Burnett Blvd at Rt 55: Passing on the Right, Redux

As usual, we’re at the Rt 55 end of Burnett Blvd, returning home from a grocery trip; I’m hauling two full bags of chow in the trailer. The white car pulling up immediately to our left will make a left turn from the left lane:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 01
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 01

The more distant white car, turning left out of Overocker, is eases past us in the right lane to make a right turn:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 02
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 02

We’re on the left side of the right lane, rather than the right, to avoid right hook collisions with drivers who flat-out do not stop before turning. Been there, had that happen, we know better.

The car approaching in the right lane will attempt to pass us on the right:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 03
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 03

That’s happened before, too, so I’m watching this happen in  my mirror. My line will pass to the right of the inconveniently placed manhole cover in the intersection:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 04
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 04

Mary’s nearing the right side of the lane, I’m in the middle, and the driver jams to a stop rather than run up over the sidewalk:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 05
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 05

The passenger window is rolling down, which is always a Bad Sign:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 06
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 06

It’s all the way down and I know what’s about to happen:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 07
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 07

So I preempt the discussion by pointing out she was passing in an intersection and the license plate on the silver Chevy say FEX-4194:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 08
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 08

She passes Mary and stops directly ahead of us in the middle of the right-hand lane. We jam to a stop behind her. The black car approaching us swerves into the middle lane:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 09
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 09

She pulls around the corner onto Manchester and stops in the intersection. I stop well behind her to remain visible from Rt 55, which turns out to be a Good Idea:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right Pass - 2017-09-19 - 10
Burnett at Rt 55 – Right Pass – 2017-09-19 – 10

Mary eases beside the drivers window, which rolls down. The driver says she’s going to call the police, “because we pulled directly in front of her”. Mary points out we have video of the entire encounter. The window rolls up and the driver pulls away.

Overocker, Burnett, and a short sprint on Rt 55 to Manchester is the only route from the grocery store to Rt 376 and home, so it’s not like we’re looking for trouble.

No helmet camera video, alas, because I tried those piece-of-crap Wasabi batteries in the Sony HDR-AS30V and the second one was flat-out dead. The first one, in the camera when I left home, showed empty after the half-hour ride to the grocery store, so they really are junk; “Premium Japanese cells” my foot.

17 thoughts on “Burnett Blvd at Rt 55: Passing on the Right, Redux

  1. Wow did you report them? I took some time from work to ride to enjoy the fall colors where I live in Vermont. I notice most car plates from one state/prov gave my buddy and myself plenty of space. Stay safe and happy riding

    1. Nothing to report, as it’s just impatience combined with poor trajectory planning. Given contemporaneous documentation, should the same driver do the same thing again, then it’s actionable.

  2. I would be nervous about getting within range of an angry person’s car door.

    It’s not always immediately clear to a motorist why bicyclists change position in the lane; some drivers never get a clue.

    Our local ARES group provided support vehicles for the local Bike MS event last weekend, and I got to observe a fair bit of defensive riding, where some riders would pull out of single-file to prevent passing in dangerous spots, then get back in line when an attempt was reasonable. The course was on pretty county roads with lots of turns and double yellow lines, and they had to do that to prevent a car being forced into the line of bikes and causing a major pileup.

    It would help if motorists were aware of the effects their actions pose to cyclists,

    1. Yeah, probably wasn’t the brightest idea, but Mary’s better at defusing such confrontations than I.

      Two lanes on Burnett turn into three on Rt 55: the dotted extension line between the Burnett lanes connects to the line between the leftmost two lanes on Rt 55. Apparently the driver expected us to continue along the dotted line into the center lane of Rt 55, rather than moving rightward to continue along the right side of the rightmost lane “where bikes belong”; she was going to pass us on the right, into the right lane, then make a right turn at the Old Manchester Rd intersection a few hundred feet away.

      Most folks figure this maneuver out, if only because we’re moving rightward away from the extension line through the entire intersection, but it’s never a sure thing. I keep watch in my mirror and put myself between the overtaking car and Mary’s trajectory; they must drive through me to get her. Given that it’s a fairly low-speed operation, drivers have plenty of time to decide what (not) to do.

      It would help if anybody in NYSDOT actually rode a bike. The bike rack in front of the NYSDOT HQ building (at that intersection!) never has a bike in it, so they’re definitely not dogfooding their designs.

  3. An idea for your consideration: make your bike w-i-d-e-r by fastening a coil spring to the rear of the bike, horizontally. Something like a screen door spring. Fasten carbide-tipped scribes to both ends of the spring. Hang miniature American flags from both projecting arms of the spring, to manifest the bike width (and add a patriotic touch). Any car which brushes you automatically gets “keyed.” The spring has enough flexibility to avoid interfering with your balance and steering, if/when it contacts the car.


    1. On a bike commute one day, I got behind somebody who had a puncture a bit too big for his Slime ™ filled inner tube. The cascade of gunk helped ensure nobody followed him too closely.

      A co-worker once lamented the lack of ability to legally open-carry a pistol while riding…

      1. Old biker t-shirt: “Honk if you’ve never seen a pistol fired from a motorcycle!”

    2. Oddly enough, I’ve sometimes thought of extending a carbide scribe from the seat frame. The truth is I don’t want to be destabilized by even a slight contact when somebody’s that close to my elbow. In any event, something sticking out looks entirely too much like a grab handle …

      Also, in this day & age, I definitely wonder if the American flag on my trailer marks me as a Trump supporter, regardless of my political leanings. [sigh]

  4. Since you have plenty of room on that 10ft long, 75lb bike why not mount a paintball gun on a turret clamped to the front fork? If somebody pulls another stunt like that one on you blast him/her and then the car is marked for easy identification by LEOs!

    1. Some folks surely wonder about the black cylinder in the blue turret on the fairing: the thing already looks like a B-29!

    2. ” I definitely wonder if the American flag on my trailer marks me as a Trump supporter…”

      Replace it with (or add) a Marine Corps flag…

      1. That’d definitely be traveling under false pretenses! Long ago and far away, the Selective Service System sent me a three digit number, which, being about as large as it could possibly be, eliminated several possible life histories.

        Starting in late 2001, I began retrieving small American flags from the roadside and have worked my way through the collection.


  5. Would it be worth gutting one of those junk batteries and converting it into a battery eliminator? Something with a pigtail cable connected to a readily available battery?

    1. That’s the overall plan: replace the Sony skeleton cage holding the camera to the helmet mount with something also holding an 18650 cell and snake a wire through the case to a gutted battery-as-connector inside.

      The battery hatch has so many moving parts there’s nowhere for a hole, which means I must mill a fairly long slot along one side. I must harden my heart before I clamp the camera down and have my way with it …

      1. Just an idea, dunno if it’s doable:
        Maybe don’t mill the camera, but drill the hole in it instead and then mill the slot in the battery case side so it can still slide in. You could then slide the cable through the hole, out the hatch, connect it to terminals of the gutted battery and slide the whole kludge back in.

        1. A hole seems better than a slot, although both require the cable to stick out the side, which means the camera can’t just slide into a wrap-around holder as it does now. A clamshell mount with screws could be a better idea all around: drop the camera sideways into the holder, with the cable passing through to the external battery, then snap the whole assembly onto the helmet with the standard sled.

          I’d feel better with a latch holding the rear cover in place, but it must also open easily to get the MicroSD card out. Fiddling with screws before / after each ride isn’t feasible.

          I haven’t yet torn down a dead battery to find out what’s inside. Most likely, I can just cut the cell free and solder wires directly to the terminal stubs; I don’t (yet) see any way to stuff non-crappy connectors inside the battery envelope.

Comments are closed.