Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southern California
Bikes: Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Deluxe, Giant Stance, Cannondale Synapse, Diamondback 8sp IGH, 1989 Merckx
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I live in a suburban neighborhood and the great majority of drivers are courteous (mostly) and attentive (mostly). However, some of those driving around (kids to school, late to work, out-of-habit-going-to-work) are sometimes incompetent, senseless drivers, as our weekly-published stats confirm.
I dress to be seen -- like a clown; Yellow/orange/green (long-sleeved) shirt, green or yellow helmet and reflective tape. Bright lights fore and aft.
Our Ventura Sheriff’s department is the most thoughtful, tolerant and respected police agency I have ever worked with and I’ve worked with a few. They have a practical approach to enforcement and allow us bikers some leeway with the letter of the law. To wit:
• It’s okay to not completely stop at a four-way if there is no other traffic and no chance of alarming other drivers. We are, though, expected to slow to at least a walking pace; no blasting though at speed. These deputies, many of whom are bikers themselves, understand that stopping and putting a foot down can be a bit of a pain.
• It’s okay to “run” a red light or red left-turn light if:
1) You stop first and the traffic computer doesn’t ‘see’ you.
2) And, it is safe to do so without alarming normal traffic.
Our more common traffic dangers are:
* The most common around here is drivers that do not stop at “stop” lines. I have witnessed two accidents where such drivers rapidly drove into the edge of the intersection blocking the sidewalk and children riding on the sidewalk, which is legal here, have then run into the car(s). There was one injury and the driver fled the scene; I got the license number and driver description and she went to jail. A senior deputy told me that this is the most common serious bicycle injury in the county.
* Opening doors without looking --- just like everywhere else.
* “Right Hooks” --- just like everywhere else.
* Close passes sometimes actually brushing the biker. This happened to me three years ago; two broken ribs, broken clavicle and a smashed helmet. I’ve ridden more than 600,000 miles on motorcycles, fell down six times and this is the first time I’ve ever had a helmet touch the ground.
I’ve been yelled at (“Get on the sidewalk!” “Get off the road!”) and so-on. And, I was attacked once by a road rager; he went to the hospital and then to jail (he had other issues). His car was towed because it had four slashed tires and he was in hospital. ;o)
Last edited by Joe Minton; 01-04-17 at 10:44 AM.