Thursday, March 14, 2013

Payback

I was riding to Healdsburg today to grab a few things this morning. At the last second, I decided to grab my helmet camera. Usually - 99% of the time, my rides are uneventful. Today was not.

I approached a 4 way stop - and this happened.

I followed the driver for 2 primary reasons - to make sure I had the license plate on film, and to get the driver's face on video. I didn't expect the driver to tell me that she drove into my path in order to get payback for some prior wrong. I'm pretty sure I've never met this woman and certainly don't recall personally buzzing her in the crosswalk. To me this is a tacit admission that she did what she did intentionally with complete disregard for my safety.

Note that I rolled up to the stop sign about the same time as another car, and did a foot down stop and let two cars go through first, and entered the intersection before the offending car even hit the stop line. So much for the theory that if cyclists "just behaved" that then they would get respect.

This happened in Healdsburg, in Sonoma County. Sonoma County has passed a law to protect cyclists from intentional harassment from motorists which I think would apply here if I were in unincorporated Sonoma County. I was in Healdsburg, which does not fall under that umbrella - yet. On May 6th however, Healdsburg will a similar ordinance which I hope will pass.

14 comments:

Yokota Fritz said...

And people claim drivers never drive like they do to be punitive.

Maestro said...

Good on you for following up!

Cameron Stewart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cameron Stewart said...

Also looks like she speeds through a school slow zone at the 44 second mark. Assuming the cyclist is going between 15-20 MPH at that point, the driver was going significantly faster...

Unknown said...

@cameron

Judging by the audio, and how fast I know murph can go, he was probably going 25mph. The car had to be going atleast 35-40.

murphstahoe said...

Not going 25 on the city bike with a full load. Besides - it was a school zone where 15 MPH is the speed limit which I would obey.

I guess we could pull the strava track...

Martin Pion said...

This is pretty impressive video! I couldn't possibly have caught up with that car in order to talk to the motorist as you did in this video, my top speed on level ground typically being ~15 mph.
Also, I'm not sure the school zone speed limit is relevant if it's not during school hours but the signboard on the speed limit sign would confirm that.
Finally, if you're able to read the motorist's license plateI from the video I would suggest filing a report with the local police since you have everything on tape. Without that information I probably wouldn't bother though.
Please see the following post for aggressive motorist behavior caught on video in November 2004:
http://cycling.mohiking.com/SUVhorn_movbig.html

djconnel said...

When's the trial? I want to go. Is she out on bail?

John S. Allen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John S. Allen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John S. Allen said...

Soory to post for the third time, but now I've finally got rid of those typos which my fumbling fingerskeep making...

Under the law, the motorist should have stopped (though hardly anyone comes to a complete stop at a stop sign unless there is conflicting traffic). You got to the intersection first, and so she should have continued to stay stopped, yielding right of way, in order to avoid putting you at risk -- if she knew that you were about to turn left. Unless she had been turning left herself, she would not have put you at risk if you have been going straight through or turning right. She would not have a way to know that you were turning left unless you made a hand signal. I can't see whether you did in the video.

But also, you rode out into the intersection and turned left when you could see a car approaching and not stopping. I'd rate the risk as obvious, so, why did you take it?

If a collision had resulted, it would have been very useful to have the video, because without it, there would be no way to show that the motorist, rather than you, should have yielded right of way. Even with the video, whether you signaled would be a he said-she said situation unless she admitted that you did or there was an eyewitness. Assignment of fault could then easily fall partly to you, or entirely to you, given common bias against cyclists.

As to what the motorist said when you caught up with her, many people will make of crazy excuses, though this is about the craziest I've heard.

murphstahoe said...

1) I was signalling
2) note my positioning on the road. Left of center of the lane. Cyclists are to ride as far right as practicable unless blah blah blah for example making a left.
3) writing this without the video at hand but pretty sure i entered before they made the stop line and would reasonably assume they'd stop. I did end up making a defensive manuever so I was aware they were there
4) eyewitnesses? The car coming from the right negotiated right of way with me, with no oncoming car in sight. They would be able to establish my precedence. If they heard the collision and stopped ;)

MacMadame said...

"So much for the theory that if cyclists "just behaved" that then they would get respect."

Actually, if it's true that some bicyclist buzzed her once and so she didn't stop to teach you some sort to lesson, then it does kind of support the idea that bad behavior on the part of cyclist contributes drivers treating us badly on the road. However I believe cyclist should "behave" for the same reason that car drivers should "behave" - the traffic system falls apart if people don't follow the rules. It's the right thing to do.

I don't understand why drivers think that doing something to one cyclist is doing something all cyclist or is somehow "getting back" that one cyclist who ran that one stop sign two years ago on some other road in some other town but obviously some do. The question is: what are we going to do about it? Because clearly this sort of behavior hurts us all.

pchazzz said...

So, you are one of those guys who gets off on harassing women. Bet you wouldn't have done that if the driver were a man.