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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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5,143 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I seriously thought I was going to see a cyclist and possibly one or more kids killed during my commute this morning - to the point of hitting the brakes pretty hard in anticipation of avoiding the aftermath of what almost was a horrible car-bicycle smash-up.

Part of my (car) commute is several miles of 6-lane divided hwy with a speed limit (lol) of 55. Traffic actually moves 70+ at all times. The road has a shoulder of maybe 1/4 lane width. I do see people cycling on it pretty regularly. I avoid doing so like the plague. I know better, because I drive it all the time. Even with traffic actually observing the speed limit, it's just to busy and dangerous. No one I've seen observes the limit, even the little old ladies. Terrible cycling road.

This morning, as the sun was rising, I observed a cyclist cross this road in a maneuver that would be called 'j-walking' if he wasn't on a bike. 'J-riding', maybe. Middle of the road, no nearby intersection/light, during rush hour, he takes a left from the shoulder and crosses at low speed 3 lanes in front of a pack of 70+mph traffic. Festival of brake lights - not a panic-stop, but close. I was a couple of ranks back in the pack and seriously thought I was about to see the man killed.

Instead, he went kind of diagonally across the road to enter a break in the divided highway where a turn lane offers access to a fire station to the oncoming 3 lanes. He braked to enter this, then proceeded to turn right to ride against oncoming traffic on the other side of the road. I passed just after that. There was an intersection with a light maybe another 1/4 mi down the road - I think he was headed for that but don't know. Also couldn't say why he didn't stay on the shoulder on the correct side of the road until he hit the light.

I can't remember the last time I witnessed someone do something this obviously and immediately suicidal. The part that really got me was this: the cyclist was pulling a trailer, of the type I most commonly see hauling CHILDREN. I couldn't see whether the trailer was occupied, and it may have been a cargo or pet-type rather than a child carrier. No reflectors or lights visible from the side. You could hardly see either the cyclist or the trailer in the low after-dawn light.

When I noticed the trailer, I'm pretty sure my heart stopped for a moment, as I'd already decided there was a good chance I'd be watching the cyclist die. Bad enough for him to risk his own life and the lives of the car-based commuters trying to avoid running him down. The idea of exposing a child to such needless danger boggles my mind.

Had something happened - and it may yet have - it would all have been on him and no one else. When I passed, he was cycling the wrong way against 3 lanes of 70+mph traffic, on the left-hand side of the road relative to the oncoming traffic - the worst possible place for a cyclist to be. Are people really this stupid?! I saw it and still can't quite believe it.

I always figured if I saw a car-bike collision, it would be the car's fault. This...man...proved that car drivers are not the only ones capable of breath-takingly bad judgement. This guy didn't even have the 'excuse' of being on the phone.

I'm glad the cyclist wasn't killed while I watched. I hope and pray the trailer he pulled held...anything but a kid, or any other living creature. I would have stopped to say something, but I didn't see a safe way to do so. It's a dangerous, high-speed road. I should have called 911, but failed to think of it in time. That was a total miss on my part, but even with near-immediate police response, it's my word against his as to what happened and why he should be taken off the road before a motorist does it permanently.

I post this as a reminder, and because I couldn't see what I did and not say something. I don't witness such near-hits often. Even more rarely do they appear to involve a child.

It's easy for cyclists to blame motorists for problems on the road, and it's true that motorists are often at fault. In this case, however, the shoe was firmly on the other foot. The cyclist made it across the road thanks to the lead drivers of the pack noticing him in the poor light and nailing their brakes when he started crossing. Without that, I'd have been explaining his idiocy to the accident investigators. It was that close. That stupid.

Please, think before you act, especially when dealing with Interstate-speed traffic. Things happen WAY too fast when closing speeds break into the 60-70mph range. Roads where this happens - legally or otherwise - are terrible choices for responsible, safe cyclists, much less suicidal idiots.

End of rant...sorry. This really bothered me. Even though it didn't happen, I keep seeing the cyclist's trailer creamed by some poor motorist with little/no reasonable chance of missing it :eek:. Can't imaine how that'd feel if I was the one to hit it, and there turned out to be a kid inside.
 

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Premium Member
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8,414 Posts
Don't beat yourself up for not calling for help; really, don't. You were not a party to whatever disaster that may have happened, and realistically, the police probbaly wouldn't have gotten there in time.

It angers me you need a license to operate car, boat, whatever but no test for having children.

Kill yourself, fine. Kids, that's just bad bushido right there.

Rest up, my friend. You're bound to see some more stupidity before the Zombie Apocalypse in December.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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5,143 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Don't beat yourself up for not calling for help; really, don't. You were not a party to whatever disaster that may have happened, and realistically, the police probbaly wouldn't have gotten there in time.

It angers me you need a license to operate car, boat, whatever but no test for having children.

Kill yourself, fine. Kids, that's just bad bushido right there.

Rest up, my friend. You're bound to see some more stupidity before the Zombie Apocalypse in December.
Knee,

Wow, thank you. Even though I knew it already, it's great to have someone I respect agree that there wasn't much of anything useful I could have done this morning. You're right about the police. I still wish I'd called them, and may do so yet.

I haven't been really shaken by something in a long, long time. I'll never forget the sick feeling of horror that washed over me when I saw the outline of that trailer behind the idiot-cyclist. Bad enough for him to involve innocent motorists in his suicide attempt. That there even might have been a child involved...too much.

I've no doubt there'll be plenty more stupidity to see before the zombies rise. Normally, I'm very good at the 'point and laugh' method of dealing with others' idiocy. Not so much this time. Thanks for your support.
 

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Premium Member
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5,352 Posts
That was indeed a horrible situation. Thankfully no ones life was lost or ruined.

There was nothing you could have done.
 

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Premium Member
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6,015 Posts
Wow, just, wow. I get very angry when I see people doing stupid things that may effect a child. My wife is worse. If you roll by with a child (of approporate size/age) and they are not in a car seat she will call the police.

Glad to hear no one was hurt and that you didn't have to see something that can not be unseen.

knee, yes, december....BRAINS!
 

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PureFix Fun
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64 Posts
simply amazes me how others don't think before they react. Sot it's legal to ride bicycles on the interstate where your at? I don't think in Indiana, it's legal at all. I can't imagine riding my bike down I-465. unbelievable.
 

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Premium Member
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1,830 Posts
Wow, that could've been tragic. I agree with Knee, go to sleep with a clear conscience!
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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5,143 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
simply amazes me how others don't think before they react. Sot it's legal to ride bicycles on the interstate where your at? I don't think in Indiana, it's legal at all. I can't imagine riding my bike down I-465. unbelievable.
The speeds are Interstate-like, but it's just a divided hwy. It's worse than an Interstate because the shoulder is only 1/4 the width of a lane, unlike the typically full-lane width shoulder on the Interstate. Given the choice, I'd cycle on the Interstate in an instant over trying to attempt this road. It's even more dangerous, imo, due to the speeds being just as high but without a full shoulder.
 

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Registered
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1,104 Posts
Wow! It had to have been a horrible experience! I prefer to think the trailer was for hauling groceries and not kids!
 
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