How I got the city to fix a dangerous intersection

Twice in one month I was almost hit head on. No, I wasn’t going the wrong way down the street. Yes, I had on my front headlights (helmet and handlebars).

Both incidents happened at the same intersection at approximately the same time of day.

The first time I was lucky my brakes were in good condition otherwise I would have ended up on the hood. The guy happened to have his window down and after yelling something at him he calmly replied “I didn’t see you” (tip: this is a magic phrase if you ever hit someone, just say it and poof! no charges will be filed). I angrily pedaled on and thought to myself how could he not see me? I’ve got my front light blinking and my helmet light was pointing right at him.

The second time I was prepared for the possibility that this might happen so I pre-emptively moved closer to the side as I saw a car pull up to the intersection. Good thing I did. So I did some investigation and determined there were two major factors contributing to these close calls. Obstructions and a yield sign. I was heading west in the right hand lane when the cars pulled up to the yield sign and wanted to make a left turn. Looking to the left you can see there are some large bushes obstructing their view.

Obstructions

Yield Sign

The average person treats a stop sign like a yield sign and a yield sign like a green light. Common sense tells you that they should proceed with caution if their visibility is limited. But common sense does not prevail when it comes to driving. What’s an average citizen to do! I simply filled out a form on our metro government website and within a month I got this response.

“First let me thank you for bringing this matter to our attention as traffic safety is a very serious concern for everyone in our community. I drove by the intersection this past Friday.  There is some difficulty seeing to the left as come to the Yield on Cypress. Though you’ll occasionally find Yield signs in subdivisions, we have been replacing those with Stop signs when we find them and have sent a request to our signs and markings section to replace this Yield with a Stop.  I have also spoken to our Administrative office who is sending an inspector out to address the sight lines issue.  Upon inspector review, if violations found, a letter would be sent from Public Works to trim for better sight lines.  Hope this helps.”

About two months later I started noticing some changes.

Bushes disappearing

Yield sign gone. It is now a stop sign.

I have noticed that visibility has greatly increased. Cars that pull up to the intersection can see me and they have all stopped and waited for me to pass before turning left. Some may question the removal of a yield sign as they allow traffic to keep moving and are generally preferred by cyclists. However, this case demonstrates the dangers of allowing cars to roll through intersections.

If you have any close calls or see something dangerous happen.. report it!! The worst that happens is nothing, but you never know, the government might just surprise and do something helpful.

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