We’re bicycling on Collegeview Avenue, approaching the eastern traffic circle (of three) along Raymond Avenue. I’m in the lead, hauling a trailer with the week’s groceries:
The four digit frame numbers tick along at 60 fps for my helmet camera and 30 fps for the rear cameras.
Note the “splitter” (a.k.a. “pedestrian refuge”) on the left, intended to separate Collegeview’s incoming and outgoing traffic. It formerly had one non-reflective black bollard on each side of the ladder crosswalk, but errant drivers destroyed so many bollards along Raymond that they’re now WONTFIX remnants. The flush concrete disk in the lower left of this picture will become relevant in a few seconds of real time:
Collegeview has the same deteriorating pavement as found along Raymond Avenue, so we must maneuver beside the potholes:
The potholes make maintaining a safe-ish distance from the parked cars somewhat difficult:
All of us are slowing to stop at the traffic circle, with Mary behind the car that will eventually stop beside me:
Mary could see the car behind her in her helmet mirror, but she’s slowing to stall speed with no time for sightseeing and no room for maneuvering. The view from the camera on the seat frame behind her left shoulder:
Two seconds later:
Two more seconds:
Mary has stopped, as shown by the parked car’s unchanging position in the frame over on the left in the next images. The driver, however, continues creeping slowly forward; there can be no doubt she sees Mary at this distance.
After three more seconds:
One second later, the front wheel is exactly at Mary’s left foot:
The same events, viewed from the camera on my bike, start less than one second from the 1522 image above. I’m stopped, while the driver next to me continues to roll forward.
Mary is extending her left leg in preparation for a complete stop, at about the same time as the 1078 image:
Three seconds later her toe touches the pavement, while both she and the driver continue moving forward very slowly:
Five seconds later, she is stopped with her foot firmly planted:
And the driver continues moving:
Another five seconds and the sidewall bulge of the car’s radial tire is pressing her foot to the pavement:
A closer look:
She yanks her foot away:
While the driver continues to creep forward:
Sometimes, it’s the only way to get some attention:
Mary is now off-balance, leaning on the car door, explaining what just happened:
Mary regains her balance as the driver backs cautiously away:
Were the bollard still atop that sad concrete foundation, the driver might not have driven up on the splitter to get around Mary, if only to avoid scuffing a fender:
Compare this clearance with what you saw earlier in the 0957 image:
Mary can’t get far enough away, but this must suffice:
Now the driver can pass her again with more clearance:
I pointed to the car, then to the circle, and shouted “GO!” because neither of us wanted to be in front of that particular driver:
We’ll surely meet her again, ideally with more clearance.
Henceforth, we will take the middle of the lane into splitters, as cyclists should do on a “shared” roadway. I was assured by the DOT engineer who designed Raymond Avenue that it’s all “standards compliant”, so this is what NYS DOT regards as “making their highway systems safe and functional for all users”.
Having amateur radio HTs on the bikes lets us talk with each other in real time, which is a definite asset when stuff like this happens.
Not to mention having cameras here, there, and everywhere.
Elapsed time from the first to the last picture: 33 s.
For the record: blue Ford (although the ersatz fender vents seem reminiscent of an old Buick), license ANC-4273.
7 thoughts on “Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue: Zero Clearance”
Similar experiences led me to imagine fashioning a horizontal flagpole projecting a foot from the left side of the bicycle. The flagpole would support an American flag. The outboard end of the flagpole is a carbide-tipped scribe. Careless or aggressive motorists will scratch their own paint. The flagpole would be secured to the bike with a flexible mount so, if contact is made, the pole will deflect rather than break.
Based on past experience: anything that looks like a handle will be grabbed …
Yet another reason why there should be periodic random driving test requirements. There are way too many people with a driver’s license that means little to anything.
I can imagine many causes, from “distracted driving” to “teaching Mary a lesson”, but I doubt there’s any way to preemptively weed out such drivers.
We have long since given up any expectation NYSDOT will pay more attention to bicycle-friendly (heck, even bicycle-aware) design.
Seems like a good application for a ball-peen hammer.
Yeah, except bicyclists already get killed with impunity, so escalation won’t get you to a better place.
I favor reducing the number of car parking slots at all DOT facilities by 10% per year, but that’s just me.
Comments are closed.