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False Turn Signals?

Old 06-07-21, 08:40 PM
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Steeler_fanatic
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False Turn Signals?

Wondering if anyone has experienced what I call “intersection baiting” where a driver uses a false turn signal to induce you to pull out in front of them. I learned about 45 years ago in driver’s ed to always wait for a driver to commit and make a turn before pulling into an intersection. I follow this practice religiously on my bike and it has saved me numerous times. Typically when it happens its easy to tell the driver simply changed their mind about the turn. However, I’ve had two experiences in the last couple of years (one fairly recent) where I wasn’t so sure. In both instances, the driver seemed more focused on me rather than the turn. When they realized I wasn’t going to move, they stomped on the gas and raced down the road. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would do this on purpose. Maybe I’m just paranoid from all the regular insults on the road but wanted to see if any in the community had similar experiences.
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Old 06-07-21, 09:10 PM
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not a problem here. no one ever uses turn signals.
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Old 06-08-21, 08:39 AM
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I don't understand what the situation is you've set. Where are you, where is the car? What kind of intersection, two roads, a tee or something else?

I don't have the issue here your title seems to indicate. Are you sure it's a turn signal and not that they are flashing their parking lights and from your position you can't see the other flashing on the other side of the car?

Most people here that bug me at intersections are just trying to be nice. Some get mad when their generosity is refused.
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Old 06-08-21, 08:39 AM
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Steeler_fanatic I agree with and also follow your strategy to "wait for a driver to commit and make a turn before pulling into an intersection." I also watch the front wheels as drivers may or may not signal turns.

In 28 years of daily commuting in Colorado Springs (and 25 years of youth and young adult biking before that in mostly in Chicago) I have never experienced a driver purposely luring me in front of their vehicle to inflict harm or induce a scare..."intersection baiting" as you called it. Or at least I don't think it was on purpose. But it doesn't matter, because like you, I don't trust drivers to signal or behave properly, and that goes for when I'm driving as well.

Sometimes even careful, attentive drivers make mistakes and when you're on a bike it may seem and feel "personal"...and that's okay; that's what keeps you safe. However, the adrenaline boost one gets while riding can sometimes cloud judgement; and I don't mean just decision making. I mean judging distances and the order of events. Since I began wearing a helmet-cam and recording my rides 7 years ago, I have found that many close-calls, and seemingly aggressive moves by drivers appear less aggressive and not as close upon review.

I used to follow the adage to "ride like you're invisible and cars can't see you". But then a motorcyclist friend of mine said,"No...ride like they CAN see you and they're trying to KILL you." And that is what I have been doing for the last 25 years.

In any case one of my mottoes regarding cycling is a paraphrasing of Falstaff's speech from Shakespeare's Henry IV...

..."Discretion is the better part of valor."

Last edited by BobbyG; 06-08-21 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 06-08-21, 09:02 AM
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I can't recall ever encountering someone doing this as intentional "baiting", If it does occur, I'm not sure that I understand the intent because the outcome would be negative for all parties. Folks have been known to be self-destructive, though. I have many encounters with drivers who are signalling but don't follow through. Sometimes they are unaware their signal is on, sometimes they signal too early when there are multiple possibilities.

Yep, you are doing the right thing by waiting until they commit.
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Old 06-08-21, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Steeler_fanatic View Post
Wondering if anyone has experienced what I call “intersection baiting” where a driver uses a false turn signal to induce you to pull out in front of them.
Only a "problem" for me on a local suburban highway that is wall-to-wall fast food joints, shopping malls and centers, office buildings etc. So if someone is giving a signal all I know is they are turning SOMEWHERE nearby. Could be the next driveway past me. So like you said, just wait for them to commit to turning. Generally I am just thrilled they are paying attention to driving and trying to be courteous.
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Old 06-08-21, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I don't understand what the situation is you've set. Where are you, where is the car? What kind of intersection, two roads, a tee or something else?

I don't have the issue here your title seems to indicate. Are you sure it's a turn signal and not that they are flashing their parking lights and from your position you can't see the other flashing on the other side of the car?

Most people here that bug me at intersections are just trying to be nice. Some get mad when their generosity is refused.
I agree with you that 99.9% of drivers are no problem. The situation is I am at a T-intersection at a stop sign with the driver approaching on my left. I have clear line of sight to the front of their vehicle and they are signaling a left turn onto the road where I am at. They do not have a stop sign. In the two instances, the drivers are looking more at me than the turn. One even slowed down with the turn signal on staring at me and then stomped on the gas. There are no other turn opportunities within a mile or two of the intersection - its on a less traveled country road. Like I said, I may be overreacting but it was a bit weird.

Last edited by Steeler_fanatic; 06-08-21 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 06-08-21, 04:06 PM
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Turn Signals don't Really Mean Much Here.
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Old 06-09-21, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Steeler_fanatic View Post
I agree with you that 99.9% of drivers are no problem. The situation is I am at a T-intersection at a stop sign with the driver approaching on my left. I have clear line of sight to the front of their vehicle and they are signaling a left turn onto the road where I am at. They do not have a stop sign. In the two instances, the drivers are looking more at me than the turn. One even slowed down with the turn signal on staring at me and then stomped on the gas. There are no other turn opportunities within a mile or two of the intersection - its on a less traveled country road. Like I said, I may be overreacting but it was a bit weird.

OK, that guy sounds like a maniac and there's no explaining that behavior. How long was he going slow?

I've had drivers deliberately try to ride me off the road, but there's no telling what was going through that guy's mind.
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Old 06-09-21, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Steeler_fanatic View Post
I agree with you that 99.9% of drivers are no problem. The situation is I am at a T-intersection at a stop sign with the driver approaching on my left. I have clear line of sight to the front of their vehicle and they are signaling a left turn onto the road where I am at. They do not have a stop sign. In the two instances, the drivers are looking more at me than the turn. One even slowed down with the turn signal on staring at me and then stomped on the gas. There are no other turn opportunities within a mile or two of the intersection - its on a less traveled country road. Like I said, I may be overreacting but it was a bit weird.
I've experienced the same a few times, and it was clear to me each time that it was a matter of misplaced courtesy. The attitude toward cyclists has been slowly changing for the last 10 years or so, with more drivers trying to be considerate when they approach a cyclist, without quite knowing how. Its as if they've gone from ignoring cyclists to treating them as if they were kindergarteners toddling across the street, unaccompanied by a crossing guard.

Unfortunately, that results in some drivers behaving unpredictably, which can lead to difficult situations. Another variation often described by Bike Forums posters is the driver approaching on a cross-street with the right of way who stops to let you ride across while another driver passes the first driver on the left, potentially nailing you. Me, I sit up, wave, pull out my water bottle, and take a slow, deliberate swig, telegraphing thanks but no thanks. Sometimes I even crane my neck to look over my shoulder: "Where are the rest of the guys I was riding with?"
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Old 06-09-21, 05:54 AM
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On occasion I'll signal early, then realize that my signal could be interpreted as ambiguous, turning into either a major driveway, or into the next road coming up. Sometimes I'll turn off the blinkers until I pass the driveway then turn them back on.

I can also imagine people slowing down and signaling, then either changing their mind on where they're going, or realizing they have the wrong road. Thus, turning off the blinkers, and accelerating back to their normal driving speed. Perhaps one is new to the area and just slowing down to read the street signs.
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Old 06-09-21, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
On occasion I'll signal early, then realize that my signal could be interpreted as ambiguous, turning into either a major driveway, or into the next road coming up. Sometimes I'll turn off the blinkers until I pass the driveway then turn them back on.

I can also imagine people slowing down and signaling, then either changing their mind on where they're going, or realizing they have the wrong road. Thus, turning off the blinkers, and accelerating back to their normal driving speed. Perhaps one is new to the area and just slowing down to read the street signs.

In the incident he was describing, it's the not looking at the turn and the speeding up that makes me think this might have been malicious. They are rare, but there are such people.
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Old 06-09-21, 07:24 AM
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Whenever you see a turn signal, all that means is that a driver flipped a switch. Never assume that they're following through.
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Old 06-09-21, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
not a problem here. no one ever uses turn signals.
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Old 06-18-21, 10:22 AM
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The way drivers typically try to deliberately hit bicyclists at intersections is by appearing to wait only to gun it at the last possible moment. The false turn signal is probably indecisiveness about their route.
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Old 06-21-21, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Steeler_fanatic View Post
In the two instances, the drivers are looking more at me than the turn. One even slowed down with the turn signal on staring at me and then stomped on the gas.
Any chance they were looking at or for the street sign rather than at you?

ThereThere are no other turn opportunities within a mile or two of the intersection - its on a less traveled country road. Like I said, I may be overreacting but it was a bit weird.
Absent running GPS a mile between rural intersections doesn't preclude confusion as to which little road is which.

My tangential gripe (especially when cycling) is when the main road doesn't have a sign. Or yesterday the roads crossing a MUP despite plenty of rule etc signage at each road - they were familiar intersections by sight but not by name, and urgently needing to detour for fluids it suddenly mattered which was which and would have been nice to know without stopping to dig out a phone.

I don't think anyone sets out to hit cyclists. Maybe a few to intentionally scare, but hitting has risks for the offender or at least their paint, too.

Last edited by UniChris; 06-21-21 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 06-22-21, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
I can't recall ever encountering someone doing this as intentional "baiting", If it does occur, I'm not sure that I understand the intent because the outcome would be negative for all parties. Folks have been known to be self-destructive, though. I have many encounters with drivers who are signalling but don't follow through. Sometimes they are unaware their signal is on, sometimes they signal too early when there are multiple possibilities.

Yep, you are doing the right thing by waiting until they commit.
Yup, like you say, I suspect it may be an issue of someone thinking they want to turn, they indicate that, and then realize it is the wrong street. Or their turn signal lever doesn't return properly... and they leave the thing on, unaware. (I have an older car that does that sometimes)

But in either case... I don't trust turn signals... I too wait for the actual turn... I do the same thing driving... I will not make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic who is also signaling a turn... until I see that they are actually turning.
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Old 06-22-21, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Any chance they were looking at or for the street sign rather than at you?



Absent running GPS a mile between rural intersections doesn't preclude confusion as to which little road is which.

My tangential gripe (especially when cycling) is when the main road doesn't have a sign. Or yesterday the roads crossing a MUP despite plenty of rule etc signage at each road - they were familiar intersections by sight but not by name, and urgently needing to detour for fluids it suddenly mattered which was which and would have been nice to know without stopping to dig out a phone.


I don't think anyone sets out to hit cyclists. Maybe a few to intentionally scare, but hitting has risks for the offender or at least their paint, too.
Don't be blind in this... there are motorists that are hostile to cyclists... either due to their need to "amuse" themselves by playing "chicken," or they flat out don't like cyclists. There are examples of this on BF...

I will admit this is a rare situation, but one that should not be overlooked. Consider for instance the act of "rolling coal."
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Old 06-22-21, 07:54 AM
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Some drivers just put the signal on way too far in advance. Happens all the time.... I've seen people signal for a turn and then go right by a half-dozen driveways or parking lot entrances before they finally get to the one they want. Or sometimes they signal for a turn, go right through a major intersection and then promptly turn into a business immediately after the intersection. In that last example, I wouldn't be too quick to blame the motorist. It's just one of those weird exceptions to the usual rule that you're supposed to signal x-number of feet ahead of your turn.

It is necessary to use the same caution whether you're on your bike or in your car. Ever tried to pull out of a parking lot onto a busy road, and some guy is coming with his signal on? Like several posters said already, you have to wait to see for sure whether they're really turning or going on by to the next one.
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Old 06-22-21, 10:34 AM
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I had something like this happen about a week ago, but I doubt it was intentional, just a motorist that was confused on what turn to take.

He put on his signal to do a right turn, I took the lane behind him, then he stopped in mid-turn, then went back in the lane in front of me.

He then put on his left-turn blinker, started to turn, then again stopped, went back into the lane, in front of me, then drove straight to the left turning lane, that's when I finally passed him.

Personally, when I do something like this and start a turn and realize I don't want to, I just commit and make a u-turn else where, so I don't look like an idiot and I'm not causing confusion on the roads.

P.S. If he was trying to screw with me, which the thought went thru my head, since I saw him look at me in his mirror, then he must have been disappointed, since I never had to brake hard, nor seemed frustrated in the least. I like to always look in control around motorists, since I know some of them do these things.

One of the most common things I see them do, is to pull all the way over so I can't pass while they sit at a red light; however, I never intended to pass them, since I take the lane at redlights behind the first car I arrive behind. I then nonchalantly take a swig out of my bottle with a big smile on my face


.

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Old 06-23-21, 07:10 AM
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I've experienced the "punish pass", as I'm sure we all have. I've never (35+ years of cycling) had anyone try to deliberately run me off the road, or "bait" me into a situation where they could hit me, or throw anything at me. I don't doubt that these things happen - there are certainly crazy people out there. I'm just glad that that kind of stuff doesn't appear to be a problem around where I ride.
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Old 06-23-21, 07:58 AM
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1 in 50 drivers are high or drunk. Never trust car signals.
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Old 06-23-21, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
I've experienced the "punish pass", as I'm sure we all have. I've never (35+ years of cycling) had anyone try to deliberately run me off the road, or "bait" me into a situation where they could hit me, or throw anything at me. I don't doubt that these things happen - there are certainly crazy people out there. I'm just glad that that kind of stuff doesn't appear to be a problem around where I ride.
Where do you live/ride?

I've been cycling for about the same amount of time and I've got plenty of stories of people swerving at me and things thrown at me; the first time I was hit by a car was an intentional act, I believe, based on how the driver sped up, just prior to impact and then drove off very quickly.

However, this has happened in numerous states, including Hawaii, not just my current place of residence. However, I don't mean to say it's extremely common, especially nowadays, the vast majority of motorists that pass me are good people, but I don't know of any cyclist that doesn't have at least one story of a negative encounter with a motorist.


.
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