In Which This Cyclist Is Thankful He Wasn’t A Second Or Two Earlier

You might recall last week’s post in which my bike commute timelapse capturings allowed me to illustrate on a frame-by-frame basis the hyper-awareness of a praiseworthy motorist whose cautious attentiveness allowed him to anticipate the child cyclist darting out in front of his vehicle and avoid a collision.

This morning, it’s entirely the other way around. There is no praise or thanks for the southbound motorist who viewed her stop sign at 4th Street as merely a suggestion. Only disdain and incredulity. And a bargain bouquet of cusswords.

There’s several things worth noting if you click to magnificate: 1) In the first frame she’s nowhere near the crossing; 2) In the fifth frame (enlargement after the jump) her expression is just the beginning of her mid-intersection realization that she was in the midst of a total FAIL. Her look evolved into a wide-eyed and gape-mouthed “Ohhhh!” as she turned and saw me looming beside her driver’s side window.  3) Also in the fifth frame one can make out nice scrape along the car door, shining through like a white badge of lame that’s potentially illustrative of a collision earlier in her commute or perhaps a past poor parking job.

Fortunately the timing involved with her under-caffeinated lack of road rule obeyance was perfect as the only thing she plowed through was the empty space between my front tire and the rear bumper of the car in front of me that had the foresight to speed up enough to clear the intersection before she got there.

Had I been a couple seconds ahead of my position the images I would have captured and the angles involved would have been decidedly different.

So in closing, let’s all practice a little extra care out there. Back-to-school always seems to thicken up the traffic this time of year, and with it a fair share of dunderheads such as Exhibit A:

12 Replies to “In Which This Cyclist Is Thankful He Wasn’t A Second Or Two Earlier”

  1. “shining through like a white badge of lame”

    LOL. Nicely written. So glad you’re unharmed (and she’s been suitably shamed)!

  2. Shocking how often I see this happen. That said, is my sense of timelapse timing off (using the leading car as a reference), or may you have been opting out of stop sign usage as well?

  3. I like your shadow in the last frames, looking at the car after it passed; delivering that bargain bouquet of cusswords?

  4. I cannot tell a lie bobbo. I can say that I braked and slowed coming up to the limit line of my stop before seeing the vehicle, but I can’t say I effected a complete three-count cessation of motion.

  5. Love that last frame with your shadow in the intersection, head turned to look after the car. I’m imagining, “WTF?!”

  6. I’m really confused. Judging by what you’ve shown here (and I may be misinterpreting something), you approached a 4-way stop for which the rule is “yield to whoever reached intersection first”. The other car reached and entered the intersection before you–and therefore had the right of way. You blew through the stop sign and almost hit her.

    I’m thankful you weren’t a second or two earlier, too, but I don’t see how this driver would have had the slightest liability to your estate had you been a second or two earlier, and probably would have gotten that scratch repaired with the rest of the damage on your family’s dime.

  7. Question: Was there some sort of clandestine bicycle race this past Sunday? I was stopped at Hauser & Wilshire when three distinct packs of 10-15 cycles in each blew by. One tearing down Wilshire, the other making a left on Hauser from Wilshire and the third coming south on Hauser and blowing through the RED light AND through traffic to cross Wilshire.

    I’m all for the spirit of clandestine races on city streets, but it’s not so good for public relations when cars come to a screeching halt to avoid a pack of bikes running though a red light on a street like Wilshire.

    BTW – These folks didn’t look like what one might term “hipsters”. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap any photos with my cell. I thought it was pretty cool, except for the bit about lack of safety.

    Hm?… Maybe they were re-enacting that movie with Kevin Bacon from the 80’s. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091814/

  8. Agh, having to spell this out is something distastefully akin to explaining a pun. But as apparently I’m so lame that I can’t describe a sky as blue without someone saying “bullshit, it’s fucking red!” I’ll give it a go robb:

    The woman did not stop at the stop sign. Maybe it’s just me, but before getting to the “whoever reaches first” stage of the intersection game it’s helpful if someone operating a 3,000-pound vehicle actually obeys the posted signage before claiming the right of way. She did not obey the posted signage. She recklessly blew into the intersection AT SPEED as if it was not there, slowing only slightly after passing me in the realization of her FAIL.

    Indeed, I’m one of those bicycling loserjerks who will never be accorded respect and consideration by a certain faction of disgruntled motorists because — gasp! — neither did I not completely stop at my stop sign. But I did not blow through it. I rolled, but I did not blow. And if a car arrives at an intersection ahead of me I graciously do not prevent it from the right of way that is its to claim. Instead in this case, I braked and slowed approaching my limit line and I then proceeded across it into the intersection as she busted on through.

    If I’ve still left it unclear that had I been 20 or 30 more feet ahead, the front of her vehicle coupled to her FAILURE TO STOP would have done serious renovations to the starboard side of my “estate” well then I give up: the sky is fucking red.

  9. We can and should point out the driving ‘tards, but it’s not likely that they’ll change their behavior. I’m afraid the onus is on us bikers to ride ultra defensively, which may sometimes mean stopping and looking even longer than we’d like to at stop signs, not for the sake of legalism, but for our own safety. Maybe Hummer, now that its sales are going buh-bye, should design and produce a tank-like bicycle that fully encases the rider in a shell of titanium and carbon fiber.

  10. Will: It’s kinda like criticizing someone’s grammar online. If you’re gonna point out someone else’s typo, you better make damned sure your post is perfect.

    Same thing with posts like this. If you yourself are not obeying the law, you can’t really complain about her.

  11. But see Ben, here’s the thing: It’s not about feeling some need to be faultless before speaking my peace. If that were the rule, I’d be reduced to writing opinions about… pocket lint and Michael Vick. Where you take issue with my honestly admitting I did not follow the letter of the law in coming to a three-count standstill, I have no problem calling bullshit from down below the moral high ground you would require in order for me to watch this woman barrel through the intersection and then consider her actions as reckless and negligent.

    What a sanctimonious and sallow world that would be if perfection had to preface any witness being borne against a wrong observed.

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