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Old 09-08-2009, 02:05 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 511
Default Burnside & SE 108th

Very scary situation; it's good you kept your wits about you. If you haven't already done it, you can enter that address on the Close Calls map and database. I'm not sure if I would have thought to yell at the driver but it sounds like that's what saved you; good reaction! Thanks for sharing it.

I looked at the Burnside & SE 108th intersection on Google Maps. It's crowded, eccentric and complicated, no doubt leading to some of the problem. Maybe the truck driver was worried about swinging wide into the left-turn lane which is squeezed in there.

Not criticizing you at all, Shetha (you should have had the right-of-way; if he couldn't safely make the turn he should have waited for you, and he should know how much his truck tracks inside on corners), but just looking at options, I see three alternate ways which I might use to navigate that route by bike:

One is to "take the lane" for the stop light, moving back into the bike lane as or after you cross the intersection. A cyclist could move to the through lane's left edge and both left- and right-turning traffic could get by. Downside: right-turning traffic gets routed even further into the bike lane with possible bad consequences for other cyclists who didn't take the lane.

Another is for the cyclist to move onto the sidewalk. That could mean awkward jockeying to get to the pedestrian crossing button, crossing in the sidewalk (appropriately) and then merging back into the bike lane. Complicated and could interfere with peds. But as a quick refuge to duck out of that danger zone and then back into the bike lane when the light turns green, maybe ignoring the ped button and crosswalk, I can see it working for a limited number of bikes per day. Just be extra careful to check over your left shoulder for right-turning traffic before you proceed on the green light.

Finally, stopping farther back (west) in the bike lane would avoid the rear end "inside tracking" of big rigs like the garbage truck. Downsides to that include not triggering the light (unless the trigger loop were located back far enough), need of prior knowledge to plan ahead (bike lane could have stop line marked), frustration in not being able to get up to the normal stop line, and being less noticed by cars lining up at the light leading to right-hook collisions when the light turns green.

I don't know how common that right-squeeze problem is, but maybe painting warnings in the bike lane at such intersections could help, or maybe painting bike lane stop lines further back.

Anyway, glad you made it through OK. And welcome!
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