Road Conditions: 695 Rt 44 Squeeze Play

You can’t hear the horn that’s been honking for the last few seconds (sequence numbers = 1/60 s) as we approach 695 Dutchess Turnpike (a.k.a. Rt 44, a.k.a. NYS Bike Route 44):

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - front camera - 0113

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – front camera – 0113

You’ll note my fluorescent green shirt reflected in all that chrome. You can’t see the groceries tucked into the two under-seat bags; I’m not towing the trailer.

He gave us a surprising amount of clearance, given the aggressive honking:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - front camera - 0186

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – front camera – 0186

That’s one reason I ride a bit to the left of Mary’s track.

We’re riding to the left of the fog line along that stretch of Rt 44, because the upcoming shoulder and right edge aren’t usable. Despite that, the honking pushed Mary over the decaying fog line:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - front camera - 0369

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – front camera – 0369

She crossed back before the worst part, although the camera doesn’t do justice to the 3D aspect of the crumbling asphalt:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - front camera - 0489

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – front camera – 0489

If you think that pavement doesn’t seem all that bad, let’s go for a ride, OK?

The events behind us show what happens when somebody in a really big vehicle really wants to squeeze past a bicyclist in a constricted lane.

Looks like he’s easing over enough to get by (sequence numbers = 1/30 s):

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - rear camera - 0155

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – rear camera – 0155

Looks snug, but I’ve seen worse:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - rear camera - 0185

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – rear camera – 0185

That was close, but perhaps not atypical for Hummer drivers:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - rear camera - 0257

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – rear camera – 0257

Now he can rev up and cross the double-yellow line:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - rear camera - 0305

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – rear camera – 0305

Total elapsed time from first honk to when I finished shouting out the license plate: 16 s.

At the next traffic signal and the better part of 70 s from the first honk, he turned left and we turned right, pretty much simultaneously:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - rear camera - 2274

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – rear camera – 2274

In lighter news, the green-painted manhole cover suggests some construction may be in-plan:

Rt 44 at 695 - H2 Overtaking - front camera - 0697

Rt 44 at 695 – H2 Overtaking – front camera – 0697

I’m not holding my breath for an improvement over the status quo, though.

Part of the problem may be that Hummers aren’t nearly the fashion statement they used to be; that failed Chinese deal didn’t help their image in the least.

FWIW and much to my surprise, H2s have chickenshit horns …

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  1. #1 by Jason Doege on 2016-03-28 - 08:35

    You seem to be getting nice clear images of license plates, now. I hope that never becomes useful.

    • #2 by Ed on 2016-03-28 - 09:22

      The camera takes much better pictures in bright sunlight and those old blue-on-white plates have great contrast. Perhaps applying a yellow filter to Empire Gold (blue-on-amber) plates would improve the results.

      Suffice it to say I practice my image-processing skills and expect to use them only for trivial purposes…

  2. #3 by madbodger on 2016-03-28 - 09:59

    Why shout out the license plate? Psychological warfare?

    • #4 by Ed on 2016-03-28 - 10:07

      The camera records audio: if the picture doesn’t tell the complete story, I have backup.

      It’s a good way to channel the adrenaline rush and, yes, reminding the driver that license plates are a thing seems useful.

  3. #5 by Red County Pete on 2016-03-28 - 11:03

    Hummers (mostly H2s, but a very few H3s) were popular around the small city (pop 20K), but have fallen out of favor. They used to be popular amongst the doctors and others who Had To Get There, but now there’s only a handful around. With no GM dealerships for 100 miles, they hit their Sell By date quickly. OTOH, lots of Subarus and AWD Hondas are on the local roads. Unless the snow is really deep, I’ll take a Forester over the Chevy pickup. On a side note, the Eyesight system on the 2016 works quite well. Lane departure is iffy on snow-covered wet roads, but that’s the biggest downside. Makes long drives a lot easier.

    • #6 by Ed on 2016-03-28 - 11:20

      doctors and others who Had To Get There

      I think that was surely some of the appeal, although the H2 and H3 probably have the same snow handling as their underlying truck / SUV chassis. The ones around here seem way shinier than you’d expect if they ever ventured off-pavement.

      We enjoy the luxury of cowering indoors at the slightest hint of impending snowfall …

  4. #7 by Vedran on 2016-03-31 - 14:26

    That’s one reason I ride a bit to the left of Mary’s track.

    Just an idea… If you attached a fake sidecar (or outrigger, I’m not really sure what it would be called) sculpted from some light material (EPS foam comes to mind) you could ride more to the right and still cause drivers to give you clearance but without the added risk. If someone clipped the outrigger it would simply break off and you’d be no worse for the wear.
    Of course it would add some bulk, but maybe it wouldn’t be significant when you take into consideration the size of bent

    • #8 by Ed on 2016-03-31 - 15:27

      Truth be known, nearly everybody gives us plenty of room. The ones who don’t either wouldn’t care about an outrigger or might regard it as a target.

      To my surprise, the “camera on helmet” is instantly recognizable. I’d planned to mount it on the bike, but having it right on top seems to produce better mmm combat outcomes.