I often ride my bike to work. Earlier in the week I had a couple of close calls. Other than a temporary elevated heart rate, all ended well.
I try to leave home before 7am. Vancouver does NOT have a freeway system. All highways stop at the city limits and from there it is a mess of surface streets to zig and zag my way to work. I don't have many options but I have 3 routes to choose from and can make minor adjustments along the way due to traffic flow. This particular day I chose a route that I don't normally use so I am not familiar with the traffic patterns.
I was heading Eastbound on a single lane urban street with parked cars sort of like this
Early in the morning on a work day traffic is brisk as everyone is rushing . I was last in a group of 3 cars. We were not travelling very fast, definitely under 50 km/h which is the city speed limit, and there is nowhere to pass anyway. I had been following these cars for nearly 2 miles and I notice a car on the right coming from a side street waiting for us to pass and I noticed the left blinker light flashing
Etch-a-sketch version of our near encounter
The three cars in front of me passed and then suddenly the car on the right started to make his left turn right in front of me like he didn't know I was there. Luckily I was spaced back a bit and there was more room between me and the car in front.
In a millisecond I squashed my brakes and slowed to a walking crawl, and then the car stopped just in the nick of time to reveal a driver with an astonished, stupid look. I passed, stared at him and then realized that this was my lucky day . I think people are not expecting to see a motorcycle as I was certainly invisible to him .
I find that sometimes the faster routes are really safer as drivers are in rush and keep changing lanes to get ahead, therefore they are always scanning for traffic and they are more aware of where the dangers lurk and where the vehicles are positioned.
After work I took the faster southern route home; Marine Way, Marine Drive then Northbound on Cambie Street. I was being cautious as usual but I got tripped up at 41st avenue when I went into the dedicated left turn lane
Left turn lane at 41st & Cambie, Vancouver, BC
Remember that this is the weekend. Traffic is much heavier during a weekday afternoon rush hour. Today, being a Saturday, it was sparse. This is a very busy intersection with 4 lanes. A dedicated left turn, a right turn and two straight through lanes. The left turn is controlled by an Advanced Left turn light which allows the left turning traffic to GO first, then another light signals the through traffic to proceed. There are also pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes here.
Notice the position of the green van which is a taxi. This particular van didn't do anything wrong, I only wanted to note the position of the Van that is in one of the 2 straight through lanes (heading south)
I was on my bike in the dedicated left turn lane (northbound) waiting for the advance left turn signal light to turn green. I was second behind another car. The light turned green and we started to turn. Then the lead car in front of me stopped abruptley. I usually twist my throttle mid turn to gain speed for the upcoming straight section but instead I had to brake hard to stop in time from not hitting the car ahead. I had no idea what had happened nor why we had to stop. Then the car ahead made a maneuver to clear the intersection and before me was a taxi which had gone straight through his RED light and nearly clipped us. I was in the middle of the intersection watching him back up but then the lights turned green for the thru traffic and in seconds, traffic was moving all around me and I was trapped in the middle of the intersection with no escape route