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Let the wookie win

[R2-D2 and Chewbacca are playing the holographic game aboard the Millennium Falcon]
Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh
C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
Chewbacca: Grrf.
C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win.

In many situations while biking, sometimes it's better to let the wookie win. From what I've heard happen, a car can turn in front of you and not even notice that they just turned in front of a cyclist, leaving the cyclist injured in the road. So think of the car as the wookie.

And sometimes it's just better to let the wookie win. It's going to take maybe a minute, at most, if you don't run the light. Running red lights is an awfully good way to get run over.

Consider the standard right hook collision, illustrated below. They are fairly common accidents for cyclists.

Intersection Graph

It's going to take maybe 20-30 seconds for you to wait for the cars in the right-hand lane to enter the intersection and make their turn. I've actually reached the point where, if I'm going straight and see a car turning, I'll wave them around me. Because, in all cases, the car that went through the intersection before I entered it is a car that's not going to turn in front of me. There are still cases where a car can right-hook me, but I've reduced the risk.

Slight digression: It turns out that it's actually safer when mixing traffic for the car to merge into the dashed section of the bike lane as if it was a lane of traffic. The car in front of you is going to make their turn or go straight in a predictable fashion. The car behind you is well aware that there's a cyclist and is prevented from turning in front of the cyclist. And there was a thread in a forum recently where somebody was griping about this. I know that, in California, most drivers seem scared to actually pull into the bike lane as they should out of fear of getting their car dented by a mad cyclist who isn't aware of the law.

Either way, it's going to cost you twenty seconds to let the wookie win. There's a difference between riding assertively and just being plain dumb.

Posted by Eric Moritz :
I like that, "Let the wookie win".

Another good example is a stand off at a four way stop. What usually happens to me as I approach a four way stop and a car approaches as well, there is a moment of hesitation from the driver. They're unsure if I'm going to roll through the stop sign or actually stop.

The best practice I've found is to just unclip, put my foot down and wave them through despite the fact that I would have the right away if I was in a car. There's no room for assumptions when you're facing off against a car.