## It’s Right on Red After Stopping

I’m returning home after accompanying Mary to her morning of volunteering in the Locust Grove veggie gardens. The Locust Grove gate faces predominantly left-turning traffic from Beechwood Avenue, so I’ll be watching the vehicles approaching head-on.

T = 0.000 – Signal turns green:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0135

T = 2.500 – Entering the intersection:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0270

I don’t start pedaling until the signal in my direction actually turns green, because drivers have been known to blow through intersections with a fresh red signal. Two seconds seems like a reasonable delay.

T = 5.500 – Three lanes later, nearing the midline of Rt 9 and still accelerating:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0465

T = 5.917 – The black car in the right lane is moving and I begin to look that way:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0490

I cannot tell from the video whether the driver actually stopped (as you’re required to do for “right on red after stop“, but nobody actually does) or just slowed into a rolling stop for the turn.

Why not slam to a stop in the middle of Rt 9 in front of the left-turning traffic? Come for a ride with me and we’ll try that out. I’ll shout “LOOK OUT!” at some inopportune time when you’re in the middle of traffic and not expecting it, whereupon you must hit the brakes and deal with the consequences.

T = 7.117 – One second later, I’m beginning to veer left, directly toward the stream of oncoming traffic turning toward me:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0562

In round numbers, the black car moved 35 feet in 1.2 s between those frames: 30 feet/s = 20 mph.

T = 7.750 – The white car on my right continues turning and I’ll definitely clear its rear:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0600

The black car has moved another 15 feet in 633 ms: 24 feet/s = 16 mph.

I’m wearing the vest part of my fluorescent green jacket over a fluorescent green shirt with fluorescent green gloves. By now, I think I’ve been sighted, at ten feet and closing.

T = 8.383 – The only clear area lies directly ahead of the oncoming silver car:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0638

T = 9.000 – I’m approaching the yellow line, probably won’t sideswipe the silver car, and the black car is now braking:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0675

T = 9.583 – The black car has nearly stopped:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0710

The wide-angle lens on the HDR-AS30V makes it look like I had plenty of room. The Fly6 rear camera shows why I had reason for concern:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – rear camera – 0323

I’m still moving, the black car is slowing:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – rear camera – 0332

T = 9.767 – Props to this driver for not starting quickly:

Rt 9 Locust Grove – Right on Red – front camera – 0781

Elapsed time: four seconds from spotting the black car not stopping in the right-turn lane.

I moved back to the right side of the lane and continued the mission, but decided I didn’t need a jaunt across town to the rail trail before the rain set in to get my heart rate up.

1. #1 by bonnev659 on 2016-04-09 - 13:24

Holy crap! I almost got hit walking home lady backup without locking i just stood and stair at her and kept walking are you going to report this?

• #2 by Ed on 2016-04-09 - 16:15

I’ve never heard of anybody getting a ticket for a rolling stop that didn’t involve other infractions. Given that I lived to tell the tale, there’s nothing to report.

The black car gave me plenty of clearance when passing, so I’ll write it off as Yet Another Distracted Driver. Plenty of that going around: a guy blew past a red-flashing stopped school bus yesterday while I was walking out for milk & eggs…

• #3 by bonnev659 on 2016-04-09 - 17:59

Ya i hear you stay safe

2. #4 by jim oslislo on 2016-04-10 - 11:41

Even though you reported that those flashing LED’s for bikes are illegal, you’ve had quite enough close calls to risk whatever legal penalties (however unlikely) and attach them to your bikes so distracted drivers notice you a little better.

• #5 by Ed on 2016-04-10 - 15:31

I’ve set the Fly6 rear camera to its most conspicuous blink mode at full brightness and usually (although, IIRC, not this time) run a 5 LED white blinky on the front. If they’re truly illegal, we’ve got plenty of company!

When the driver looks up from the phone, the blinkies plus the fluorescent shirt should be sufficiently attention-getting … [sigh]

In truth, given the amount of riding we do, close calls like that are surprisingly rare. Perhaps that’s because our ‘bents (and, perhaps, their riders) look so weird that everybody takes a second look?

3. #6 by hexley ball on 2016-04-15 - 11:44

• #7 by Ed on 2016-04-15 - 15:33

Every time I could use a horn, I’m compute-bound: I need my full attention (and both hands) to not die right then and there.

Sometimes I can get a good shout going, but that doesn’t make much impression inside a car… [sigh]

• #8 by hexley ball on 2016-04-15 - 16:11

Get a generic heart rate monitor strap,
Whip up an interface circuit that reads the heart rate, and
when d(heart rate)/dt spikes, trigger a solenoid or something that blows the horn for you!

You might even get a column or two out of it between the electronics and the electro mechanical side of it.

OK, maybe that is a bit far-fetched. But if you are truly compute bound (understandably), surely there is a technology solution that could be applied. The interesting question is how to detect when you are in extremis. Maybe the bike itself can tell — if you are braking hard, then an accelerometer would work; if you are swerving then a gyroscope would work.

It will be great when MIPS/watt gets to the point where we can have real-time image processing in a bike-friendly module. Then with a few cameras you can be warned of approaching threats, whether front, side, or rear.

Or if we wait long enough, there will be smart roads and smart cars and smart bikes and everybody will just play nice. Right.

• #9 by Ed on 2016-04-15 - 20:35

real-time image processing in a bike-friendly module

Garmin makes a rear-facing radar unit with a handlebar-mounted indicator showing what looks like way too little information. Around here, they’d be displaying the maximum threat level pretty much all the time.

I think it’s an expensive and inadequate replacement for a helmet mirror, but maybe that’s just me.

Smart cars seem like a great way to eliminate distracted driving, by eliminating “driving”.