Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Change for the Better

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  • Glen Koorey, in reply to izogi,

    | results in no conviction for off-duty bus driver

    Does anyone know why? The article doesn’t seem to make that clear.

    The article was misleading; sentencing is not until March. The driver is likely to apply for discharge without conviction but that doesn't mean they will get it.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2013 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to FletcherB,

    I take my right hand off the handlebar, and point with my finger and a horizontal fore-arm, moving it back and forward in a straight ahead direction (think choo-choo train motions). [--snip--] how many “undertake” me on the left as I expect compared to those who go past on the right and then cut dangerously across my path into the left turn lane? It’s about 5 to 1 proportion who make the wrong/dangerous/scary move….

    I'm trying to imagine how it looks, but if you've raised your arm and you're gesturing forwards, is it possible that some of the latter drivers might be interpreting that as you telling them they should go around you? Maybe they think you're trying to get them in front of you for some reason?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to izogi,

    So long as they see you, and don't really know what to make of it, that seems safer than just letting them presume that you're turning left because that would be more convenient for them.

    I have once signaled - I just did the standard arm out for right turn. It doesn't really matter that it's technically not a right turn, but going straight. Point is, they know you're going to get in their way, rather than slink to the kerb where you can be safely bullied around the corner.

    But I truly don't get much aggro from motorists. I don't know why. Perhaps I just look enough like a scary nutty bogan that I'm not worth the trouble. Or perhaps that makes me look just like them, a brother in arms.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Glen Koorey,

    The article was misleading; sentencing is not until March.

    Thanks. If so, that's terrible reporting to completely leave that out, state that he wasn't convicted, and give an impression that it's done and dusted and the man's been let off.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to izogi,

    is it possible that some of the latter drivers might be interpreting that as you telling them they should go around you? Maybe they think you’re trying to get them in front of you for some reason?

    Hmm.. I hadn’t considered that possibility?

    I’ve been doing it for about 6 months on a near daily basis, and it hasn’t invited incorrect/unexpected responses yet.. Perhaps Linger’s “Beware the lunatic” interpretation is more common? :D

    The hand is not so much raised, as simply left at it’s handle-bar level, and moved back and forth with the hand and elbow at the same height… and upon reflection… I’m not so much pointing one finger (which could be interpreted as a direction to others) as a flat palm/fingers/thumb all aligned (vertically) just as you would when giving a left or right turn signal.

    The intention (and hopefully interpretation by others?) is “this is where I’m going"…

    It wouldn’t be necessary at all, except ;

    1) many cyclist don’t give hand signals at all,

    which leads to

    2) many car drivers do not interpret a lack of signal as a lack of intention to turn… especially if you are on their left, and they are intending to turn left..

    Also an issue in not just this situation, but many others, is that many car drivers are completely crap at judging the speed of a bicycle… the reason they pull out in-front into a non existent gap, or overtake and then turn hard left into your path… sure, some of them don’t see you at all… some of them are being purposely intimidating… and some of them are just crap drivers and do it to cars as well as bikes… but I suspect most of them simply assume “bikes are slow” in their sub-conscious, and don’t realise that the bike may not be going near walking pace, and that it can easily be going three to five time faster than a walker without ANY level of fitness or effort on the riders behalf, and with some fitness/effort, can be going as fast as or even occasionally, faster than a car…

    Sure, I cant go 50km/h under my own power ( I can on a hill)… but I can do 30 or 40 km/h which is not that much slower than a car, especially in traffic… and can be faster than one slowing for a corner… Many corners that cars need to slow for can be taken without slowing by a cyclist, and this will catch many unawares…

    Of course, it is also upon my own recognisance to travel at speeds safe for the conditions… if traffic is stopped dead or slow moving, I’m not going to go shooting past it at maximum effort, even if theres a clear gap near the gutter or between lanes… but if traffic is free flowing… it surely should be safe for a cyclist to travel up to that same speed as cars, before other drivers have an excuse for mis-judging that speed?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to FletcherB,

    but I suspect most of them simply assume “bikes are slow” in their sub-conscious

    That much I'd believe. Even when driving I've noticed a distinct difference in the behaviour of other drivers at red lights based on the car I'm driving at the time. The 1989 Mazda 323 hatchback seems to get many more people pulling up in the lane beside at the lights, then speeding ahead when they change, instead of happily staying behind.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to BenWilson,

    So long as they see you, and don’t really know what to make of it, that seems safer than just letting them presume that you’re turning left because that would be more convenient for them.

    Definitely..

    I have once signaled – I just did the standard arm out for right turn. It doesn’t really matter that it’s technically not a right turn, but going straight. Point is, they know you’re going to get in their way, rather than slink to the kerb where you can be safely bullied around the corner.

    There you go, with your sensible solutions and recognisable hand signals... I was all set to change the world with my lunatic creativity. :0

    But I truly don’t get much aggro from motorists.

    No, me neither... sure, it's happened on one or two occasions... but simply "crap driving" and "not paying attention" are far more common... and I had the same complaints when I was commuting in my car... but I wasn't quite so vulnerable to other's inattention... the stakes are higher (for me) now...


    Just last night... going past the very intersection we were discussing above (Gt North Rd between Waterview and Avondale)... I was just across the BHB rd lights when a car passed me very closely... less than a meter to my right... I was sure they did it on purpose and were trying to be an ass.... but when I caught up to them at the next red light (Henry St/Victor St cross rd), the passengers window was open, so I politely( yes, really) suggested he leave more room next time.. I was expecting abuse, but was met with complete bewilderment... they simply were not aware or did not recall passing a cyclist half a km earlier, or recognise they may have done something scary for another road-user...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to FletcherB,

    they simply were not aware or did not recall passing a cyclist half a km earlier, or recognise they may have done something scary for another road-user

    The majority of my brushes have seemed this way. Simple failure to recognize danger. It's something that is hard to clearly acknowledge about driving, because it doesn't fit into a framework of official rules, that there are a lot of unwritten rules and norms of the road, which actually make it function. One of those is that the way a vehicle behaves is certainly noticed by drivers in a rather impersonal way - drivers are attuned to the intentions of other drivers, so even quite subtle road movements signal a lot. One of those subtle moves is "shrinking to the kerb". If someone looks like they're doing it, cars are instantly assessing how to get around what is likely to become an obstacle to them. If that obstacle makes them actually stop, particularly on that actual road (this happens to me all the time), then they can have quite a difficult job getting started again, so they will often instantaneously seek to overtake before their opportunity to do so is lost. If the vehicle is a bike, they could do this by not even fully going into the other lane.

    So I ride at all times like I am actually a vehicle, and I signal with road language every bit as much (in fact probably more) with that than with the official signals. I mean let's face it, a hand signal on a bike is actually a dangerous maneuver in its own right since it alters your balance.

    Taking the lane, on the other hand, is an unequivocal signal of your right to do something as a vehicle. I think that so long as you do it for a good reason (like safety), then drivers respect it. I don't do it to frustrate them, I do it to help them.

    I've found that standing up on the pedals is a very good signal to drivers. It makes you look bigger, which is eye catching. I often do it if I think a driver hasn't seen me. Until they do actually look at me, I presume they haven't seen me. They may think they've seen something - many people think their peripheral vision is much more acute than it actually is, but have mistaken what it is - I could be actually registering as a pedestrian.

    Peripheral vision is really quite a strange thing. An optical illusion tells us that it's much like the rest of our vision - we actually see it that way. When you look at a person, then look away, you still see a person there out of the corner of your eye. But it's actually the brain filling in the gaps. What the senses are registering is not necessarily that at all. So it can fill in a pedestrian if that is what the brain thought it saw. What the actual senses are attuned to is light differences and unexpected movement. Far enough out from straight ahead it's literally color blind. Not in a "can't tell red from green" way, but more a "can't tell any color at all" way. I can't personally even tell shapes much outside of about 45 degrees. Maybe size, although I'm not sure because there's no convergence or even focus to give us those cues.

    But it certainly can and does see a fast moving object rising up suddenly. I expect we have a strong survival mechanism tied to noticing predator movements. It will catch the eye involuntarily. That's enough - the brain will now fill in a cyclist when they look away.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    meanwhile new cycling infrastructure in Wellington has its detractors...
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/75315964/Wellingtons-Island-Bay-cycleway-has-left-residents-confused-and-angry

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Heh. Stuff didn’t just close the comment thread. They also seemed to wipe out 300+ comments in doing so. Someone must have gotten really sick of moderating.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This is still the case. And it really is some bullshit. Especially given that they'd undertaken not to disrupt the cycleway during the motorway-building.

    I've got bad news for you... an email reply from the project team, shared via comment at Bike Auckland:

    Additional works for this shared path have now been added to the current programme thus [sic] avoid future diversions and to save time for other contractors who will be working locally later next year. The diversion will now be in place until late February because of these newly scoped works. Signage will be implemented this week regarding the new date.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

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