Saturday, April 25, 2009

Perception VS. Reality

After the incident with with Mr. Maniac as described in the previous post, and while I was calming myself down, a motorist pulled onto the road behind me from a side street after yielding as I passed.

She remained behind me for about 20 seconds and, as we approached the stop sign at Martin Luther King Street, she started to pass. It is obvious she has mis-judged the space available before the stop sign, because there wouldn't be room to get by in time to clear me! I am already wondering if she will encounter opposing traffic before she can clear the intersection, since she will be in the oncoming traffic lane at the stop sign.

So with about two car lengths from the intersection, I begin slowing while she is alongside me in the next lane. There is a stop sign on our road and the cross traffic does not stop. Thus, I am astonished when she guns it- turning sharply enough to make her tires squeal as she makes a right turn at the intersection at about 20 MPH. I am forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision with her!

In all the other times that this has happened to me, (An overtake attempt too close to an intersection with traffic control signs or devices) the offender strands himself in the wrong lane, impeding opposing traffic and enduring the embarrassment of his predicament until the intersection clears.

There seems to be a compulsion by some motorists to pass cyclists in the road. This lady seemed to perceive that I was going slower than I actually was, even though she had followed behind and paced me for a short period of time. Apparently, she also thought that the space available up to the intersection was greater than it really was. She must have poor decision making skills at the least, or she is unable to operate outside of her pre-conceived expectations. I have no doubt that she would describe herself as a good driver, though!

Maybe she didn't expect a bicycle to be using the space a motor vehicle would. Maybe she didn't expect me to be traveling at 15 MPH. She panicked when reality asserted itself and she found herself in the wrong lane at the intersection.

This is the first right-hook that has happened to me in Texas! To put it another way, it is the first right-hook in more than 13,000 miles of cycling.


(a) The operator of a vehicle approaching an
intersection with a stop sign shall stop


(a) To make a right turn at an intersection, an
operator shall make both the approach and the turn as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

Sec. 545.103. SAFELY TURNING

An operator may not turn the vehicle to enter a
private road or driveway, otherwise turn the vehicle from a direct course, or move right or left on a roadway unless movement can be made safely.


(a) An operator passing another vehicle:

(2) may not move back to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the passed vehicle.


(a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

All of these and other traffic offenses were violated in order to avoid a ten second delay. How silly is that?

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