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Owning the lane gone wrong due to insane driver

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by jack_1313, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. I had an incident on the way to work today that still has me flabbergasted and this very moment. The scene was Plenty Rd at 3:50pm, which is during peak hour after-school traffic, heading northwards just after passing La Trobe University. As you may know, this is a three lane road. I was riding in the far right hand lane and, given the traffic, each lane was fairly full. Traffic was moving at between 60 and 70 ks and hour (70k limit). Given that I was in the far right hand lane, I was riding in the left-hand wheel track to deter cars on my left from seeing a gap in traffic that they could potentially merge into.

    So there I was merrily riding along with a car behind me and a car in front. I look over to the left, thinking about possibly of switching lanes, and do a head check over my left shoulder to scan the situation there, and then turn back to the front having decided that there’s no point in changing lanes.

    At this point I am surprised to see that the car behind me in my lane has accelerated and is now sharing my lane right beside me in the tight space between my bike and the centre strip! I am in line with the front passenger window, their car about a foot or less away from my handlebar, both of us doing 60-70ks! And the driver is not overtaking me, because there is of course a car in front – she’s just sitting there sharing my lane. Shocked, I quickly move left into the next lane, where there is thankfully some space, then once safe I hit the horn, accelerate a bit and turn around and start giving a big dose of the “What the ****? Are you insane?” body language.

    For a few minutes I was absolutely fuming. I wanted to filter up to her at the next lights to have a quick word but I was so hyped that I was worried about whether or not I could safely rejoin traffic when the lights went green (definitely didn’t want to pull in front of her).

    What really gets me is just how stupid this really was. I mean, I can understand when people pull out in front of you or start merging from another lane into you. Of course they should have looked, or looked harder, but it’s easy to understand how it occurs. This driver, on the other hand, was right behind me for some time – she knew I was there and made a knowing decision to come forward into my space. What was she thinking? The way I see it, there are two possibilities:
    -She noticed me doing a head check to the left and thought this meant that I was going to change lanes (Ofcourse, I do head checks all the time without wanting to change lanes because I have a weird quirk where I like to actually know what is going on around me). Furthermore, she somehow thought that this meant that it was ok to drive right up beside me before I had changed lanes or even begun indicating.
    -She figured that bikes ride between lanes all the time, surely I wouldn’t mind?
    Either way, this is definitely one of the stupidest acts I have encountered on the road. Bikes change lane position all the time and there was practically no space separating me and her car (Plenty road doesn’t have unusually wide lanes).

    The other thing that gets me, perhaps even more than the stupidity, is that as I was gesturing to her (“What were you thinking?”) she did not even look at me. She just sat there with her eyes fixed straight ahead, with no apology or acknowledgement whatsoever than any sort of error had occurred or that I was even addressing her. I mean come on, if you’re going to do something extremely dangerous, at least have the decency to admit it afterwards.

    I only wish that I had a helmet camera so that I got the whole thing on record.
  2. That's a weird one. How close to the edge of your lane were you for her to come up beside you? In sydney that would just not be possible. If you moved over and started riding the line I can understand it happening I guess, still unusual.
  3. Hi Lilley, thanks for your reply. I certainly wasn't riding the line. It's hard to say exactly how close I was to the edge, but if the a tire-track is a space about half a meter wide, then I’d say that I was riding on the left side of that space (closer to the line but still some distance from it). I’ve pulled up this image from Google maps of the approximate area and tried to demonstrate how it might be possible for her to share the lane with me without me riding right on the line. I made a conservative guess about how big a bike might be.

  4. Reads to me she thought she'd take the opportunity to get one car further ahead without thought to possible consequences.

    Deliberate acts that endanger you life deserve a mirror removal.
  5. Similar thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago, riding in my lane and heavy traffic, the traffic slows and I look left to see a car pulling up beside me. I sound the horn but the girl driving doesn't even acknowledge me she keeps her eyes straight ahead. I had nowhere to go so I had to filter.
  6. cars lane splitting.... so it does happen.... grrrr
  7. Perhaps it's just me, but I never ride that far to the left.
  8. neither do i, unless it's single lanes both way, and there's a big truck etc coming the other way, or just heavier traffic etc.

    NEVER when there's more than one lane.
  9. Rare, but yes. In Canberra a car overtook me on the left while I was preparing to turn left at a T-intersection on a single-lane-each-way road. That was a new one for me.

    20/20 hindsight, the lane was 1.5 cars wide and I was in "the right wheeltrack" - I could have stayed squarely in the middle of the lane and prevented it, sure, but who the **** overtakes someone about to turn left on the left on a single lane road? This was like a motorsports-inspired dive-past-on-the-inside-under-brakes. Female BMW driver... Maybe it was Sabine Schmitz on holiday?
  10. When they say left hand wheel track, in reality it is just left of centre or right of centre not far left or far right, you must own the lane by filling it to a point.
    Anywhere in the extremes is begging for trouble.
  11. lane position 2 people :) with the occasional uncontrolled looking wander through positions 1 and 3. Note, position 2 at intersections is not recommended due to the increased chance of oil etc.
  12. I'm thinking "bingo!"

    But wow. This has got to be one of the strangest ones out there.

    She probably didn't look at you because you seem scary. Most women think that if they don't look, you'll forget about them and continue on your way... Not piss you off further.

    @the rest of you: what does his lane position matter? Sounds like he was in a good spot. It would have been another matter had he been far to the right in the gutter (like the occasional scooter o_O ) . Pretty sure this woman just got it in her brain that bikes do it between stationary cars, her doing it at 70clicks was perfectly acceptable.
  13. I had a similar thing happen in Canberra spots on a wider than normal lane. Since then I make sure I'm in the centre in that sort of situation to really own the lane. It was an eye opener for sure.
  14. No he wasn't as she was able to sidle next to him in the lane.
    Lane position is of utmost importance and such dangerous advice as you just gave is not helpful.
  15. There's a simple explanation for this behaviour in some people. It's biological - think about it.
    Best to just let it go and be prepared for the next one, because it's always going to be around.
  16. Sounds like the lane wasn't 'owned' if someone could squeeze in there.

    Either that, or I underestimate the stupidity of the cager (which is entirely likely).
  17. if it happened to me I would have kicked the crap out of her car and used my foot on the way past to take out the mirror as I lane split to get away from possible revenge - and if it ended up with a police visit I would claim attempts to "fend off the vehicle and alert the driver to his actions" due to them being completely ignorant to my presence and ignoring the horn etc and having nowhere else to go (although im not sure I would like to have to test that defence lol)

    Probably not the "correct" way to go about it but it would be my honest reaction after having previously been "merged" by a clueless cage driver into a gravelly breakdown lane at 80kph

    It turns out im a bit of a "road rager" i guess (but to hell with them in my view - If they try to kill me due to their reckless actions they deserve some back)

    He got 2 dents and a missing passenger mirror which I thought was poetic as he never used it anyway - and Im betting after paying for the damage he will use his mirrors and blind checks in future

    Just my honest probable reaction of course, and each to his own (keeping in mind you have to be comfortable facing the possible consequences of your actions as well, like them perhaps trying a quick ram after you kicking their car which could turn out quite badly - or a court charging you with road rage and them with only perhaps failing to exercise due care)
  18. Of course its of utmost importance you goose.

    But if you're in a good spot and some twat decides to sneak up next to you, theres not much you can do.

    The "left hand wheel track" is normally a metre away from the lane line. If thats where he was, it was a good spot. EDIT: Because the driver would have had to move over to the right to get up beside him.

    If he was on the lane line. Then he was in a bad spot. EDIT: Because the driver would have been able to just move up without moving over.
  19. Maybe she thought you were going to split between cars due to a head check and being positioned to the far left of the lane.

    I usually ride on the wheel track...less crap on the road and it takes up half a car space which most cars won't fit.
  20. When I was getting licenced the testers told our group specifically to ride the car wheeltracks after recent rain to avoid the oily slippery middle (until the oil washes away anyway)