Crazy Motorists

Jun 16, 2009
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Wherever I ride it seems like cyclists are getting hit & killed more often.
Rural areas, Urban areas all the cyclists have similar theories about driver anger towards cyclist. However i think there is a different explanation.

In Southern California we have had quite alot of road rage incidents between drivers, even shootings. While i don't doubt people are taking it out on cyclists. I imagine it is more"wrong place wrong time". Where i live & ride is fairly quiet. Years ago people would stop at the stop signs even though they were the only car on the road. Now, more often then not, the cars don't even slow down let alone stop. When i drive, people are constantly cutting me off, running stop signs its crazy. Today I was making a left hand turn at a four way stop, there was a car coming toward me, about 40 yards from the intersection, still doing about 45 mph, so i slowed my turn and changed the radius so i would stay in front of him as long as possible. Forcing him to either hit me or stop, which he finally 30 feet into the intersection.
then he lays on the horn.
this is an almost daily occurence for me while driving. If i had been on my bike i know he would probably had hit me because he knows he will be gone before any other cars show up.

Some people have no respect for the rights of others, for society or for the rule of law. Unfortunately cyclists are at the mercy of these people as we are on a 20 pound bike not a 2 ton rolling metal shield with airbags.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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runninboy said:
Some people have no respect for the rights of others, for society or for the rule of law. Unfortunately cyclists are at the mercy of these people as we are on a 20 pound bike not a 2 ton rolling metal shield with airbags.

+1 hit it on the head.

in Melbourne i get that feeling that drivers believe that they are the only ones who are entitled to be on the road.

society is becoming far more self-centred and isolated then every before, thanks largely to the industrial & technological advances.
we work harder and longer, send emails instead of calling and don't even think to talk face to face. we listen to ipods or are on our mobiles all the time so we dont have to talk to strangers.

worst of all - our kids no longer go outside on christmas days to play with their new toys with other kids, instead they're inside on an Xbox or Wii...

ofcourse, as I type this I am sitting in an empty office, 900km from home...
 
Jul 29, 2009
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mherm79 said:
society is becoming far more self-centred and isolated then every before, thanks largely to the industrial & technological advances.
we work harder and longer, send emails instead of calling and don't even think to talk face to face. we listen to ipods or are on our mobiles all the time so we dont have to talk to strangers.
.

Is that the end of human beings?
 
Jul 6, 2009
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i agree people are more and more are becoming self centered sociopaths in society partly because of depersonalization through technological advances in wireless communication etc... personally i hate all of it and feels its changing and weakening man kind quite quickly both physically and mentally.:mad:
 
Jul 19, 2009
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For the life of me, I can't figure out why some motorists get so upset about cyclists. It's riding a bike for pete's sake! It's not selling crystal meth. Of all the things to get made at someone for healthy, clean, transportation/exercise shouldn't be one of them.
 
in socal distracted driving is rampent. i have been hit while riding and running, and lived to tell about it. also seen alot of road rage, more from higher income
drivers(based on location/vehicle). people are jacked up on super caffeine type drinks and very impatient. i always try to be on my guard.:cool:
 
runninboy said:
Some people have no respect for the rights of others, for society or for the rule of law. Unfortunately cyclists are at the mercy of these people as we are on a 20 pound bike not a 2 ton rolling metal shield with airbags.
I agree with the green, not the red.

The bicycling ideal might be to be able to focus on yourself and cycling and pretty much ignore everything around you, like on a quiet one lane country road or on an empty bike path in the mountains, but the reality in traffic is quite different. We have to pay attention to what others are doing, and, in particular, watch out for those inevitable ones who make mistakes or even intentionally violate our rights.

This does not mean to assume that you are invisible, because actually doing that would make it practically impossible to ride in traffic. It does mean to not assume you are noticed by someone who needs to notice you in order to not hit you until proven otherwise (and looking right at you is not evidence that you've been noticed!).

There is a lot more to riding safely in traffic than most bicyclists seem to realize. I believe bicycling in traffic is considerably more challenging than riding a motorcycle in traffic, because as bicyclists we have the additional complicating factor of being relatively slow to manage. I emphasize manage because that is exactly what we have to do, while most bicyclists seem to not appreciate what that means, much less do it. They just ride some reasonable distance from the edge of the road, and seem to expect everyone else to do everything else, which I think is way too simplistic.

Until you decide to take full responsibility for your own safety, your safety is indeed at the mercy of these complete strangers. That doesn't work for me.
 
Ninety5rpm said:
They just ride some reasonable distance from the edge of the road, and seem to expect everyone else to do everything else, which I think is way too simplistic.

Until you decide to take full responsibility for your own safety, your safety is indeed at the mercy of these complete strangers. That doesn't work for me.

I'm not quite sure what you are saying here. As for riding a reasonable distance from the edge and hoping for the best, what else can you do? Sure a lot of people don't realise that it is safer to ride a metre away from the curb so as to make yourself more of a presence in the road but the problem with this is that motorist think you should hug the pavement. Same occurs when two of you are riding side by side often you only take a metre or so between you but they see you not riding single file and react liked you just slapped their mum.

I do agree that cyclist have a majority share ensuring they are safe on the roads, but there is only so much you can do the rest is at the mercy of the motorist.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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uphillstruggle said:
I'm not quite sure what you are saying here. As for riding a reasonable distance from the edge and hoping for the best, what else can you do? Sure a lot of people don't realise that it is safer to ride a metre away from the curb so as to make yourself more of a presence in the road but the problem with this is that motorist think you should hug the pavement. Same occurs when two of you are riding side by side often you only take a metre or so between you but they see you not riding single file and react liked you just slapped their mum.
I do agree that cyclist have a majority share ensuring they are safe on the roads, but there is only so much you can do the rest is at the mercy of the motorist.

Motorist over reaction aside, my friends and I always revert back to single file when a car is present. I think side by side ridng without going single file for cars is really a bad idea and adds to motorists animosity towards us as a group.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Found recently that most close calls are due to driver misjudgement and in-car distractions. You start looking for driver "tells" for behavior and rely on instinct. The most agro drivers seem to be on the commute fringe in areas that are transitioning from rural to suburban. That suburanite just spent 2 hrs in traffic to drive to the house he bought last month on the road you've ridden on for 30 years. They just don't want anyone in their way.
 
Advancing beyond intermediate traffic cycling methods

uphillstruggle said:
I'm not quite sure what you are saying here. As for riding a reasonable distance from the edge and hoping for the best, what else can you do? Sure a lot of people don't realise that it is safer to ride a metre away from the curb so as to make yourself more of a presence in the road but the problem with this is that motorist think you should hug the pavement. Same occurs when two of you are riding side by side often you only take a metre or so between you but they see you not riding single file and react liked you just slapped their mum.

I do agree that cyclist have a majority share ensuring they are safe on the roads, but there is only so much you can do the rest is at the mercy of the motorist.

Like I said, there is a lot more to riding safely in traffic than most bicyclists seem to realize. What else can one do? Where to begin? One can write, and some have written, entire books on this topic. On that note, I highly recommend Cyclecraft by John Franklin (originally published in the UK for left hand driving, but now a new North American version is available on Amazon.com), and Effective Cycling by John Forester. Or at least download and read the free PDF Bicycling Streetsmarts by John S. Allen. A good place to start (but far from being nearly as comprehensive as these other sources) is Michael Bluejay's How to not get hit by cars at bicyclesafe.com. For some great videos demonstrating what I'm about to describe, please spend some time at the CyclistLorax channel on youtube.

But since you brought it up, I'll start with the idea of riding a meter (or 3 feet) from the curb. Sure that's better than curb-hugging, but it is one of the common errors that intermediates (vast majority of cyclists that are not beginners) make. What Franklin, Forester and Allen teach, and works much better, is to ride a meter (or 3 feet) to the side of overtaking traffic. If that puts you closer than one meter to the curb, that means the lane is too narrow to be safely shared, and you should be clearly controlling the lane by riding near the center of it (but of course not in the grease slick when applicable), often preferably somewhat left (right in UK/Australia) of center, nearer the inside (away from outside curb) tire track. Shedding the invisible magnet that pulls you subconsciously towards the curb (or to one meter from it) is an important aspect of traffic cycling safety. Your line-of-travel should be determined relative to the center of the road (and lines parallel to it, like vehicular traffic lane stripes, and lines of vehicular traffic), not relative to the outside edge of the road, or lines relative to it, like shoulder stripes and many bike lane stripes.

Equally important is to be aware of the presence or absence of faster same-direction traffic, and to not even be concerned about being off to the side when same-direction faster traffic is not present, and whenever approaching any intersection or junction. There are many specific advantages for riding out in the center of the lane, but in general it all comes down to increasing your conspicuousness to others in cross-traffic ahead and to those approaching from behind you, your vantage to potential conflicts up ahead, and safety margins to curbside hazards.

Another example is door zones. Beginners obliviously ride in door zones and are thoroughly surprised when they get whacked. Intermediates know to watch out for people in cars when riding in door zones, and learn and watch for the telltale signs, and then get thoroughly surprised when they get whacked. Franklin, Forester and Allen teach that to avoid getting doored, you avoid riding in the door zone in the first place, period, no exceptions, even going uphill at less than 10 kph. The biggest danger of dooring is not hitting the door, but the door causing you to fall in front of and under overtaking traffic. Google for "Dana Laird" for an example of that happening. That can happen at any speed. It is folly to believe that one can ride safely in door zones.

More later...
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
There are many specific advantages for riding out in the center of the lane, but in general it all comes down to increasing your conspicuousness to others in cross-traffic ahead and to those approaching from behind you, your vantage to potential conflicts up ahead, and safety margins to curbside hazards.

Another example is door zones. Beginners obliviously ride in door zones and are thoroughly surprised when they get whacked. Intermediates know to watch out for people in cars when riding in door zones, and learn and watch for the telltale signs, and then get thoroughly surprised when they get whacked. Franklin, Forester and Allen teach that to avoid getting doored, you avoid riding in the door zone in the first place, period, no exceptions, even going uphill at less than 10 kph. The biggest danger of dooring is not hitting the door, but the door causing you to fall in front of and under overtaking traffic. Google for "Dana Laird" for an example of that happening. That can happen at any speed. It is folly to believe that one can ride safely in door zones.

More later...

While i appreciate some of what you have written, I still stand by what i said earlier of cyclists being at the mercy of drivers.
Drivers are at the mercy of other drivers, if there is a nut job driving on the road he can kill you, at least in a car you sacrifice mobility but have some protection built into your car.

I admire your efforts to educate people, and i myself am quite an "assertive" cyclist in many ways. But trying to teach these techniques to people through a forum post or a book i feel does more harm than good. It is a fine balancing act that needs to be taught in real time by an experienced cyclist on the road.

For instance there are so many factors involved. I can ride safely in a door zone at 6 miles an hour going uphill, because i am attentive am anticipating someone opening the car door and can stop before impacting the door or person.

Its kind of like drivers education when you were taught to always look for an out. When i am riding i know what i will do because i have gone through the scenario many times. Where are the cars on my left? What are the other obstacles, what can i use to my advantage, would it be safer to lay the bike down, swerve, brake, impact etc etc. After you analyze these things over & over it eventually becomes second nature and you just instinctively do the right thing.
Once I was in vegas, heavy traffic when i was passed closely by a driver who subsequently made a right into a parking lot cutting me off. However i was ready the minute i heard him approaching i moved to avoid his mirror and before he even was by me I anticipated him turning so i turned with him and was ready to hang onto the car if neccessary. much better also to slide across a hood then to go under the wheels.

I had a teammate who was a bit of a jack ***, who during rides used to dare me to slide across hoods of cars that went acrosss the limit lines at stop signs. It was a money maker for him. But the technique learned can be a life saver in the correct situation.

Cycling is a balancing act, there are pluses & minuses to every situation. You seem to advocate simple answers to what can be very complex problems.
it is good to be seen, but at the same time conspicuousness itself can be a hazard.
 
Advancing beyond intermediate traffic cycling, part 2

runninboy said:
While i appreciate some of what you have written, I still stand by what i said earlier of cyclists being at the mercy of drivers.
Drivers are at the mercy of other drivers, if there is a nut job driving on the road he can kill you, at least in a car you sacrifice mobility but have some protection built into your car.

I admire your efforts to educate people, and i myself am quite an "assertive" cyclist in many ways. But trying to teach these techniques to people through a forum post or a book i feel does more harm than good. It is a fine balancing act that needs to be taught in real time by an experienced cyclist on the road.

For instance there are so many factors involved. I can ride safely in a door zone at 6 miles an hour going uphill, because i am attentive am anticipating someone opening the car door and can stop before impacting the door or person.

Its kind of like drivers education when you were taught to always look for an out. When i am riding i know what i will do because i have gone through the scenario many times. Where are the cars on my left? What are the other obstacles, what can i use to my advantage, would it be safer to lay the bike down, swerve, brake, impact etc etc. After you analyze these things over & over it eventually becomes second nature and you just instinctively do the right thing.
Once I was in vegas, heavy traffic when i was passed closely by a driver who subsequently made a right into a parking lot cutting me off. However i was ready the minute i heard him approaching i moved to avoid his mirror and before he even was by me I anticipated him turning so i turned with him and was ready to hang onto the car if neccessary. much better also to slide across a hood then to go under the wheels.

I had a teammate who was a bit of a jack ***, who during rides used to dare me to slide across hoods of cars that went acrosss the limit lines at stop signs. It was a money maker for him. But the technique learned can be a life saver in the correct situation.

Cycling is a balancing act, there are pluses & minuses to every situation. You seem to advocate simple answers to what can be very complex problems.
it is good to be seen, but at the same time conspicuousness itself can be a hazard.

You're right. I did not mean to convey that there are a few simple things you can do and voila, you're perfectly safe. Far from. Classes are a good place to start too (offered by the League of American Bicyclists in the U.S.). While there is no substitute for experience, nothing accelerates the learning process like reading, or class learning, and thinking about a topic, and then applying newly learned methods, techniques in your riding until they become habits. Again, I highly recommend spending 30-60 minutes at the CyclistLorax channel on youtube, but that's just to whet the appetite.

But I cannot agree that we, or anyone else, are necessarily at the mercy of motorists. That flies in the face of the basic tenet of defensive driving (and my experience) which is that, for all intents and purposes, a vigilant and defensive driver (including bicyclists and also pedestrians) can avoid just about any kind of crash. One key is to learn to avoid close calls as well as crashes. It's all about thinking ahead and leaving plenty of space and time to anticipate and avoid conflicts.

For example (and there are countless others), one of the obvious types of crashes is caused by the red-light runner, which is arguably entirely the fault of the red-light runner. However, if you adopt the habit of always looking for red-light runners, even when approaching and entering an intersection on green, you will never be vulnerable to such a crash. It takes some time to learn all the different types of crashes, how to avoid them, and adopt the habits that do avoid them so that you ride accordingly without thinking about it, but it can be done. That doesn't guarantee absolute safety (nothing does), but what's left are the types of crashes that are extremely rare, and odds which must be written off as being practically zero by any rational and prudent person.

And I also disagree with you when you say you are safe riding in door zones at 6 mph. 6 mph is almost 9 feet per second. There are any number of situations in which you simply cannot see what you need to see soon enough even at that speed. A kid in the back seat, a short person obscured by a headrest, a van, etc. And when that door suddenly opens, if it doesn't hit your bars and knock you out into traffic, your instinct is to swerve to avoid it, potentially into the path of overtaking traffic. Even at 6 mph uphill, you can't stop instantly. If the timing of the dooring is right, the only possible result is to be pushed or to swerve into overtaking traffic. More importantly, there is simply no reason to compromise your safety like that. Getting hit from behind while in motion is extremely rare (rear-enders at stop lights is another matter), and should be at the bottom of your list of concerns (but even for that there is the rear view mirror, which I can get into more later, if there is interest).

The problem with relying solely on personal experience in traffic is that some kinds of conflicts/crashes are rare and so there can be false reinforcement. Riding in door zones falls into that category. One can probably get away with prudent riding in door zones for years and thousands of miles, but sooner or later he is still likely to get doored, or worse (pushed or swerving into overtaking traffic). All those years and miles of riding "safely" in door zones can give one a false sense of security. That's why it's very important to not only rely on potentially misleading personal experience, but learn what the experts who have reviewed the studies on bike crashes, and devised the methods, techniques and practices to avoid those crashes. The way even very experienced cyclists typically ride is rarely in accordance with those methods, techniques, and practices, and, so, yeah, they are at the mercy of motorists.
 
psychlist said:
Motorist over reaction aside, my friends and I always revert back to single file when a car is present. I think side by side ridng without going single file for cars is really a bad idea and adds to motorists animosity towards us as a group.

I totally agree. I always move to single file when there is a car behind and the other lane is unsafe to over take.
 
The Right Hook

runninboy said:
Once I was in vegas, heavy traffic when i was passed closely by a driver who subsequently made a right into a parking lot cutting me off. However i was ready the minute i heard him approaching i moved to avoid his mirror and before he even was by me I anticipated him turning so i turned with him and was ready to hang onto the car if neccessary. much better also to slide across a hood then to go under the wheels.
I (inadvertently) allowed that to happen to me once too. I was in a bike lane and a motorist suddenly pulled out of stopped traffic to turn right onto a side street, crossing the bike lane right in front of 20mph me. Somehow I avoided hitting the van by instantly turning right on pure adrenaline. But that was before I read any book on traffic cycling or took any classes. I guarantee you that I will never let that happen to me again. Passing someone on the right, who can or might turn right, is a red alert moment that I avoid.

This type of very common and well-known type of conflict is called a right hook. Did you know that? There are techniques designed to avoid being right hooked, and the instant turn you used is considered a method of last resort, and, arguably, the necessity to use it is evidence of failing to use the more basic methods.

Bluejay does a decent job explaining right hooks, and how to avoid them (without having to resort to a last second instant turn) at bicyclesafe.com. The other references I cited earlier do a better job.

My preference is to look back and move left into a clear lane controlling position well before reaching the intersection, negotiating with other traffic as necessary. It's my habit to do so at the approach to every single intersection and driveway, assuming I'm not already out in the center of the lane (which is often the case). This has the added benefit of putting me stopped to the left of space used by right turning traffic in the case of a signaled intersection where I'm stopped for a red light. I'm still theoretically vulnerable to being right hooked by someone turning right from the lane adjacent to me on my left, but I always look out for that too. If that ever happens to me I might still have to use the method of last resort... the instant turn.
 
@ Ninetyfiverpm

I think I put my point across in the wrong way - basically badly. When I said what else can you do, I was referring to ones positioning in the lane when riding not what else can you do in general. I don't really understand how to ride a meter (or 3 feet) to the side of overtaking traffic would work since the distance of the over taking traffic is dependent on the overtaker not the rider due to the nature of over taking.

Of course you are quite right about all the other examples you posted and the issue of educating cyclist how to ride is a vital one that I am very interested in. However, the nature of the relationship between cyclist and motorist is one wherein the cyclist is much more vulnerable than motorist, in the same way that a car/motorbike driver is more vulnerable than a bus or lorry driver. My point is not that there is nothing a cyclist can do to make themselves safer but rather that the onus (in education but also in law) should be put on the motorist to be more aware of the rights of a cyclist and the correct way to share the road with cyclists.

Those of us who regularly ride in traffic and are interested in cycling know the correct practice when using the roads but although these 'rules' can be taught in the traditional educational sense they can only really be learnt by going out and putting them into practice, there will always be a margin of error when this is done so I think there should be efforts made to create a more cycle friendly system which will accommodate these learner riders. Basically it should be safe enough for children who are new to cycling to be out on the roads. I know this may seem idealistic but there are countries in Europe where this happens and the kids do not know all these techniques about dealing with traffic they just feel safe because the drivers are aware of cyclist and how to deal with them.

By the way thanks for posting those links, I have not looked at them yet but will do soon.
 
Advancing beyond intermediate traffic cycling, part 3

uphillstruggle said:
I don't really understand how to ride a meter (or 3 feet) to the side of overtaking traffic would work since the distance of the over taking traffic is dependent on the overtaker not the rider due to the nature of over taking.
First, we're assuming a situation in which motorists can overtake safely within the lane, including leaving at least a safe one meter passing distance between them and the cyclist... so the lane has to be relatively wide. If you ride near the edge of the road (even a meter from the edge) in a lane that is not that wide, then you're inviting overtaking motorists to try to squeeze into that too-narrow lane with you never-the-less. The proper position in that case is to be much further away from the curb than just one meter.

Second, vehicular traffic tends to travel in a relatively straight lane in more or less the same position. The key here is that, in a wide shared lane, the cyclist's line of travel should parallel the line of travel of adjacent overtaking traffic, which is generally not parallel to the edge of the road (the edge of the road often meanders for various reasons relative to the center of the road, and the line of vehicular travel which parallels the center of the road). If vehicular traffic is using one frame of reference to determine their line of travel (center of the road or a line parallel to it), while the cyclist is using another frame of reference that is not parallel to the one they are using (edge of the road), conflict occurrence is practically guaranteed.

So, the problem with edge-of-road orientation is that doing so can easily cause the cyclist to inadvertently travel into the path of overtaking traffic. Consider a road that narrows, with the outside lane going from wide to narrow, perhaps because the road physically narrows for some reason, or maybe because of parked cars or some other obstruction. This happens all the time; I'm sure you can identify such situations on your regular routes. At any rate, the motorists are maintaining course relative to the center of the road (and their lane stripe), while the cyclist up ahead is following a course one meter from the edge, which is moving in. Now such a cyclist is usually apt to simply keep following his course, and so is the motorist, yet the two courses are about to collide! It usually doesn't occur to the intermediate edge-following cyclist that this is his fault... after all, he's just following his line of travel one meter from the edge... But doing so means he is the one moving into the path of overtaking traffic without yielding. The proper behavior here is for the cyclist to notice that his current position, say 3' to the right of overtaking traffic, or 13' to the right of the traffic lane stripe, or whatever, is disappearing due to the narrowing roadway, and he needs to merge left, which implies yielding and negotiating as necessary. If he's just following the edge of the road he's less likely to notice it, or will notice it much later, than if he was orienting himself relative to the overtaking traffic rather than the edge.

The critical distinction is not just semantic; a merge is a change in course (and is subject to yielding to those already following that course), while continuing to follow one's line of travel is not a change in course that is subject to yielding to, and negotiating with, others. So if you perceive it is the latter rather than the former, you don't realize it's your responsibility to yield and negotiate prior to moving closer to the center of the road, even though your position relative to the edge remains fixed. Most intermediate cyclists are familiar with this type of conflict, but their understanding is vague. They just know they hate it when the road narrows, but they're unsure of exactly why or how best to handle it. For example, local cycling email lists worldwide are riddled with complaints about constructions zones and how they "suddenly put you right in traffic" (as if they weren't "in traffic" prior to that point).

Anyway, that's why it's important to think of your position relative to the center of the road (and lines parallel to it, like traffic lane stripes, and the line generally followed by vehicular traffic itself), rather than relative to the edge of the road. From those choices, if you select faster overtaking vehicular traffic itself as your "base", the general rule of thumb is to ride about one meter to the right (left in UK) of that. What I like about this rule is that it implies you can (and I believe you should) ride much further left (right in UK) during gaps in that faster overtaking traffic.

Does that help you understand what I mean?

uphillstruggle said:
...
However, the nature of the relationship between cyclist and motorist is one wherein the cyclist is much more vulnerable than motorist, in the same way that a car/motorbike driver is more vulnerable than a bus or lorry driver. My point is not that there is nothing a cyclist can do to make themselves safer but rather that the onus (in education but also in law) should be put on the motorist to be more aware of the rights of a cyclist and the correct way to share the road with cyclists.
Of course the cyclist is more vulnerable, but there is no more onus on the car driver to watch out for the cyclist than there is for the bus driver to watch out for the SmartCar driver. All drivers should watch out for each other, and do what they reasonably can to avoid collisions, period. Relative vulnerability should not be a factor.

In terms of actually reducing car-bike collisions, I sincerely believe there is MUCH more room for improvement in bicyclist behavior than in motorist behavior, so that's where I believe the focus needs to be. If anything, it's because they are more vulnerable that there is more onus on them. This is also why motorcyclists are often required to have training above and beyond car driving training.

Car drivers are human. They are going to be distracted and make mistakes from time to time, no matter how much training they get. So the key for bicyclists is the same as for motorcyclists: to learn how to be safe not only when others do everything right, but also when they do things wrong.

uphillstruggle said:
Those of us who regularly ride in traffic and are interested in cycling know the correct practice when using the roads but although these 'rules' can be taught in the traditional educational sense they can only really be learnt by going out and putting them into practice, there will always be a margin of error when this is done so I think there should be efforts made to create a more cycle friendly system which will accommodate these learner riders.
Based on watching cyclists, even apparently experienced cyclists, ride everywhere I've ever been, I strongly disagree with the assertion that those of us who regularly ride in traffic and are interested in cycling know the correct practice when using the roads. My personal guess is less than 5% know the appropriate defensive practices and ride in accordance to them. Most seem to be limited to riding at some fixed distance from the road edge and otherwise just "trying to stay out of the way of cars". For example, I never see any bicyclist properly merging across a multi-lane road (e.g., in preparation for a left - right in UK - turn), one lane at a time, negotiating as required to enter the next adjacent lane, at each lane change. Most cyclists who look at that youtube CyclistLorax channeldo not recognize their own riding style being demonstrated there.

uphillstruggle said:
Basically it should be safe enough for children who are new to cycling to be out on the roads. I know this may seem idealistic but there are countries in Europe where this happens and the kids do not know all these techniques about dealing with traffic they just feel safe because the drivers are aware of cyclist and how to deal with them.
On certain quiet neighborhood roads, yes, it should be and is safe for children new to cycling to ride on the road. But on roads in general? No way. That makes no sense. This expectation grossly underestimates the level of knowledge, skills and understanding of the rules of the road required to be safe on the roads, which is non-trivial, but probably can be learned well enough by most 8-10 year olds for them to travel by bicycle safely on all but the most challenging of roads.

uphillstruggle said:
By the way thanks for posting those links, I have not looked at them yet but will do soon.
I look forward to hearing what you think of the videos on the CyclistLorax channel on youtube. Let me know which ones you watched (I suggest starting with the intro).
 
usedtobefast said:
a wise old bike rider told me many years ago,"ride your bike like is a cement mixer" meaning: take your space in the lane and make eye contact with everyone on the road and off.:cool:
That's pretty good, as long as you also remember that making eye contact alone is not necessarily evidence of being noticed! I also look for other indications that they've noticed before I put myself in a position where being noticed is critical to my safety, like slowing down or other behavior that is inexplicable except because they have noticed me.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
I (inadvertently) allowed that to happen to me once too. I was in a bike lane and a motorist suddenly pulled out of stopped traffic to turn right onto a side street, crossing the bike lane right in front of 20mph me. Somehow I avoided hitting the van by instantly turning right on pure adrenaline. But that was before I read any book on traffic cycling or took any classes. I guarantee you that I will never let that happen to me again. Passing someone on the right, who can or might turn right, is a red alert moment that I avoid.

This type of very common and well-known type of conflict is called a right hook. Did you know that? There are techniques designed to avoid being right hooked, and the instant turn you used is considered a method of last resort, and, arguably, the necessity to use it is evidence of failing to use the more basic methods.


.


See this is where i have a problem, i did not go into great detail, but you assumed what you wanted to assume which was not what happened.
this is what happened.
I did not pass someone on the right.
I was on a busy 3 lane street in Las Vegas, no bike lane, caught in rush hour returning from a long ride. No bike lane so i was taking up the right hand lane riding just to the left hand side of the center of the lane. I was moving at roughly the speed of traffic but i could hear the guy behind me getting close.
As a precaution and from track riding i had my head slightly tilted so i could see him in my peripheral vision. I saw him accelerate and yet not get completely out of my lane. I moved slightly to clear his rear mirror which was still less than 6 inches away and may have brushed me slightly, as soon as he was passing me i saw a driveway opening for the shopping center on my right. I knew insintictively that him turning into this drive would be a likely worst case scenario and knowing stopping was not an option i made the correct decision and turned with him and used his car to hold me up.

Now you can sit there and try and analyze how this situation could have been avoided but sometimes you are caught in situations that you must deal with. How you mitigate the damage is the key.by i bet it if we rode together there is no hazard that you are better prepared for than i am.

What is funny is you say we are not at the mercy and then you acknowledge there are situations where the risk is there but miniscule. such as getting hit by a right hand rear view mirror. I know at least half a dozen cyclists who have been taken off their bikes in just such a fashion.

And guess what, i am a heavy rider with Campy record brakes, even traveling at 9 feet per second UPHILL i can stop in plenty of time. and guess what even if i was not at a complete stop to impact a door at say 2 mph while SLOWING is not going to bother me in the slightest.

30 years of accident free cycling with over 300,000 miles ridden in races & training in 6 countires including some of the busiest streets in the world tell me i know a little bit about bicycle safety.
:D
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Ok yet another problem, you advocate the "correct" way to merge left, lane by lane for a safe left hand turn.
Two other schools of thought on this
One that i know of and use often is no hand signals.
Why? If there is anyone close enough to see you signal you don't merge left.
seriously. You wait until it is clear enough that the closest car is so far back he can't possibly hit you.
Version two you better learn before you go to Denmark where left turns are ILLEGAL. It is called the wide turn. You continue straight across the intersection where you wish to turn left, only you stay in the far right hand lane. watching for cars turning right, you come to a complete stop at the curb and turn your bike to face left. when the light turns green, or at a stop when it is safe to do so you proceed across the intersection without having to try and merge through traffic to attempt a dangerous left turn.

:D
 
runninboy said:
See this is where i have a problem, i did not go into great detail, but you assumed what you wanted to assume which was not what happened.
this is what happened.
I did not pass someone on the right.
Well, whether you realize it or not, you were at least about to pass them on the right. You were clearly not braking to stay behind the rear of the car which was naturally slowing to make it's right turn into the driveway. Otherwise, if you had slowed and stayed behind it, you would have had no need to turn right with it. My rule: "never let the front of my front wheel pass the rear of their rear bumper". I am willing to execute a quick stop in order to not allow that to happen, though staying alert, again, prevents ever having to go to that extreme.

runninboy said:
I was on a busy 3 lane street in Las Vegas, no bike lane, caught in rush hour returning from a long ride. No bike lane so i was taking up the right hand lane riding just to the left hand side of the center of the lane. I was moving at roughly the speed of traffic but i could hear the guy behind me getting close.
So, there was an impatient faster driver behind you, and you did nothing to alleviate his frustration (like look back and smile and wave to acknowledge his presence).

runninboy said:
As a precaution and from track riding i had my head slightly tilted so i could see him in my peripheral vision.
That's great for track riding, but in traffic a more social approach is usually more effective, like by issuing a slow arm signal, or, as I just said, looking back and waving, nodding or smiling at them. Such seemingly silly gestures can be amazingly effective at disarming a potential road rage incident. Speaking of which...

runninboy said:
I saw him accelerate and yet not get completely out of my lane. I moved slightly to clear his rear mirror which was still less than 6 inches away and may have brushed me slightly, as soon as he was passing me i saw a driveway opening for the shopping center on my right. I knew insintictively that him turning into this drive would be a likely worst case scenario and knowing stopping was not an option i made the correct decision and turned with him and used his car to hold me up.
So he hadn't even completely passed you yet when he started turning right? You're telling us he stayed behind you until you were like 1-2 seconds from the driveway, and then suddenly he gunned it to go around you and turn right into it with you next to him? I suppose that's possible but it really makes no sense. What seems much more likely -- and this is probably going to make you angry, sorry -- is that he passed you completely and then naturally slowed for the right turn into the driveway, and by the time you realized what was happening you had already started passing him on the right, or were about to, and soon were to be right next to him between his car and the driveway.

runninboy said:
Now you can sit there and try and analyze how this situation could have been avoided but sometimes you are caught in situations that you must deal with. How you mitigate the damage is the key.by i bet it if we rode together there is no hazard that you are better prepared for than i am.
Agreed, except I'd bet there are hazards for which you are prepared better than I, and vice versa. One big difference I've noticed between me and many of those with racing experience, is the racers (and messengers for that matter) seem to rely much more on their well-honed last second instinct and reflexes, while I rely much more on practices and "early warning" instinct and reflexes that prevent the need to rely on last second instinct and reflexes. My philosophy is that a need to make an evasive maneuver in order to avoid a crash is evidence of a failure on my part. It's the equivalent of the air bag going off in a car - I wasn't paying enough attention earlier.

runninboy said:
What is funny is you say we are not at the mercy and then you acknowledge there are situations where the risk is there but miniscule. such as getting hit by a right hand rear view mirror. I know at least half a dozen cyclists who have been taken off their bikes in just such a fashion.
I know about half dozen cyclists who have been doored. That's not evidence that we're all vulnerable to being doored. That's evidence that those who ride in door zones are vulnerable to being doored.

Techniques for avoiding close passes, much less being hit by a right hand rear view mirror, also exist. Hint: they require the use of a rear-view mirror, which I'm guessing you don't use. Just a guess...

runninboy said:
And guess what, i am a heavy rider with Campy record brakes, even traveling at 9 feet per second UPHILL i can stop in plenty of time. and guess what even if i was not at a complete stop to impact a door at say 2 mph while SLOWING is not going to bother me in the slightest.
You still don't get it. It's not hitting the door that's the biggest danger (when going at slow speed). Regardless of how well-honed your instincts and reflexes are, your ability to balance a bike is very precarious, and depends entirely on being able to control the steering. When a door suddenly swings out and hits your bars just right, there is nothing you can do but fall to your left, with your head falling on the pavement potentially right in front of an overtaking bus.

When a force pushes you from the right, the only way to keep from falling to the left is to turn the bars to the left. If the source of that force (e.g., a door), prevents you from turning the bars to the left, you will fall to the left. That's true if you're going 40 mph or 2 mph. Next time you're riding with a buddy, ask him to grab your bars firmly for just a second to see if you can keep from falling over. :rolleyes:

runninboy said:
30 years of accident free cycling with over 300,000 miles ridden in races & training in 6 countires including some of the busiest streets in the world tell me i know a little bit about bicycle safety.
:D
Sorry, that is a great record, but I hope it doesn't make you think you have nothing left to learn about traffic cycling safety.

Have you had a chance to watch the videos at youtube.com/CyclistLorax yet?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
So he hadn't even completely passed you yet when he started turning right? You're telling us he stayed behind you until you were like 1-2 seconds from the driveway, and then suddenly he gunned it to go around you and turn right into it with you next to him? I suppose that's possible but it really makes no sense. What seems much more likely -- and this is probably going to make you angry, sorry -- is that he passed you completely QUOTE]


Never assume :p

He was mad and he wanted to take me out. Your assumptions are so wrong but here goes, i said i was traveling the speed of traffic. it was a downhill stretch i was going at least 27 and probably closer to 33, the car was not far back but would take at least 4 seconds to pass. but he started turning while he was still to the left of me. In the parking lot he turned & sped off he was not some shopper who left it too late to make his turn.
But this is pointless because you already know everything/

I wish you lived in So Cal i would love to take you on an uphill stretch and let you try & door me at 6mph. You are unbelievable. You don't know me, my skills involved, I have in fact done bicycle stunt work on a TV commercial.
Just because you do not have the skills involved does not mean everyone is at your level.

I will put my skills at recognizing & avoiding situations up against yours any day. My father was in insurance all his life. If you were raised by a lawyer/insurance man it affects the way you live your life everyday. Always aware of what might happen. My father drove for over 60 years & well over a million miles without an accident or a ticket. My mother almost as long with no addicents. Ditto my two siblings with over 35 years driving and well over a half million miles of driving each without an accident or ticket.
Me? 30+ years a half million miles no tickets no accidents.
I don't know everything but i sure know more about what has happened to me more than you THINK you do.:p

Anyway i would suggest you learn to approach things with an open mind, this helps keep you safe. Anything can happen at any time
 

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