling’ will get you killed…”

    Assuming that comment wasn’t being ironic…
    Uh, no.
    Only 8 percent of local cyclist/motorist crashes involve a roadway cyclist operating by the rules of the road (and many of those crashes could have been avoided using the skills that we promote).
    Of the 17 cyclist deaths in Orange, Seminole and Osceola in 2003 and 2004, NONE involved a roadway cyclist obeying the rules of the road.
    These numbers are from a report I did for Metroplan Orlando. You can find it at:

  4. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    “And this is why ‘vehicular cycling’ will get you killed…”

    I suppose that the only real danger VC is exposed to is incompetent motorists, as this essay illustrates.

    No doubt Eric would have avoided this particular danger if he had executed his turn from the sidewalk, but he would have risked a legion of other grave hazards.

    From your comment it seems that you think VC advocates are saying that proper traffic skills would cause a cyclist to avoid exposure to any danger at all. What a foolish notion!

    Vehicular cycling is the most dangerous style of cycling- except for all the rest! And even from a gross statistical standpoint, cycling is not a very dangerous activity in the first place, even with most cyclists not exercising “best practices”.

  5. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    This has only been a problem for me when there is no oncoming traffic to wait for. Motorists who are overtaking me don’t seem to expect a left turn, signal or not.

    But if there is opposing direction traffic on a two lane, I start my turn as close behind the last car as is practicable, as the traffic behind me has to wait a slight moment for them to clear before starting his pass attempt to the left. Opposing traffic protects me from a surprise overtake.

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