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View Poll Results: Are you a vehicular cyclist?

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  • I don't know.... what's a vehicular cyclist? (see signature in opening post)

    0 0%
  • No, I regularly use sidewalks, ride the wrong way, etc.

    4 2.72%
  • No, but I practice VC some of the time.

    13 8.84%
  • No, but I practice VC much of the time.

    51 34.69%
  • Yes.

    73 49.66%
  • Other (specify in post)

    6 4.08%
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  1. #1
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Are you a vehicular cyclist?

    That is, do you ride in accordance with the vehicular rules of the road, obeying traffic rules, generally keeping to the right of faster traffic, using the full lane when it is too narrow to be safely shared, or when it is necessary for other reasons, like merging left for a left turn, using bike lanes only when it is safe and appropriate to do so for the current conditions and situation, using negotiation to cross multiple lanes of traffic, one lane at a time, always doing a shoulder check before moving laterally on the roadway, signalling your intentions to other vehicle drivers, positioning yourself to be visible and predictable, using speed positioning between intersections and destination positioning at intersections, and generally riding as just another vehicle (albeit a slow and narrow one) driver in traffic, rather than as an outsider?

    Speed positioning, which vehicle drivers use between intersections, means positioning yourself on the road according to speed - slower traffic keeps to the side.

    Destination positioning, which vehicle drivers use at intersections, means positioning yourself according to destination. For drivers of slow vehicles, this generally means using the rightmost lane that serves their direction (e.g., right most left turn lane if going left). This also means positioning within the lane according to destination if travel from that lane is allowed in multiple directions. For a through-or-right lane, for example, it means keeping to the right if turning right, or keeping to the left if going straight.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 09-13-05 at 10:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member pedex's Avatar
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    other:
    messenger, so sometimes I do, sometimes I dont, im not afraid to act like a car, but sometimes thats counter productive

  3. #3
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Hopefully you're acting more like a car driver, or even better, a slow motorcycle driver, than like a car!

    Cars don't act!

    Also, getting killed, or laid up in the hospital, is pretty counterproductive too.

    Overall, I find that acting vehicularly doesn't hold me up much at all, and is often faster than doing the "sly cyclist" thing.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pedex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Overall, I find that acting vehicularly doesn't hold me up much at all, and is often faster than doing the "sly cyclist" thing.
    I used to think so too, until I started riding for a living. Breaking the law here and there on a busy day can shave 2hrs of street time off my day.I dont think sly really applies, its more experience and sheer brute strength really. Knowing what traffic lights will do wherever I am just by glancing at one of them, and where I can easily beat the system in some places where others its dangerous. Brute strength and stamina means being able to out sprint cars when needed late in the day after doing 40-60 miles with a 48/16 or better hauling stacks of paper here and there stop after stop. Speed is an essential tool downtown, average car here does about 18mph or less if there's much traffic, and there's lots of 5 lane one ways, so if you go faster they they do, you can decide at will how to ride and where.

    Then there's sidewalks and the bike equivalent of jaywalking or an illegal turn.Picture a big office tower block, 3 buildings side by side, you need to goto the middle one.My method, ride down the street till close to the front of that building, make an illegal mid block turn and bunnyhop the curb and lock up at the bike rack right in front.VC method, ride to end of block, dismount, wait for crosswalk signal, and walk to bike rack. The 3 minutes or so that takes equals 1/4-1/2 a delivery run, it adds up very quickly.

    Outside of downtown in the suburbs is a different issue, in those places you dont have the speed advantage or lanes to use most of the time, in that situation, yes I ride VC most of the time, alleycat races notwithstanding(thats anarchy on wheels).

  5. #5
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    I answered, "No but I practice VC most of the time" because I AM still practicing. But I believe in VC and aspire to be one. Also, I don't ride in many of the situations you described because I'm not ready for them. But I guess that's being VC, too.

  6. #6
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    pedex - I see how the minute savings here and there could quickly add up to being significant for a messenger who does repeated short urban trips all day. I guess that's the reason a bike is faster for messengers than even a motorcycle - the ability to take "illegal" short cuts.

    Be careful!

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I voted VC. There are a few exceptions. I will ride short distances on the sidewalk to a location on the same side of a busy street. I sometimes enjoy riding diagonally across the city's grid, through parking lots and alleys and so forth, riding like a 14 year old with no particular place to go. Sometimes I ride on MUPs and dirt trails, like taking the scenic route in a car.

    But most of the time I'm in the city traffic, working my way across town with the cagers in a vehiculr fashion. I honestly do enjoy that!

  8. #8
    just me.
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    generally, i ride vc. i've had exceptions, like blowing stop signs in the middle of the night on side streets (which could actually be considered vc, i guess), passing reds on the solid side of a three way red, some filtering and the use of crosswalks/sidewalks a block from home...
    but then again, i decided to ride completely vc the other night, and had my bike destroyed by a car from behind while brightly lit making a left the other night, narrowly escaping with my life by utilizing the amazing power of my astounding leap. you better believe i'll be taking crosswalks when nearing my destination from now on.
    by the way, should i ask for a new bike of my choice, within reason, weighing the factor of funeral costs the guy avoided?
    hills build character.

  9. #9
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    I am the walrus. Oink.
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  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    I am the walrus. Oink.
    So I guess you voted other?

    The walrus was Paul. Kookookachoo.

  11. #11
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    I was riding tonight and had my light and rear blinkie, and was cool and waited for a car to go ahead and decided to do the cool, relaxed, two turns around the intersection instead of the left-turn-lane thing, and I was kinda glad I was riding in a relaxed way because the car turned out to be a cop car! Of course speeding up and taking the left-turn lane and using that would have been ok too, I'm just a bit more relaxed and cautious at night often. I wonder if that cop was hanging back there runnning my license plate (LOL!!)

  12. #12
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hester
    behind while brightly lit making a left the other night, narrowly escaping with my life by utilizing the amazing power of my astounding leap. you better believe i'll be taking crosswalks when nearing my destination from now on.
    by the way, should i ask for a new bike of my choice, within reason, weighing the factor of funeral costs the guy avoided?
    Are you dealing directly with the driver that hit you, or through his insurance company?
    I hope you reported this accident to the police.
    Of course he should pay the replacement cost of your bike (which in practical terms means NEW BIKE), plus any other costs associated with the accident and replacement of any damaged accessories.

  13. #13
    just me.
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    i made a police report on site. it wasn't my fault. he was a young driver, about twenty, and being the kind hearted creature i am, i agreed that it was best to go outside of the insurance (although i have the information). the bike wasn't terribly expensive, but it was my sole means of transportation (public bus and trains aside).

    also, i have been looking to upgrade; searching for a decent road bike, but in three months i've found nothing used that fits. what can i say? i'm a shortie! it's a bit of a moral dilema. i feel i'm entitled, but don't have the heart to drop the bomb. oh, does that sound bad?
    hills build character.

  14. #14
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    Oh go ahead and get a decent bike, don't go overboard but you can get a decent road bike for a grand. And buying new, it's easy to get a nice small frame.

    One thing I've noticed about VC is it seems to presume a fair amount of ability to ride/accelerate fast. As pedex said, speed is your friend in traffic. If you're a slower rider, you'll just snarl up a left turn with a bunch of cars behind you, whereas pedex would get around the turn faster than they could dream of, and thus stay out of trouble.

    There are some places where the "sidewalk sneakie" makes the most sense, they are few but they do exist.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    I use VC pracitces most of the time. Unfortunately there is a part of my commute which forces me to use the sidewalk/unoffical bike path. Without using this I get spit out onto a very busy five lane highway. It's hard to be VC on the sidewalk, no?

  16. #16
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    The only problem I have with the term "Vehicular Cycling" is that it needs to be mentioned at all. It reminds me of place in Colorado named "Table Mesa," which in essence means, "Table Table."

    A bicycle is a vehicle, therefore it should be driven according to the general principles of vehicular traffic. If a bicycle is not a vehicle, it's a toy. The problem is that in America, it's too often marketed as a toy, hence the need to coin the redundant phrase, "Vehicular Cycling."
    No worries

  17. #17
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    For clarification only, don't want a debate:

    1 - For the purposes of this poll does using bicycle lanes when appropriate count against being vehicular?

    2 - Likewise for MUPs?

    Appropriate meaning that they are available, relatively safe and aren't unreasonably inconvient to the trip at hand.

  18. #18
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    No, using bike lanes and MUPs appropriately does not count against being vehicular.

    But, I like Forester's definition of "appropriately" better... paraphrased, it goes like this: pretend the bike lane stripe is not there. Where would you ride? If you would be on the pavement demarcated by the bike lane stripe anyway, then it's "appropriate" to be in the bike lane.

    For me, that means not mindlessly riding in the bike lane just because it's there. It means continually evaluating the current situation and factors, and deciding and adjusting lateral position accordingly - which usually means moving in and out of the bike lane considerably more than the average non-VC cyclist. For example, it means moving out of the bike lane when approaching an intersection where you're not turning right (unless the bike lane is painted to the left of a right turn only lane).

    I hope this helps!

  19. #19
    Gravel for Breakfast
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    Ha. I voted "other," but I'm not going to specify in my post.

    NOW who's wrecking the curve?
    Sin after sin I have endured, but the wounds I bear are the wounds of love.

  20. #20
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    What is VC? Start learning about Vehicular Cycling.
    Why oppose bike lanes? Find out about the bike lane debate.
    Are you a member of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB)?
    Make LAB more about protecting cyclist rights and promoting VC through education: LAB Reform.
    Yes!
    I'm also a member of LAB and an LCI.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle -- Albert Einstein

  21. #21
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    I went ahead and voted VC since that's what I consider myself but I figure a couple of notes are in order.

    I haven't seen a true bike lane anywhere I ride so haven't had to deal with them.

    It is a crap shoot as to availability of sidewalks and the few problems I have experienced involved them. I avoid them unless there is a compeling reason to be there and then I slow down and take it real carefully. Can't remember the last time it happened.

    I do have access to a few MUPs that are nice to ride on. Clear, good condition, don't have to deal with as much exhaust and they actually go some place usefull. I use them if they can reasonably get me where I'm going.

    I do have to deal with some high speed collector roads that feature wide (>12')shoulders of the same material (generally concrete) and condition as the traffic lanes. I make use of the shoulders but am extra vigilant for intersections and other hazards. Alternative would be riding in 60 mph traffic and pissing off motorists unnecessarily.
    Last edited by jabowker; 09-15-05 at 04:07 PM.

  22. #22
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I chose: No, but I practice VC much of the time

    I ride on the local roads, and follow vehicle code in most circumstances. But, I do wonder if in some definitions did I answer improperly because whenever available, and it is suitable material and condition, I ride the shoulder.

    There are not any bike lanes here, and I do ride MUPs for recreation occasionally and even (on rare occasions) to conveniently get from point A to B.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  23. #23
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedex
    I used to think so too, until I started riding for a living. Breaking the law here and there on a busy day can shave 2hrs of street time off my day.I dont think sly really applies, its more experience and sheer brute strength really. Knowing what traffic lights will do wherever I am just by glancing at one of them, and where I can easily beat the system in some places where others its dangerous. Brute strength and stamina means being able to out sprint cars when needed late in the day after doing 40-60 miles with a 48/16 or better hauling stacks of paper here and there stop after stop. Speed is an essential tool downtown, average car here does about 18mph or less if there's much traffic, and there's lots of 5 lane one ways, so if you go faster they they do, you can decide at will how to ride and where.

    Then there's sidewalks and the bike equivalent of jaywalking or an illegal turn.Picture a big office tower block, 3 buildings side by side, you need to goto the middle one.My method, ride down the street till close to the front of that building, make an illegal mid block turn and bunnyhop the curb and lock up at the bike rack right in front.VC method, ride to end of block, dismount, wait for crosswalk signal, and walk to bike rack. The 3 minutes or so that takes equals 1/4-1/2 a delivery run, it adds up very quickly.

    Outside of downtown in the suburbs is a different issue, in those places you dont have the speed advantage or lanes to use most of the time, in that situation, yes I ride VC most of the time, alleycat races notwithstanding(thats anarchy on wheels).
    Even though it's been sometime since I messengered, this still describes my riding style. More aggressive as in the tight urban core and way more VC as I move through the rest of the city. 95% of the time I focus on being polite and predictable, plus with a baby on the way I'd rather get there 5 minutes late. As I've said before I ride almost exclusively VC with a few minor and safe exceptions, but more importantly I know when the exceptions are safe because of my experience. Like understanding that there are times when it's acceptable to sidewalk cycle as long as I act like a slow, super alert predictable ped.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  24. #24
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    The only problem I have with the term "Vehicular Cycling" is that it needs to be mentioned at all. It reminds me of place in Colorado named "Table Mesa," which in essence means, "Table Table."

    A bicycle is a vehicle, therefore it should be driven according to the general principles of vehicular traffic. If a bicycle is not a vehicle, it's a toy. The problem is that in America, it's too often marketed as a toy, hence the need to coin the redundant phrase, "Vehicular Cycling."


    I never even heard of this phrase before I joined these forums. It's twisted that the phrase even exists.

    When the term becomes irrelevant, that's an achievement. I simply have no patience for any actions that promote an agenda that does not confront the fundamental truth that bikes are NOT cars. They're not toys, that is one thing to drum into people's heads. But they also are not the same as cars, and deserve their own space. Period.

    That said, I do ride VC much of the time when on the road with cars, but that is only because it's the safest thing to do. But I sure as hell get sick of hearing about "VC". Start confronting the more fundamental and seriously twisted aspects of the car-worshipping culture if you want to achieve real change.

  25. #25
    Yankees Suck
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    Hey, surprised I was the first to vote No. I regularly ride on MUPs and sidewalks and, gasp, the wrong way on sidewalks. I commute on my MTB, I don't ride fast as my total trip is 2 miles, so I take it easy on the sidewalk and cruise. Ahhh, I'm ruining it for all cyclists, cars will never respect us now!

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