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  1. #1
    Squeaky Wheel
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    The "I did something stupid and lived to tell about it" thread

    About once a year I seem to do something really stupid when commuting. So far, I have not injured myself or others while perpetrating said stupidness.

    Here is this years installment: Last night riding home on the MUP I was approaching a busy intersection. The MUP runs parallel to one of the roads and crosses the other road at a traffic signal. As I am approaching the intersection from about 50 yards away I see that the signal in my direction is green and the bikes at the intersection are all crossing the street. Here is the stupid part: I assume that one of the bike riders has pushed the button to activate the "walk" signal that extends the light for 30 seconds. Did I look at the actual walk signal? Nope. I just assumed someone had pushed the button and so I sailed into the intersection just in time to see the signal turn green for the cross traffic at the very same moment my tire front tire leaves the MUP. Damn. Now I am 1/3 of the way into the intersection and cars to my left and right are starting to accelerate - I am in a very bad place, very exposed. I am really stupid. I dodged one car, got honked at by another and caused a third to stop suddenly but somehow made it to the other side without getting hit - but very shaken at how close I came.

    It seems like about once a year I lose concentration and do something stupid and this becomes a wake-up call that refocuses me to pay attention. How about the rest of you? Any stories to share?

  2. #2
    I Ride for Donuts
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    How many lanes is that street? I'm picturing my roads, where you'd be across the whole thing before any of the cars would have a chance to accelerate

    My stupid moments are usually along the lines of forgetting to look before drifting out into the lane to make a left turn across a completely deserted piece of 2-lane country road. There will be a car there once out of every 326 commutes, and sometimes I find myself getting lazy about looking for it.
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  3. #3
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    Doh!

    My most stupidest was about two years ago (have been others since, but not as story worthy), riding up from town. I was tired and lazy one particular afternoon while riding up a busy 4-lane with 50 MPH limit. Near the top, where most of the road merges into a freeway, I have to move over two lanes to get into the LT lane, which can be a bear sometimes. That lazy afternoon, I looked in my mirror and saw a car comming up in the second lane when it was about time to start getting over, so I moved out into the first lane, was going to move into the second after that car passed. But I hadn`t checked over my shoulder, just the miror, and I miscalculated lane of the car comming up behind me, pulled right in front of it. I heard a brake bark first, then the driver somehow managed to swerve around me. Scared the living crap out of me.
    Recalculating....

  4. #4
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    The "I did something stupid and lived to tell about it" thread

    I once checked out a pretty woman while turning and hit a mailbox. Knocked myself out. Woke up to people around me and medics stabilizing me to a stretcher. Told me I had a hematoma, broken collar bone, and a 6 inch gouge on my forearm. Embarrassing.

    Also, I sometimes forget to keep pedaling on my fixed gear :/


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    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  5. #5
    Squeaky Wheel
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    How many lanes is that street? I'm picturing my roads, where you'd be across the whole thing before any of the cars would have a chance to accelerate
    Two lanes in each direction and a left turn lane in the middle. Lot's of impatient drivers just itching to get on the gas when the light turns.

    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Doh!

    My most stupidest was about two years ago (have been others since, but not as story worthy), riding up from town.
    That was also the situation for stupidest thing from three years ago! So easy to get lazy about checking you six before moving over.

    Quote Originally Posted by kikoraa View Post
    I once checked out a pretty woman while turning and hit a mailbox.
    Also, I sometimes forget to keep pedaling on my fixed gear :/
    Ouch. The first one is understandable, the second one is not.

  6. #6
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    These sorts of stories are humbling and get us out of our anti-cager finger pointing and notice that most of our fingers point back at us when we do that. We also learn from others what mistakes we have yet to make. I suspect my memory issues allow me to forget the ones that are totally my fault. So I am a better rider forgetting how that came to be. A side effect of being well marked is that i am readily identifiable so I really try to set a good example and be a trustworthy co-user of the roads as my rep and life is on the line. My goof-ups have a large component of assuming that the motorist involved is obeying or at least giving lip-service to the rules and being predictable. On a bike assumptions can make an a$$ out of you and can be fatal.

    One recent one after a lot of badly spaced cross traffic, impatiently, I pulled out of the vertical of a one way stop T intersection with a distant but fast car to my left and one very close to my right. The one to the right I was planning to slide behind as he went by. He braked hard for a left with no turn signal. Change of plan. So I was aimed at the driver's door but swung fast for his bumper and slid behind to the shoulder where I was headed, and out of the way. There was no normal slowing for his turn or signal. never trust a VW driver!

    The other was at the 3 way stop T to my subdivision, and a car I did not recognize coming up the vertical to my left. I was at the intersection first and definitely "imminent on entering" and to the driver's right, but the driver not only did not stop but started a left turn from before the stop sign, cutting the whole corner. If I had cut mine likewise, i could have swung behind him, but I was already mid intersection. My yell made him stop diagonal across the intersection like he was apexing the turn. I stopped looking in his passenger window that was too tinted to see the driver. I had gotten complacent as no one in 5 years has rolled that corner like that. Ride enough, and the unlikely or unpredictable can be predicted to happen sometime.

  7. #7
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    I assumed car A in front of me that stopped short just decided to take a left at the last minute, but he had an over-politeness attack and was letting an oncoming car B pass in front of him for a left turn even though he (car A) had the right-of-way. I had decided to go around to the right of the stopped car A and could have got creamed by the turning car B. This is actually a pretty common hazard around here. Almost killed by courtesy!

  8. #8
    MTB, Road, Commuting
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    My last stupid move was in a car (but I was coming back from a MTB ride with the dog). I had just turned a corner onto our street and needed to immediately turn into our driveway. My attention was on the car riding my ass, worried that he was going to rear end me. My attention was not on the car coming down the road that I turned in front of. Luckily, he saw me and braked - hard. Would have been all my fault. I hate the feeling that you just did something stupid.

  9. #9
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    2 years ago while on a night ride, I was approaching a major intersection trying to make it before the light turns red. There was this 10 wheeler dump truck several meters behind me honking his horn which I took as pressuring me to go faster because he was trying to chase the green light also. On the last moment when I felt the truck was bearing down on me really close, I turned right at the intersection to make way for him to cross the intersection. To my horror he was not going to cross the intersection but was going to turn right at the intersection. Needless to say, he was still bearing down on me and I pulled to a stop on the leftmost side walk to let him pass. As he passed, I screamed obscenities at him which made him stop. We exchanged nasty pleasantries and asked him to get down from his rig so he can get acquainted with my retractable baton. He passed on it and went his way. After all that excitement, I also proceeded on my way to cross the intersection but my mind was blank from the stress of the big scare and proceeded to cross the intersection without noticing that it was already a red light. Fortunately, it seems that my guardian angel was working overtime that night and I was just nearly hit by 2 buses coming from the other direction.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    I assumed car A in front of me that stopped short just decided to take a left at the last minute, but he had an over-politeness attack and was letting an oncoming car B pass in front of him for a left turn even though he (car A) had the right-of-way. I had decided to go around to the right of the stopped car A and could have got creamed by the turning car B. This is actually a pretty common hazard around here. Almost killed by courtesy!
    I hate that traffic maneuver!!! I was pulling in to work one day in Pittsburgh several years ago, and a coworker stopped to let me turn left in front of him, even though there was nobody behind him. I refused his politeness and asked him wtf he was thinking when he did that. His explanation: it was taught to him in driver's ed. Strange, because that specific maneuver was specifically mentioned as a no-no when I took driver's ed. My only thought is that he misinterpreted the lesson somehow. Stopping short to let someone through in heavy traffic - that is nice and courteous. Stopping short to let someone through on nearly empty roads - that is idiotic because someone is likely to pass, or try to (I have seen the overly-courteous driver passed on the left, nearly hitting the car waiting to turn).

    As for me...hmmm. I have a bad memory. I remember feeling the shame from knowing I just did something supremely stupid, but I quickly forget the exact circumstances most of the time. While riding, the last stupid thing I did was getting visibly upset at a driver in a somewhat rough neighborhood (not the ghetto, or a war zone type of place, but certainly somewhere that folks are a little more likely to get physical in an altercation), even though that driver clearly wronged me. I'm lucky that the driver didn't stop and take issue with me.

    While driving, I took issue with an aggressive Texan in a big pickup and showed him my displeasure with the middle finger salute. My wife was actually driving at the time, and he got out of his vehicle and started knocking on her window, getting increasingly agitated. I took a big risk and exited the car to have words with him. I still kept the car between him and myself, but I confronted him. He threatened to beat me up, and I invited him to do so, pulling the "cancer card" and showing him my scars and port hanging out of my chest. Asked him if beating up a cancer patient would make him feel like more of a man. He threatened to call the police, and I invited him to do so (he is the one who approached us aggressively). Became such a scene that the manager of the adjacent McDonald's (responsible for the parking lot where this incident was taking place) had to come out and break it up. I felt like I needed to deflect this guy away from my wife, who was his initial target. In hindsight, I should have just called the police from the beginning.

  11. #11
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    There was a 2 mile stretch of my commute that was a state highway going through town. I would wait at the light until a semi-truck hit a red light and get on their bumper and hang on for dear life, sometimes spinning my big gear at maximum rpm effortlessly, which would have been a 52x13 in those days. That was eons ago, and there were no mishaps.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    There was a 2 mile stretch of my commute that was a state highway going through town. I would wait at the light until a semi-truck hit a red light and get on their bumper and hang on for dear life, sometimes spinning my big gear at maximum rpm effortlessly, which would have been a 52x13 in those days. That was eons ago, and there were no mishaps.
    You were a fan of "Breaking Away", weren't you?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    You were a fan of "Breaking Away", weren't you?
    Big time!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I hate that traffic maneuver!!! I was pulling in to work one day in Pittsburgh several years ago, and a coworker stopped to let me turn left in front of him, even though there was nobody behind him. I refused his politeness and asked him wtf he was thinking when he did that. His explanation: it was taught to him in driver's ed. Strange, because that specific maneuver was specifically mentioned as a no-no when I took driver's ed. My only thought is that he misinterpreted the lesson somehow. Stopping short to let someone through in heavy traffic - that is nice and courteous. Stopping short to let someone through on nearly empty roads - that is idiotic because someone is likely to pass, or try to (I have seen the overly-courteous driver passed on the left, nearly hitting the car waiting to turn).

    As for me...hmmm. I have a bad memory. I remember feeling the shame from knowing I just did something supremely stupid, but I quickly forget the exact circumstances most of the time. While riding, the last stupid thing I did was getting visibly upset at a driver in a somewhat rough neighborhood (not the ghetto, or a war zone type of place, but certainly somewhere that folks are a little more likely to get physical in an altercation), even though that driver clearly wronged me. I'm lucky that the driver didn't stop and take issue with me.

    While driving, I took issue with an aggressive Texan in a big pickup and showed him my displeasure with the middle finger salute. My wife was actually driving at the time, and he got out of his vehicle and started knocking on her window, getting increasingly agitated. I took a big risk and exited the car to have words with him. I still kept the car between him and myself, but I confronted him. He threatened to beat me up, and I invited him to do so, pulling the "cancer card" and showing him my scars and port hanging out of my chest. Asked him if beating up a cancer patient would make him feel like more of a man. He threatened to call the police, and I invited him to do so (he is the one who approached us aggressively). Became such a scene that the manager of the adjacent McDonald's (responsible for the parking lot where this incident was taking place) had to come out and break it up. I felt like I needed to deflect this guy away from my wife, who was his initial target. In hindsight, I should have just called the police from the beginning.
    You're really proud about raising that cancer card are you? You get a lot of free lunches with that too? lol

  15. #15
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    The "I did something stupid and lived to tell about it" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    You're really proud about raising that cancer card are you? You get a lot of free lunches with that too? lol
    Kiss my ass.

  16. #16
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    I wish cancer on nobody. I have lost loved ones to it. I also think that using any deterrent short of violence to stop an idiot from assaulting you or your loved ones is fair game. Suggesting that such an approach is not manly or seeking unwarranted sympathy is uncalled for. We try to be a bit more considerate in this forum. I liked the story, Nate.

  17. #17
    Squeaky Wheel
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    ^^ Yup, one of the best things about this forum is camaraderie that we are all in it together. Maybe you did not mean it the way is came out Gundam168?

    I thought it was a good story too Nate.

  18. #18
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    Well me and Nate have a give and take thing going on in the GPS forums. I found the story ridiculous the first time he posted it but I didn't comment on it. If he was tough enough to flip the bird at somebody, he should've been tough enough to face the consequences. He should've just slugged it out with the Texan and let the Texan discover later he beat up a cancer patient. To the recipient, anybody who flips the bird is an a-hole Having cancer doesn't make you exempt from being one. When you flip the bird at somebody you better be ready to back it up with a fist or a gun not a cancer card.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    When you flip the bird at somebody you better be ready to back it up with a fist or a gun not a cancer card.
    You got that wrong the bird is a non violent gesture....it does not require any "self defense"

    Indeed I have flipped the bird to people and then had them assualt me...

    I called the cops and they were convicted of assualt...

    The people that think the bird is a license for aggression are patently wrong.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    You got that wrong the bird is a non violent gesture....it does not require any "self defense"

    Indeed I have flipped the bird to people and then had them assualt me...

    I called the cops and they were convicted of assualt...

    The people that think the bird is a license for aggression are patently wrong.
    Uh no. Flipping the bird is a provocation. You will almost always get a reaction when you do it. If I were the Texan and the cancer card was raised on me, I'd just spit in his face and call it quits. Personally, raising the cancer card is only warranted if you have cancer of the balls.

  21. #21
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    Word on the bird (agree with jeffscott). Anyone who finds it necessary to assault a stranger over a middle finger is an idiot. If you can't handle getting the one-fingered salute without resorting to violence, I suggest grabbing a tissue and crying it out in the restroom...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Word on the bird (agree with jeffscott). Anyone who finds it necessary to assault a stranger over a middle finger is an idiot. If you can't handle getting the one-fingered salute without resorting to violence, I suggest grabbing a tissue and crying it out in the restroom...
    Why would they cry in the restroom when they can resort to violence? Doesn't add up...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Why would they cry in the restroom when they can resort to violence? Doesn't add up...
    It was a joke... Why would a person resort to violence when they could just as easily shrug it off?

  24. #24
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    The "I did something stupid and lived to tell about it" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Well me and Nate have a give and take thing going on in the GPS forums.
    There is no give and take. You are an ass and you take every opportunity you have to poke me in the eye.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Uh no. Flipping the bird is a provocation. You will almost always get a reaction when you do it. If I were the Texan and the cancer card was raised on me, I'd just spit in his face and call it quits. Personally, raising the cancer card is only warranted if you have cancer of the balls.
    Then you would be risking incarceration. The birder gets off Scot Free assuming he does nothing more.

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